by Cathy Ballantine
I've been getting into gardening over the past year. For the past 19 years, the total amount of gardening I've ever done out there was getting the husband to lop off the shrubbery with a chainsaw when everything got too high.
I've enjoyed spending afternoons, sitting on a milk crate, in the peace and quiet, pulling up grass and weeds. It's nice thinking time.
One is runner grass. It's quite shallow rooted and doesn't seem to have a start or an end. It's all over the place. You don't seem to notice how much it is around until you get close and personal with it. It seems to spread itself all over the place, putting its little roots down in regular intervals. On the plus side, its quite easy to pull up. On the down size, I'm pretty sure, I will never get it all gone. Despite me putting down cardboard for weed mat and covering the garden with a lot of hay, that stuff is still finding the light and invading my garden.
Another type of grass is clumpy. It grows tall and its roots are reasonably shallow, but because its clumpy, its very hard to pull out. I need to get the pitchfork and pry it loose from the soil. When I pull it up, it's heavy and the dirt is very hard to shake free from the roots. It leaves a big hole in the ground that has to be filled up with new dirt.
I encountered a weed the other day that really had me working hard to get out. This weed looked so innocent from the top. It spread like a ground cover and I just peeled it back until I got to the epicentre. When I tried to pull out it out, I could not budge it! I got my trowel and started digging around the root. I'd dig and pull, dig and pull. This thing had a root like a carrot. It was thick and went deep. Eventually, I got my husband to have a go and he got it out. There were a few more of this weed and again, I had to dig and pull. I think I spent an hour and half getting rid of about 4 of them!
It got me thinking about sin. There are different kinds of sins in our lives. Some, like the runner grass, seems easy to get rid of, but it reaches far and plants itself in many ways. It's a tangled mess, can cover a lot of area. When you think you have got rid of it, it will reappear as soon as your guard is down.
Some are like the clumpy grass. Big and obvious, and when you deal with it, it is hard to give up and leaves a big void in your life. You need to fill the void with something you want, something that will flourish and be fruitful.
The carroty weed is like the sin that really gets deep into your spirit, one where you need to do some serious work to overcome it. On the surface, it looks quite innocent, maybe even pretty, and puts on a good front of being a good plant. It's easy to peel it back and think you're dealing with it until you come to the source. It's deep roots in your soul, your mind, make it so hard to let it go and be rid of it.
Another thing about the weeds is that you need a gardener, or someone who knows what weeds look like, to remove them. Weeds and grass are quite happy to grow wherever they want, as big as they want, spread where they want. Some weeds look lovely, with beautiful flowers. If allowed to go unchecked, the beautiful garden will be quickly overcome with them. The longer you leave these weeds to grow, the more work it is to get the out. Leave one behind or think that one will be ok to not pull, and you'll soon find out that it will continue to grow and spread. A gardener will recognise the weeds, point them out and ask you to get rid of them. The gardener doesn't want weeds spoiling his garden.
To remove weeds from our lives takes effort. It's hot and tiring, it hurts, it's dirty, bruising, can make you bleed, your body will ache (did you know sitting and standing up multiple times from a milk crate replicates squats?) It really doesn't sound like fun to put ourselves through that, but no pain, no gain! How can we have a beautiful garden without making the effort.
Colossians 3:5-8 says Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now, you must also rid yourself of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.
Colossions 3:12 says Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
That's some pretty heavy gardening in those verses, digging out those nasty earthly natures and planting new Godly natures. Do you recognise the weeds in your life? Are you holding on to them because they look harmless or beacuse you know its going to be hard work to deal with them?
Will you let the ultimate Gardener, Jesus, point out the weeds in your life and allow him to dig them out and to plant a lovely new plant in its place? Allow Him to prepare the ground, plant seeds and nuture them to fulfilment? Sometimes, you might need the help of someone else (such as I needed my husband to pull out the carrotty weed). It's ok to turn to a trusted friend or someone experienced and ask for help to deal with your weeds.
Cathy Ballantine has been a part of the Qld Baptist Women's Team since 2010. She works part time as State Administrator and Uniform Shop Manager for The Boys’ Brigade Qld and has a home based Admin business. Cathy is married to Matt and they have 4 children - Declan, Brenna, Jacob and Megan. They have been a part of Salisbury Baptist Church since 1999.
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