Yesterday, in the 105 or so degree heat index, I pulled weeds for a couple of hours in our front yard. It’s amazing, the simple and profound lessons I learned, just in the quiet and the heat. No sermons in my ear-buds, or music on the speakers. Just being outside, with the intermittent cars passing, while I waved at neighbors and contractors, I was refreshed (and exhausted from the heat).
God’s Spirit whispers during silence and solitude, and I discerned valuable insights, in the hundred plus minutes I pulled weeds, getting dirt wedged under my fingernails, being baked by the sun. Thoughts leapt into my mind, and I wish I’d had a notepad. I prayed that God would bring remembrance of the things I was thinking.
Most of what I thought about related to “weeds” as “sins” in our lives.
So here goes (in no particular order):
1. Some weeds look a lot like real grass. Sometimes sin can look good, and spiritual — like we’re growing at an incredible rate. But weeds always grow the fastest and most vigorously, and, eventually, are brought to light for what they really are.
2. Pulling weeds requires patience and can wear us out. Therefore, let us not grow weary in doing good. It can get hard, and we need water so that we don’t pass out from the heat. We must be ever vigilant to kill the sin in our lives, and realize that we will never get all the weeds before glory.
3. We can’t always get all the weeds at once, and it might be wise to pull the big ones first, as many as we can handle. My head got really light today, and I knew I wouldn’t be physically capable of getting out all the weeds. I had to pick the biggest and most obnoxious ones, knowing that tomorrow or next week I will need to get the others as well. God is gracious and does not reveal to us everything in our heart all at once. Concentrate on the biggest sin issues at the time.
4. Letting the weeds get overgrown makes it much more difficult job to pull them all out. Un-crucified sin grows and grows, until there’s so much that it makes the “vineyard” a total mess. And, a la Owen, we might be thereby prevented from the power and the comfort of a mortified life.
5. Mowing the weeds only makes them look better for a season (or a few days), and then they grow back worse than before. This struck me today. I often have only mowed the weeds in my soul, and not yanked them out from the root. A prime example is eating. I’ve struggled with overeating my whole life (i.e., been a glutton), but the last few years I’ve lost weight with food-controlled diet and some exercise. It helped, a lot. I lost 70 pounds, but the root remained because I was only mowing the weeds (and mowing them a lot, so that it looked like the problem was solved or greatly minimized). But, lately, after getting married and having a wife who has no weight or food issues to speak of and who loves me even when I’m fat, lately, the weeds have gone un-whacked, and grown back up (noticeably). I haven’t killed the root. Now, I realize that, until glory, the root will not be severed completely. But, still, the point, I think, is taken.
I need to work at the root, and I realized that, in part, by pulling weeds yesterday.