I love to garden. Specifically, I love to landscape garden. I love the whole process of designing and creating beautiful scenery to enjoy. I always look for colors that compliment and selections that will showcase their beauty all year. I try to plan it out in such a way that I consistently have something blooming for every season. It brings me such joy when everything progresses the way I imagined them in my mind! However, it doesn’t always work out that way.
I cannot tell you the times I have planted something, watched it mature for a season, then realize it needed to be moved to a different location. This is Michael's favorite part of my mad process! <insert sarcasm> He loves it when I say, "Well, I think we need to move fill-in-the-blank." He knows I mean he, not we, but that doesn’t stop him from giving me a hard time. Even though I do find myself, excuse me, Michael, moving things around, I still enjoy the creative unfolding that comes from that. Honestly, there is really not much I don't enjoy about gardening. I even like pulling weeds.
It may sound weird but removing a weed from where is doesn’t belong brings a certain satisfaction. Especially when you can get it all out by the root. It is probably similar to popping bubble-wrap. Why do we get so much enjoyment from that? I don’t know, but that is how I feel about weeding. Here's the thing with weeds though - they are only minor nuisances in the beginning. You will not require any special tools for their removal if you catch them soon enough. Just grab and pull and you can go on your merry way. But, if you wait or allow them to linger, well, that becomes a different story.
There is something innate about weeds that perpetuates rapid growth. In fact, the longer you take to pluck them out, the greater the effort you will need to exert. You'll find yourself staring down a whole invading army, instead of just one or two offending pieces. And it will happen in the blink of an eye. I always know I have waited too long when I spend a hot couple of hours bent over my beds instead of a relaxing 30 minutes in maintenance. It is the worst when a weed becomes entangled with part of my landscape. It takes some serious effort to extradite that literal, sap sucker, and usually part of the wanted, intentional bush winds up being removed alongside the invader. I don't like that part. It makes me sad when I realize that had I been more diligent, more attentive, I would not have lost part of what I worked so hard to keep.
I can't help but think of this spiritually in my life. I do not know if God did this purposefully when he made me, but every time I spend time in my garden pulling weeds, I think of my own personal weeds. I think on those things in my life that maybe I've allowed to stay a little longer than they should. Those thoughts that were not quickly rooted out that became intertwined giving them power and persuasion over me. That habit that I keep refusing to pluck for no other reason than I enjoy it, all the while knowing it takes away from me being everything God desires. Those “secret sins” that I think only I know about… Oh, if only I would rid myself of their effects sooner, how much easier life would be! How much heartache I could save. How much time have I wasted working to remove a stubborn growth that should have been just a slight nuisance along my journey?
But that is the nature of weeds.
I love James. He tells it like it is. If you are looking for a shoulder to cry on or for a friend that will empathize with the difficulty of pulling weeds, do not go to James. He was inspired to speak a mighty word over the lingering affects of weeds – the lingering impact of sin.
James tell us in 1:15 that sin, when allowed to become fully grown, will result in death.
There is really nothing to add to that statement. Fully grown sin = death.
He continues that thought by admonishing us to get rid of any evil or sinful thing in our lives so that Word of God can be implanted in its place. The reason for this? Because only God’s Word has the power to save our souls. Only God’s Word has the power of life. Sin has the power of death.
We don’t think of sin this way. We see it as a minor nuisance or as something that we will eventually get around to dealing with one of these days when we are finally ready. That is precisely where our enemy would love for us to be – ignorant and ineffective. His goal is for us to be completely useless for the Kingdom because of our ridiculously over grown gardens.
Bless James. We need his strong language to wake up us. Allowing sin to linger and become fully grown will only result in heartache and death but ridding ourselves of sin so that it may be replaced with the Word of God brings life.
Excuse me - I'm heading to weed.
When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. James 1:13-15