Weeding is my least favorite thing about gardening. You must work constantly to stay ahead of them, and in the spring when the tender sprouts are emerging from the ground most things can look alike. It is only by carefully examination can you tell the difference between the beets and the weeds.
A couple of years ago we tilled up a patch of ground up against the southside of our house to plant blueberries and flowers. It took some work, and in time it looked good, but because it had always been sewn in grass it didn’t take long for the weeds and grass to begin to grow back. Three years later it is still the one garden spot that we fight the hardest to keep the weeds and grass out of. But we do it because without the meticulous labor of removing what we don’t want there, the flowers, and blueberries that we do have there would never reach their full potential.
The same can be said about our lives as believers in Christ. We need to constantly be on the lookout for the weeds in our lives that keep us from growing in our relationships with Christ.
The Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5 encourages us to do this when he says: Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. He is writing to the believers in Corinth and he wants them to take care of some of the sin issues in their lives before he gets there. In verse 10 he tells them: 10 This is why I am writing these things while absent, so that when I am there I may not have to deal harshly with you, in keeping with the authority the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down. He knows they have major weeds that need to be taken care of, and he is hoping that will do the hard work to tend to them before he has too do it for them.
How do we look for weeds? By being students of scripture. For us as believers Scripture is truth. It is the compass by which we live our lives, it is the reference point for what is pure and holy and true. The writer of Hebrews says it this way in Hebrews 4:12: For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Knowing and study scripture helps us to recognize those things that help us to look most like Christ and what things are the weeds in our life that keep us from becoming more Christ-like. As believers we need to make bible study a regular part of our lives.
Another way is prayer. Praying allows the Spirit of God to work in us to make us more like Him. When we pray, we should pray that our heart aligns with the heart of God. Then as the Spirit reveals areas where our hearts don’t align, we need to pray for the strength and courage to change those things.
Finally, we need to seek wise counsel. We need to allow others to speak honestly into our lives and show us the weeds we may not see. We all have blind spots and allowing others to speak into our lives allows us to be aware of them.
Now let’s get to gardening!
Joe Ball is the Pastor at First Baptist Church — Sixth and Main Streets in Russellville.