Right… at first glance you may quickly think I am going to try convincing you how wrong it is to smoke marijuana… or to do drugs of any kind. No… this is not that kind of ‘weed removal’ encouragement… although… wait…
OK… I’ll refrain!
Rather, this is an admonition to be careful about being SO quick and sometimes rather ruthless with tearing out the ‘weeds’ of your life… the ugly and unwelcome growth that seems to almost be taking over your ‘garden’ of hope… cluttering the persona you are hoping to present. I mean… the Bible does encourage us to sanctify ourselves… to depart from evil… to purify our hearts and minds… and ‘be holy’.
Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.Leviticus 20:7
One of the tendencies for sanctifying yourself, or becoming holier… even working to purify your life is to remove the ugliness from your life… the unwanted growth… the things that are distracting you and others from the ‘garden’ of your life… from the ‘orchard’ of your life… from the very beauty that is beginning to grow in you.
Jesus himself told us a story about NOT tearing out the weeds in a field for fear of disrupting/destroying new and tender roots of the good crops all around it. Sure, this parable was mainly intended as a ‘world view’ concept (don’t get too carried away with purifying society), but it can directly apply to our spiritual lives, too. See… it is important to fertilize, not weed-kill! Matthew 13:24-30
That entire passage is much too large to include here (please click-n-read it), but the last two verses make the point;
But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.Matthew 13:29-30
Don’t be so quick to remove unwanted or unwelcome growth in your life. As that passage reads, these ‘weeds’ are not necessarily your fault… they have been planted there by your enemy! Their main intent is to discourage you… to distract you… even to cause you to ‘weed the garden’, as it were!
Jesus is encouraging us to be careful of cleansing our own lives of these weeds… these unsightly growths in the garden of our lives. Rather… continue to water your entire garden… continue to fertilize… continue to nurture and care for it. Remember, the bible does tell us that it rains and shines on the just and the unjust and the sun rises and shines on the evil and the good (Matthew 5:45). The weeds will be removed at ‘the harvest’! They can live among you, but there is a day of reckoning coming… there is a day where the tares are separated from the wheat, the useless plants are separated from the fruitful ones.
We are told several times that the chaff, or the tares, or the weeds of our lives will wither… they’ll burn… they’ll be separated from our lives in God’s own way, and in His own timing. I mean… remember that parable Jesus shared about the seeds falling on the ground in various places? One of those places was the rocky or shallow-soil areas… He’d commented later how those roots can’t get very deep into the soil, and when the sun comes up and ‘the heat is on’, they wither and die from lack of depth… their roots are not protected.
Similarly, John the Baptist was telling the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to one of his baptisms, he was telling them of the coming of Jesus and “…Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12) It’s that separation that we are reminded of several times… see… there are those who want to remind you of these weeds in your life… there are those who seem to just watch and wait for you to make a mistake… to fail… to show signs of imperfection. It’s actually all they can do really… you’ll find that those who tear you down or point out your flaws are as big as they’ll ever be… they can’t get any better and they know it… so, they tear you down so you seem as small, or smaller than they are!
We are ashamed of our own weeds though, too. Our own failings… or own misgivings, short-comings, and any of those not-so-pretty traits in our lives. These are scattered all through the field of our garden and they make us shudder with shame… make us shrink a little in guilt… in disgust… even in repulsive retreat. Our tendency is to get in there and remove these weeds… to tear them out, to cut them back, to hide the shame of their presence. “How did these unsightly traits ever gain ground in my life“, you may ask yourself… you may ask God… you may wonder.
Don’t forget, dear friend… Jesus reminded us that the sequence of life is this;
- He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man
- The field is the world
- The good seed are the children of the kingdom
- The tares are the children of the wicked one
- The enemy that sowed them is the devil
- The harvest is the end of the world
- The reapers are the angels
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.Matthew 13:40-43
Unbeliever vs Children of the Devil
- The field is the world
- The good seed are the children of the kingdom
- The tares are the children of the wicked one,
those that have willfully rejected the Light
Again, this ‘world view” Jesus has given us can be scaled down to our very lives… the weeds in our lives are sown there from the evil in this world. The children-of-the-devil are just all those distracting traits in our lives that shame us… that embarrass us, even keep us from thinking or feeling like we are even WORTHY of Jesus’ love, let alone His mercy! Remember, though… these things will burn away!
