By Gary D. Myers
Growing weeds is easy. If you don’t believe it, I’d like to show you my yard, my flower beds and my garden. Growing weeds is especially easy in the Big Easy. It’s barely spring and I already have a bumper crop.
But I have put my four years of FFA training and the peanut farming experience of my youth to good use as I battle weeds in Gentilly. I constantly pull weeds in my front yard … carefully removing the roots as well. I also put out “weed and feed” several times a year to kill the weeds and help my grass thrive. And my hard work and excellent training experience shows – a little. But my yard still has lots of weeds, because growing weeds is easy. If I left the weeds unchecked, they would take over the entire yard.
I love the way Proverbs 24:30-34 puts it: “I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.”
Weeds are ugly, but that’s not the only reason we engage in this epic battle. Weeds are much more than ugly. Weeds will take over and choke out the good things we are trying to grow – grass, vegetables and flowers. So we pull the weeds and work hard to cultivate the good plants in order to achieve our desired results.
Growing “weeds” is easy in our spiritual life too. We want to produce fruit but often find the ground of our hearts is filled with weeds.
Salvation from sin is a free gift from God made possible through Jesus Christ. He calls us and He saves us. This relationship comes through faith. It is not something we can earn or lose. Once we have entered a relationship with Christ, though, our discipleship and growth requires discipline, diligence and obedience.
Just a little folding of the hands leads to a “weedy” life. Getting self-righteous, satisfied and complacent is dangerous. The weeds come in through sins of commission (doing what we know is wrong) and sins of omission (not doing what we know we should). Weeds also come when we allow the temporal, earthly things to consume our thoughts and distract us from our mission – “Go ye therefore …” We must pull the weeds daily by seeking God in the scriptures and by confessing the sins His Spirit reveals.
God’s Word is the best “weed and feed” available for the soul. Reading and meditating on God’s Word chokes out the bad stuff and helps the good things flourish. I find Colossians 3 and 4 especially encouraging on this issue. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul reminds us of what Christ has done for us and what we should avoid. But more than simply pointing out “thou shall nots,” the text is filled with purpose.
First Paul promotes spiritual growth for individuals and for the community of believers. It seems that our brothers and sisters play a role in helping us pull our weeds.
Colossians 3:12: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Colossians 3:15-17: “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Then Paul asks for prayer as he seeks to spread the gospel.
Colossians 4:2-3: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.”
When weeds grow unchecked in our lives, they don’t leave much room for spiritual fruit to grow. With our lives full of weeds, we’re not ready (or able) to proclaim the mystery of Christ to our friends and neighbors. But as we battle the weeds on a daily basis – as we pray, read, trust and follow – we develop a deeper, richer relationship with Christ. And that’s what it’s really about, living lives that bring glory to God and that offer a fruitful witness to those around us.