“Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” ~Hebrews 12:1-2
I hate weeding. I truly hate it – not because the work is so hard or demanding. I hate it because it highlights for me the lack of care or maintenance of the yard for so long that could allow the weeds to get to this point. It now demands total attention or we will be overrun. It commands time, attention, and a commitment.
And there really has never been a time of weeding when the Holy Spirit hasn’t used it to draw parallels in my life with my sin and His work. His quiet voice speaking to me. In John 16: 7-14 Jesus promises, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” The time spent in a bed becomes an inner discussion with Him about my own weeds that I have allowed to grow, turned a blind eye to, or tolerated that now threaten to take over and damage.
Weeding with the children yesterday was work for everyone. 2 of my boys and I were working around a tree, just pulling up large and small and tiny weeds from around its base, and discussing how many there are and how so many seem connected to each other either with runners or just clustered together in spots with like weeds. Our 7 year old quietly said, “These weeds seem a lot like Satan in our lives.” and then my 10 year old chimes in,”Yea like how he wants to fill our lives with sin.” And I was struck with the faithfulness of the Holy Spirit to speak to all of us.
~weeds will envelop whatever is in their path – don’t be fooled into thinking this little sin will just remain in this one area of my life. 1 Cor. 16:13-14 calls us to be watchful of our faith and 1 Timothy 4:16 warns “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching.”
~weeds that pop up all over often have a long tentacle that runs back to a base weed. My sin that entangles is rooted in some thought pattern/heart lie that needs to be rooted out. It’s so important to look further than just the sin that sparked my attention and see what really lies at the heart of my action. There is some lie that I have exchanged with the truth of God. Romans 1:25 directly speaks to this, “because they changed the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” This active exchange fuels my behavior.
~weeds cling to the ground tightly – often my sin clings to me like Hebrews 12:1-2 warns. It is work to actually pull that weed out by the root rather than ripping the leaves off of it.
~weeds can seem lovely – sometimes they grow flowers. While we were weeding, our 3 year old was arguing with me about the beautiful yellow flowers I was pulling up because she wanted to keep them in the yard. Trying to explain to her that these are dandelions and soon they will have the ability to spread their seed all across the yard with a vengeance if I did not remove them now was not easy. We compromised with a pile of yellow flowers that we floated in a cup of water for a few days! Our sin may look lovely, either to us or to others. The world encourages self fulfillment, “you time,” self preservation, self reliance. I can easily shift from a dependence on God to a dependence on my self. I quickly embrace the thoughts that encourage my love of my self rather than the humility of loving and walking as Jesus did. Philippians 2:3 often makes me squirm, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
~the little weeds are the most difficult. There is just great truth to this – the big weeds are often easy to pull out. Now there are a few that have a little thorniness to them and require determination, but most are shallow and easy to yank. But those little ones that pop up everywhere – those are the ones that make me want to quit and just leave some behind for next time. Often for me the big, obvious sin is easy for me to eliminate or avoid, but the incessant growth of impatience, pride, fear, worry, or anger becomes discouraging. Many times I have not wanted to repent one more time, so sick of seeing this sin in my life, and listening to the lie that the Father must also be sick of this sin. But He never wearies of us! He never gets tired of exposing and removing the little weeds. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” ~1 John 1:9. He is committed to making us into His image and sanctifying us.
Whenever I weed, doesn’t matter if I wear gloves or not, I wreck my hands. Dirt gets all in my fingernails that I can’t dislodge, my fingers roughen, I will often get cuts or irritations on my arms. Fighting sin is a bloody battle. There will be reminders in the days after you have weeded. You will carry testament to what Jesus will do in your life when you surrender to His work. Not just once at the cross, but daily before Him. Living in light of His Gospel that “for our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” ~2 Cor. 5:21