We would all like to keep weeds out of our beautiful lawns… out of the gorgeous gardens, and certainly out of our very crops. Remember these tips;
- Newly planted or over-seeded lawns inevitably include weeds
- Farmers fertilize their crops and it is too strong with nutrients for weeds and it over-grows them (kills them)
- At harvest time, the fruit of the plant is what is gleaned
Spend your time, your energy, your prayer, and certainly your time with the Lord on growth in your life. Give attention to the flaws, to the quirks, to the bad habits, and ‘things that distract you’ from a closer walk with the Lord, but be sure you are not swept up with all that as a priority. The main ‘ears to hear’ piece the Lord is telling us is that spending time and energy tearing out the weeds can damage any tender roots that are gaining momentum in your life.
Press On: It is the ‘keep going’ part of our lives we need to hear. We don’t stop and tear out any ugliness… cease forward progress until we look or feel better… halt any new growth until we can get rid of all this excess baggage… this debris… this messy characteristics and traits in our lives that are unbecoming or unsightly. Rather, we are to keep going. Remember, in Philippians 3:14 we are encouraged, to . “...press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”, to aim for that high-calling… to work toward that goal… not to stop and groom ourselves so we appear worthy of it.
Our intentions are pure… our quest for cleanliness is honorable… our yearn for perfection is admirable, and certainly a great trait to have in our lives. We must be so very careful to let the Lord do that in our lives in His time. See… the tendency is to rush to ‘tidy up the house’, as it were. From that moment we know ‘guests are coming’, we quickly dive into action attempting to make the place presentable. That is the world’s way of making things right. God does want us Holy… the Lord does was us sanctified… Jesus does want us ‘pure as snow’… but in His way, in His timing.
Guard the Garden; The underlying premise of this writing and Jesus’ encouragement is that we do not become zealots at clearing out the weeds of our garden… or removing the unsightly elements… or even going to any great length to identify the right-or-wrong of our lives and tear out those weeds. See… 2 Thessalonians 3:6 reminds us, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” See… that is a clear admonishment to avoid further chaos, further distractions, further ‘weeds’ in our lives. But, taking the time and energy to tear out existing ones does two things; 1) harms the tender roots of the good things the Lord has planted in your life, and 2) uses energy you could be using toward your own healing. Guard your garden, but be careful and don’t over-think it… over-work it… and certainly over-purify it. As the scriptures say, “…And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away“.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.Matthew 7:21-23
It is that “…ye that work iniquity” part that should get your attention.
Weed Patrol: With the pressure of society and the whole glamorization of our lives, we give so much attention to patrolling our lives and removing the weeds that we actually cause… the peer-pressure that drives us to clear out these weeds is actually undermining His new growth in our lives, too. There is no need to be in an hurry…. the Lord will abide in our lives regardless of how dank, smelly, dark, hostile, or even just down-right unappealing we are. He loves us because of who we can become, not because of who we are.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.2 Timothy 2:19
The half-truth is that we must clean-up our act to allow God to abide with us. We must “walk the narrow road” to reap the deeper benefits of His grace…. we must even avoid evil, sin, and all the debauchery of this world so-as to be sure God will be by our sides. Surely you understand that none of us can accomplish this… none of us can become worthy enough… none of us can maintain that higher level of quality in our lives.
Just as Jesus was telling those disciples how the weeds can choke out the good plants in your life… the tender roots He has planted… the seed of a new life of Salvation He planted in your Spirit; as in;
“…and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.“
It is that latter portion we must give attention to… where we can give our focus, our devotion to the Lord, and certainly our thoughts, heart, and life.
Having “an ear to hear” is so very important to this whole Leave the Weed process. Others will pressure you to ‘be better’… to improve… even to separate yourself from those weeds in your life. Over time, the Lord will guide you through that process. But, grow in the Lord… get closer… strengthen that bond, that trust, that relationship, and the weeds in your life will not get as much attention, as much nutrients, as much growth.