Tuesday, August 15th, 2023
I have learned a valuable lesson in the garden this year. And even better, God showed me an important spiritual lesson in the process. This year, I was determined more than ever to stay on top of the weeds that like to invade our produce gardens. We don’t use chemicals in our gardens, so that means lots of hand weeding. Every few days and especially after a good rain I would make my rounds and pull out the roots of whatever weeds I found. Some of our most common invaders are nutsedge and crabgrass. Where I could I was even using an action hoe that does a great job getting at the roots right below the surface.
I would try to gather up the weeds and take them to the chickens but on particularly fruitful weeding trips I would leave some behind with their roots and all laying on top of the dirt. Well, on one return visit I started to notice that some of the weeds I left behind appeared more life-like than they should have. They were not brown and dried up. Instead, they had a mildly mangled and stunted but springing back to life kind of look.
Because the ground has maintained a decent level of moisture this season they were able to draw enough nutrients to have another go at taking over. Instantly God brought Matthew 12:43-45 to my spirit:
43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
Sometimes when God shows us something we need to repent for or be delivered of it’s enough to do just that and move on. But other times we may need to take that extra step of either removing the physical temptation to sin or removing ourselves from the environment where the temptations are hard to withstand. In some situations, if we stay in that environment there is a chance that the thing we tried to crucify may take root and grow again. That’s exactly what happened with my crabgrass. I had gone deep enough to get at the root, but the piece I neglected was removing it from my garden so that it had no chance of rearing its ugly head again. An alcoholic that wants to be free from addiction cannot go to a bar just to hang out. Those wanting to refrain from sexual sins cannot expect to maintain the same relationships and somehow suddenly keep them pure. Those wanting to stop being foolish with their money shouldn’t go to their favorite shopping mall and expect to just browse. Those trying to change the foul words coming out of their mouth shouldn’t keep watching the same TV shows or listening to the same podcasts and expect positive results. I love how Psalms 1:1 says it:
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
Each progression in this scripture shows a deepening level of opening ourselves up to temptation. If we are walking, satan has to first get us to stop and sit before he can gain authority. If we are standing, he has to first make us sit. Once we are sitting though, we are a “sitting duck” for whatever lies or tempting treats he wants to dangle in front of us. I think it’s no coincidence that this is the very first verse in one of the most poetically eye-opening and encouraging books of the Bible. And yes, we may offend or let some people down when we choose to distance ourselves from some of our past environments. We must decide that following God and whatever He asks us to do far outweighs whatever condemnation man or the enemy may try to pile on us. And we must also resist the temptation to feel like we are missing out. There is a reason Psalms 84:10 says:
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Whatever we think we will miss out on is insignificant compared to the joy and blessing of honoring our heavenly Father. He has things in store for us that we cannot comprehend, things that far outweigh any attempts we make at filling our deepest needs on our own.
The last scripture God showed me was Psalms 139:23-24:
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me, and know my anxieties;
24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
We are all unique individuals with unique personalities living in unique situations. We don’t all experience the same situations and even if we did, we wouldn’t all handle them the same. There are plenty of years when it is hot and dry enough that I can just pull up the weeds by their roots, lay them on the ground and never have to deal with them again. The most important piece in getting rid of the spiritual weeds in our lives, is that we are in constant communication with our heavenly Father. We must ask Him to show us the weeds that need to go and allow Him to show us exactly how to eliminate them so that they don’t come back seven times stronger than they were. All the crabgrasses of our lives will eventually bow to our Creator, we just have to let Him show us the most effective way to get there.