It has been very hot here for the past few days but last night it rained and broke the heat. Today I took the children outside to play in the mosquito-free yard and realized that it was a great day for plucking weeds from the moistened flower garden surrounding the foundation of my home.
As I pulled the weeds, I found myself thinking about how similar they look to the "real thing." I have noticed before how there are weeds that look like carrots and pepper plants and flowers and other things making it difficult to distinguish them from one another and get rid of the counterfeits. I found myself saying, "Are these the daisies? Or are those?"
It made me think about the story in scripture (Matthew 13:24-30) that talks about the enemy planting "tares" (weeds) among their neighbor's wheat. It says that the servants asked the master if he wanted them to pull them up and he recommended that they leave them until the harvest. - -Maybe the roots would be too close together or maybe they looked so similar that some of the good plants would undoubtedly be uprooted. He told them that the harvest would prove to be the best time to differentiate between them and separate them properly.
I easily weeded the side garden, then came to the part where it crossed in front of the house. When we moved here this area was filled with a vining mint that had overtaken the boundaries of the flower bed and had begun to spring up in the gravel driveway and between the deck boards on my front porch. This Spring my husband had dug them up and planted Day Lilies in their place, but the root system was so developed that a few sprigs had begun to poke up among the new flowers, and there was an area in a shady spot that had not been cleared for Day Lilies. I had not intended to do the whole project all at once, but as each new root was unearthed, my resolve to entirely rid myself of these pesky plants grew.
It is interesting how the mind wanders during mindless work and I continued to think about the weeds and that passage of scripture. The interpretation is given in verses 36-43 where it says that the wheat are true Christians and the tares are those who look like Christians but who do not have a real relationship with Jesus Christ, but I have to admit, I did not remember this interpretation.
Instead I thought of the many "weeds" that spring up in the lives of Christians. I learned as a teenager that the enemy of our soul wants to destroy us. Since we know in our hearts what is pleasing to God (even if we do not have a developed spiritual walk) we would turn away from something that is grossly displeasing to God, so Satan has distorted God's perfect model and given us a counterfeit. It is so close to the real thing that we are easily confused if we are not tuned in to the voice of the Holy Spirit warning us and showing us the truth.
There are so many ways that we live the counterfeit.
I started thinking about the sins that God has been convicting me of this year: being mindful of every word that comes out of my mouth; taking every thought captive and making it obedient to Christ: being careful of what I "prophesy" into my life or the lives of my children...
I began to pull the vines from the gravel driveway and learned that they would not give up their soil easily. I had to dig down and hook my fingers around them and pull. My hands were black, my fingernails caked with dirt.
I cleared the driveway and moved on to the deck and the area beside it. The roots were so inter-woven that it became a tug-of-war to get them out. The more I pulled on those embedded roots, the more I interposed my sins onto the weeds - feeling that they were the actual sins that I must uproot from my heart. I worked with fervor! Several times a root would break suddenly, sending a pray of dirt into my mouth and eyes - but I was determined. I was enjoying the satisfaction of physically pulling those unwanted vines out of the ground. I wished that ridding my heart of sin could so easily be done!
When it came time to feed the children lunch I was unsettled. I was unable to remove the roots under the deck boards and they peeked their green leaves out to mock me. "You have not conquered us," they say. "You can pluck our leaves but our roots are still here and we will return. We have won." I am restless, trying to think of a way to get to those roots. Short of having someone pick up the deck and move it out of the way in order to make those roots accessible (as my oldest son Josiah suggests), I will have to accept that I am unable to remove all of them.
I feel that way about my life. Getting rid of sin is not as simple as making a New Year's resolution - I know that I will never be completely free from sin in this life. Rooting out sin is not simple, but it is possible! It requires the help if the All powerful God doing the heavy lifting and plunging His hands into the soil of my heart to release the roots. Of course it helps if I keep that soil moist and pliable so that He is able to do His work. Just as weeds cannot be pulled from hardened soil - they just break off at the surface and grow back again - sins cannot be pulled from a hardened heart.
Father, help me to keep my heart tender toward You and allow You to do the sometimes painful work of removing sin from my life so that my life will be like a beautiful garden, bearing good fruit.Everyday Life Matters of the Heart My Haven my Home