By Coulter Page, Senior Pastor, Bethany Alliance Church
Last time I wrote here, I talked to you all about my garden. Using the analogy of my earthly father helping me with my garden, I reminded us that we need to depend upon our Heavenly Father in all that we do.
As we are only at the end of June, I thought I’d take another lesson from my garden and apply it to our lives here today.
Over the past weeks I have been tending to my garden. I have watered, but let’s be honest, though. With the amount of rain we have had, I have not had to do it much.
I have thinned some of the plants to make room for others to grow. I have spent time weeding. There has been a lot of work put into getting it to where it is today. The piece that I want to highlight today is the aspect of weeding.
Anybody who is a gardener knows the importance of weeding. If you don’t get in there and pull those weeds, they will choke out the plant and its crop. Weeds can quickly take over a garden, leaving the plants you want to grow smothered and malnourished.
It takes work to make the garden not be covered in weeds. It takes getting dirty to clear out all the unwanted. It doesn’t just happen on its own. The weeds will naturally grow and take over. It takes hard work to get rid of it all.
The same is true for our walks with the Lord. There are weeds that creep up in our lives. These are the things of this world that take over and consume us. They are the areas that are not producing good fruit.
I am sure you can think of some of those things — the things you don’t really want in your life but keep popping back up.
Paul labels them as “youthful passions” in his letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:22). The habits we turn back to. The addictions we crave. The entertainment we get drawn to. The conversations we keep turning back to. Left unchecked, they will consume our lives.
Just as a gardener must get dirty to get the garden clean of weeds, we, too, need to get a little dirty to get our lives clean of weeds. It takes work. It takes effort. It isn’t always easy.
Ask any person who has ever defeated an addiction; it is not an easy journey. They had to put time and effort into the life change. It took perseverance to see change come. I think that is why James made this statement in his letter
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (ESV James 1:22-25, emphasis mine)
James emphasizes what it takes to make a life change. You must be intentional. Give time and effort to seeing what God would have you do. You must pay attention to what needs changed from God’s Word.
Spend time seeing what life in Christ really looks like. Then you need to do it — persevere. You want the weeds gone? It will take work. You want life change? It will take effort. Do not just sit around hoping your life will look different. Start making changes that the Spirit is calling you to make. Get up and pull some weeds in your life.
Father God. We thank you for the life change that your son brings into our lives. Thank you that you welcome us right where we are but love us too much to leave us there. As I reflect upon your words today, I want to lay down my life and the weeds that are in it.
Would you help me see what action steps need to be taken to truly change? Would you help me to see what I need to do to truly persevere? I commit my life to you and allowing your Spirit to change me from the inside out. Amen!