Yesterday, out in my garden, I was struck again by just how easy it is to grow weeds. If only weeds had more purpose! We’ve noticed that we have to be careful where we throw the weeds we pull since they have a tendency to simply grow wherever we throw them.
It's too bad this doesn’t happen with plants we want to grow. Try pulling a tomato plant up by the roots and tossing it in your yard. You are not likely to see lots of new tomato plants coming up all over your yard. But if I toss a wild violet plant into the yard, I’m likely to see a whole patch of them taking over an area in no time, crowding out the grass.
Sin acts much the same way in our lives. It’s far too easy to grow, and seems to come naturally to us. The good habits and virtues in life are much harder to grow and they take care and tending to cultivate. Sin is invasive, often addictive, and it crowds out the good. How easy it is to resolve to change and then fall right back into our old patterns. How long do most of our New Year’s resolutions last?
I’m reminded of one particular weed that drives me crazy in my own yard, the wild violet plant. It seems to love our yard. When we first bought this house it was all over the flower beds. I tried pulling them only to have them come right back time and time again. You see, it has this tuberous root system that is extremely hard to simply pull out. I had to dig down all around the roots and grasp the root to get it out.
By the time I was finished pulling them my hands felt like they were going to be permanently stuck in a claw position. They were stiff for days. Now I keep a close eye out for these weeds and try to get them pulled as baby plants before the roots can dig down deep.
The wild violet strongly reminds me of sin every time I pull it out. You see, left to grow the violets will flower for a short time and can be quite pretty. But their beauty is short-lived and their invasive crowding of everything around them actually kills off many of the plants that I want to grow.
Sin is a lot like this weed in that it seems like fun at the time and may well be fun, but once it takes root in our lives, it crowds out the good that God would like to cultivate in our lives. Once the roots of sin get deeply embedded, it can be extremely hard to pull them up. Often it feels like just too much work, but the results are worth it when we see good things growing in our lives.
Another sad but true reality of weeds is that I will never be done weeding. As long as I have a garden, I will have weeds. But with proper tending, I can at least stay ahead of them and grow something beautiful. Once again, the same is true with sin. This side of heaven, we will constantly be faced with sin. But through the power of the cross and an on-going relationship with our Creator, we can have our eyes opened to sin and its consequences and learn to be over-comers, living more productive, fruitful lives.
So, what weeds are you struggling with? What sins are crowding out the good and keeping you from being all God created you to be? Are you struggling with addictions, anger, sexual purity, selfishness, materialism, food, impure thoughts, jealousy, gossip? The list could go on and on since we all struggle with sin.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. - Romans 3:23-24
Whatever your temptations are, know that God can and will forgive through the power of the cross. Know that He is a loving and powerful God who will help us dig down to the root of our sin problems and give us the power to overcome and see amazing things growing in our hearts and lives.