It was a beautiful mid spring day in New Hampshire, a totally different atmosphere from the snow of just a week ago. I was itching to get to my flower beds as it looked like weeds were taking over. I got my gloves and pruning shears and started to work.
On my hands and knees, I began pulling up plants and grasses that I did not want in my garden. Some came out with very little effort, while others I struggled to remove.
One vine in particular gave me a lot of grief. It seemed the more I pulled on it, the harder it held on and the root system went several inches under the soil and ran in more than one direction.
As I continued to pull, I noticed the vine had several off-shoots that I was eliminating as I pulled on this main root.
I’m not sure if the vine is bittersweet or Japanese hops, but I do know that it grows over everything, creating a barrier so sunlight cannot get through to the plants trying to grow in its’ shadow. It intertwines with other plants, climbing up their branches, and choking the life out of them.
After several hours, I had removed most of the plants I did not want to grow. I was amazed at how that one main vine looked like individual plants, but the root system underneath was actually attached to many plants growing on the surface.
Sin in our life is like that, a thought or group of thoughts within us that leads us to say or do things contrary to God and His Word. Groups of thoughts or behavior that stem from one main sin. They may look like it is only one “problem” area, but others are attached to it. We think they are helping us grow, but they are strangling us.
I think of how God must feel when He is pulling the roots out of the sins I am carrying, thoughts about myself & feelings that I don’t want to let go of.
I am sometimes uncomfortable when God is pulling the weeds out of my heart. I think I need them, and what harm can a little weed here or there do?
They are strangling the Kingdom fruit He wants to produce in and through my life.
Some of the roots of continued sin in our lives can be very deep, similar to the vine I was describing.
Let’s look at pride as an example. The dictionary definition of pride is “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”
“The Bible defines pride as arrogance, haughtiness and conceit. Pride emphasizes self over others, and it rejects God’s greatness. It leads to destruction.
Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride leads to destruction and arrogance to downfall.”
Pride is a big “weed” with deep roots that sprawl across our lives and grow other weeds on the surface. It is hard to uproot and does not like to be disturbed or pulled out. If we are to walk in the ways of Jesus, pride has to go and take along with it, the off -shoots that hide within its root system.
What other weeds grow along or stem from pride, you may ask? How about lack of empathy or indifference, wanting control or manipulating others, stubbornness (just like those weeds I was trying to pull out) and defiance, to name a few.
When God starts His “weeding” process, it can be quite painful. sometimes when He starts with one sin, He pulls out others that grow from it. But it is worth it, He is shaping us to be like Jesus, our perfect example.
When I was done with my weeding, my plants were standing tall, unencumbered, and free from the life-choking tentacles that were killing them. Just like you and I, as God continues to weed away our sin, we can be free to grow as He leads, and bear fruit.