Have you ever grown a garden? Do you know the joy of preparing the ground, planting the seed and coming back to harvest your supper from the garden? There’s something special about a garden; that’s probably why God created Adam & Eve in a garden.
I sometimes look at a garden as a metaphor of my life: if I want God to have a harvest of good things from my life, then He and I need to prepare the soil that is me and plant good seed in it.
Preparing my soil is not often easy, but it is simple. There’s hard stuff that needs to be plowed up, often (but not always) through difficult circumstances. There are things that need to be removed from my life through a process of purification or refining. There’s order that needs to be built into my life.
Then there’s the planting of the seed. That’s another process. It’s worth examining, but I’m looking at something else today.
If you’ve ever grown a garden, you know about weeds. No matter how well you prepare the soil, no matter how good the seed you use, weeds always seem to get in to spoil the perfection of your garden. Jesus had the same problem: tares grew among the good wheat
Following the metaphor, weeds grow from the seeds planted by “the world, the flesh and the devil” in the garden of our lives. Weeds are messed up thinking, wasted or unfruitful choices and other things that don’t come from God’s seed and don’t produce a harvest that either he or I would choose.
I hate weeds. They seriously mess up both the beauty and the fruitfulness of a garden, and they do it in several ways.
First, weeds consume resources supplied for the legitimate fruit. In the natural garden, they consume the nutrients in the soil, the water, the sunshine. In my spirit, they consume the time and energy that could be more profitably spent. (Don’t get me wrong: rest is not a weed. But squandering time is.)
More than that, weeds create a false, fruitless beauty. A field covered in blackberries and nettles is actually fairly pretty, but it’s not fruitful. That’s the same in my life if I have lots of activities that look good, but lack the power and presence of God in them. I know people who have started dozens of “good things” for God, but haven’t done much “with God.”
Weeds make room for other invasive pests. They are not part of the weeds themselves, but the weeds make it comfortable for other nasty stuff to feel right at home. Under the berries and nettles are rats, cockroaches, slugs, ungodly beliefs, discouragement, hopelessness. I don’t want to be making room for those kinds of things.
Weeds make it hard to see what God’s doing. I don’t know why it is that weeds – both natural and metaphorical – are substantially better at commanding attention than the quiet fruit-growing plants beneath them.
So my goal is to submit myself to God, to identify and repent of the weeds He shows me, and to make myself ready for good seed.