God is continually teaching me through His creation. I greatly enjoy planting a small garden in the spring and in the fall. Last year I neglected my garden after the early summer harvest and weeds started to grow. Life had some challenges that kept me from taking care of the garden and by fall planting time the entire plot was covered in a grass type weed that was over 12 inches tall. My dear husband cleared out the weeds and I planted my garden but did not enjoy the success I had hoped for.
This spring we pulled the visible weeds and once again my garden did not produce as it had before. This fall I was determined to get rid of every weed so I got a shovel and dug deep to make sure the roots were gone. We applied new garden soil and waited for the hot summer to pass. Each day I checked to see that no weeds were growing and the soil appeared free of any growth. Because of the weather conditions my planting was delayed but it appeared that the weeds were gone once and for all.
About a week after planting, the little seedlings started to pop out of the soil. Each day when I first got up I looked out the window to see how they had grown. On one morning I noticed that something had changed and when I looked closer I could see that my garden was covered in tiny blades of the weed I thought I had purged. Not wanting it to take over again I started pulling up the tiny plants and as I did I noticed that the roots seemed to be attached to an underlying network that lay like a blanket under the entire garden. Because I had neglected the garden and let the weeds grow tall, I now had a major problem. Even though the garden is growing nicely, each day I pull the tiny weeds that would take over if I just let them go.
Weeds. Some are big and some are tiny – barely noticeable – but regardless of their size or type, they are all the same. They are weeds. God showed me that this is a picture of sin. Some things we consider to be big sins, others small sins, but in God’s eyes, they are all the same. They are sin.
Because of the fall of man we all have an underlying sin nature, and just like that network of roots in my garden it will show itself if we are not vigilant. Our attitudes of pride, unforgiveness, judgements, or resentment can stunt our spiritual growth and cause our relationship with God to weaken. Until we acknowledge our sin, confess, repent and renounce our sin, it can grow in harmful ways.
Some will say, “But I am just human,” using this as an excuse for allowing sin to remain in their lives. We must not minimize the power of the Holy Spirit. In 2 Peter 1:3(NLT) we read, “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.” God’s Word also tells us that a wonderful thing happens when we yield to the Holy Spirit. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23a (NLT) A harvest of goodness is produced within us. All we must do is yield to God’s power.
I have not discovered a remedy for the weeds in my garden, but every day I search for the tiny weeds and pull them up. As I hear the crunch of the roots breaking away from that network that still remains I am reminded to ask the Holy Spirit to examine my heart. When sin is revealed I confess it and receive forgiveness. Then I make a choice to repent – to turn in the opposite direction. Considering the consequences of sin I also must renounce it – abandon it. If or when it resurfaces I must say, “No more.”
God taught me through my garden to be on the alert and not let sin gain a foothold in my life. When I listen, He teaches me – even while I am pulling weeds.
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