After a water-clogged spring, it’s finally time to plant a garden again. Now for me that’s a challenge because I killed cactus in our yard in Arizona. Therefore I had no idea at first what type of flowers or produce would grow here in Northeast Ohio.
Last year I experimented with flowering plants, radishes, cucumbers and tomatoes and it was a relief to see them grow beautifully. But I also discovered there was more to gardening than simply sticking plants in the ground. Knowledge of what belongs in our garden and what doesn’t is essential to a healthy, successful one.
I noticed while I was cultivating the soil last year that some beautiful flowering purple plants were already in some spaces I wanted to use. How fortunate I was, I thought, to have the previous owner plant such attractive flowers! I lovingly dug and worked around them, nurturing them . . . until they were all over the area and I had to keep cutting them back because I didn’t want them to overpower my good produce. That took a lot of my time and effort!
One day I had a guest over and proudly showed off my flowering blooms. She glanced over at me sympathetically and commented, “Ellie, I hate to tell you but you’ve been watering weeds.”
Sigh, my beautiful flowers were actually wild violet weeds. “But,” I protested, “they look so pretty! How would I have known?”
Isn’t that like sin in our lives? Sin looks so pretty and inviting at first. And we’re so prideful that we sometimes cultivate a particular sin until it takes over our lives, intertwining with our vibrant Christian living, eventually choking off strong growth.
If God is our Gardener, sin doesn’t look attractive.
“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” (1 John 2:16 NLT)
God directs us to what is essential and belongs in our lives and what doesn’t! Certainly we can understand how drugs, alcohol or smoking can become distracting weeds overpowering our Christian testimony. But anything we desire more than Lord becomes an idol.
Even something as innocent as cooking and exercise can seem inviting but be off-track. Addiction to unhealthy food or exercising becomes an idol. “But we need to eat and exercise,” you say. True, then let us eat a balanced diet and exercise sensibly which honors our personal temple of the Holy Spirit not destroys it.
Are you thinking, “But if they are such pretty flowers, why kill them all?” Yeah, so did I. Unfortunately by not killing the weeds, they crept back into the garden and we had to destroy them once again this year. I’ve learned that weeds need to be pulled out by their roots or they pop up later like sin. Don’t allow sin to fester in the soil of your soul or it will manifest in other addictions. Addiction is sin and must be destroyed at the roots. Conquer sin by replacing bad habits with healthier ones.
Weeds crept into my garden without realizing it. A garden is a wonderful accomplishment but I couldn’t see the productivity for the weeds. It took a lot of effort to cultivate and nurture those unnecessary weeds; time which could have been better spent on Godly endeavors. This year, I know what belongs in my Godly Soil. I pray you’ll nurture yours too.