I was out picking weeds. But then in the quiet, I got to thinking. And as ideas came, I snapped photos of the weeds in my yard (who does that?!), and came in and sat down to write. The weeding will have to be finished later. Instead I’ll share my thoughts with you …These were the first weeds that got me to thinking. You might not notice them at first because they’re low-lying and kind of blend in. And they are popping up everywhere in our yard this time of year! These are like sin that just sort of spreads quietly through our lives, with broad effect. Complaining, cynicism, or irritation (low-grade anger) could be examples of this. Other people are feeling the effects of it, but we might glance over it as not worth paying attention to.Do you spot two weeds in this photo? They’re so close to the bush that they nearly blend in. But they are still weeds and detract from what I am trying to grow in my yard! This is like when we have mixed motivations for a good thing we’re doing; part of our motivation is good, part of it is sinful. The wrong motivation is so close to the “good thing” that we may miss seeing it. For example, I remember making a meal and bringing it to a family I knew at church. I really did care, and wanted to love them. But the weeds of self-interest were mixed in, as part of me desired to be seen for my service and receive words of affirmation. We need to stay close to Jesus and listen to the Spirit’s conviction so that we can live out of a pure motivation of love!
And what about this weed?! Whoa! How did I miss that? It has been growing quite a while behind this bush. When I pick weeds I simply walk along by my house the way I usually do, and don’t walk behind the bushes to see if I’m missing anything. And a low branch hides this bunch of crab grass. It’s a blind spot for me! We also have “blind spots” in our lives. They affect our lives more than we imagine as well as other people’s lives, but we can’t see them on our own. Examples could be avoiding conflict, fear of people and seeking their approval, or response patterns of destructive anger. This is where we really need the perspective of other people in our lives whom we will be real with and who will be honest with us. This is where it really takes some humility and commitment to grow. And we all have this kind of weed!
We all know we can’t pick a weed by just grabbing the leaves. We need to get a grasp down by the root and pull it completely out. Dealing with only the symptoms of weeds in our lives will leave us frustrated and unsuccessful; we need to get to the root of them. We need real heart change. And for this, we need God’s help! The first step is to become aware, and then to confess our sin, which means to state exactly what we did and take responsibility for it. Then we can apologize, expressing sorrow for the results of our sin. This frees us to be forgiven, to receive God’s internal strength for change, and to turn from our sinful past and walk in the opposite direction.
Lord, is there any weed in my life that I need to be aware of today?
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
~Psalm 139: 23-24 (ESV)