When we purchased our country property it had been neglected for 10 years. Weeds had overtaken everything; completely hiding the five 32′ x 200′ x 12′ buildings that were here. When we moved from the city we were pretty clueless about almost everything ‘country’. As a matter of fact, many people in town labeled us (quite accurately) ‘The Green Acres Family.’ Regardless, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you can’t yield a harvest in a field full of weeds. Even city slickers know that the land must be cleared and the soil amended before anything good can grow. The problem was that we weren’t equipped with the right machinery or farm implements to do what had to be done; nor did we have the money to buy what was needed. And, sometimes the easiest and fastest solution is not the best. So chemicals were not an option. Broadcasting herbicides pollutes the soil and messes with its natural process; killing beneficial plants and insects along with the weeds. Whacking them off at the surface is a temporary fix at best, since weeds are aggressive and manage to come back strong. So, the only non-toxic and long lasting solution was to dig the weeds up by the taproot. Although it took all four of us a solid week to uproot 4 acres by hand, the results were well worth the effort. How many of you have guessed that there is a spiritual application to this? 1Corinthians 3:9 tells us that every Christian is Gods’ field; each of us is meant to produce something of value for God’s purpose. But, to be of any good use to Him we must first clear out the weeds.
Weeds. The sinful things that we’ve allowed into our lives that keep us from connecting rightly to God. The improper things we do and the inappropriate company we keep that blemish our character, and may even ruin our Christian testimony. The wrong thought patterns we’ve developed that cause us to act in ways that hinder our ability to mature as Christians should. Can you identify the weeds-the sin-in your life?
Let’s not deceive ourselves. We all need our land cleared. The process won’t be quick or easy, and it is sure to cause us some pain. It takes courage to dig deep and expose the root of our issues. But, if we want to be of any good use to God we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and start digging. Unfortunately, some of us don’t have the ability to see the truth about ourselves. But that’s what it will take. We’ve got to identify whatever is useless and destructive in our lives and determine to do whatever it takes to clean up our act. Then we must keep ourselves on a regular maintenance schedule; inspecting our hearts regularly to make sure we are still ‘weed-free’. The question is..’Do we really want to?”
What happens when we choose to justify or ignore the wrong things we do? First of all, sin separates us from God, and then the guilt and self-condemnation that result from ungodly behavior keeps us at a distance from Him. Without God in our lives we are left powerless against the schemes of the enemy and our own carnal nature. Like the weeds on our property sin thrives in the presence of neglect. Sin is aggressive and will take control of our lives; when left unattended it will eventually smother our potential for producing good. Sin desensitizes our conscience so that it can grow and overpower our resistance against it. It numbs our sensitivity to what is wrong, invades our minds, and sets down its roots deeply to get firmly established.
When we continually yield to temptation we retard our spiritual growth and will not fully mature as we should. Immature Christians are not able to produce ‘fruits of the spirit’, which are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Without self-control we are left powerless against temptation and will naturally follow the desires of our sinful nature. The bible tells us that the results of our carnal nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. This is not something to take lightly because Galatians 5:19-21 warns us that anyone with a lifestyle of sin will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
Living in sin also keeps us from reaching out to other believers who can encourage and strengthen our faith when it is weakening. Believers are supposed to help one another stay on track by living up to God’s biblical standards. Those standards are the target that we Christians must try to hit. We all mess up once in a while. But, if we continually miss the mark, shouldn’t we stop to wonder why? We need to know what we are doing wrong, commit ourselves to fixing the issues that are causing our problems and focus on aiming better. Let’s determine to dig deep, asking ourselves some probing questions, so that nothing hinders our intended purpose for God.
In the Old Testament the Israelites were instructed to circumcise their hearts so that their sin would not cause them to lose their blessings. The New Testament touches on this same thought by telling us that ‘When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it” (Hebrews 6:1-8) We’d be wise to heed the warning.
Are you all familiar with the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?”
It seems that this question isn’t so silly after all.