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Reaching my hand into the dark soil, I could feel that the roots had gotten deep. I had to put my weight into the pull to unearth something I had spent weeks tending. I felt a little discouraged; I’d invested my time and attention into something that had proved to be working against the growth I was seeking the whole time. I also felt a little frustrated that I’d been so easily deceived.
Along with those negative emotions, I also could sense a little bit of hope seeping in as the large weed finally loosened and pulled free from the soil. I knew my little garden would be so much better off without this large weed stealing valuable nutrients and water from the fruit I was trying to grow.
You see, for weeks I had been painstakingly watering and weeding a little plot of dirt along the side of my home. The year before it had been a vibrant little garden filled with strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon, and cantaloupe.
The strawberries come back every year, but the other plants weren’t ones that I expected to see come back. However, three hearty sprouts had pushed up through the dormant soil. I didn’t recognize the new growth and assumed it was something returning from the previous year. I’m a novice gardener at best, so I devotedly gave these budding starts priority. They thrived and quickly grew tall and strong.
When Spiritual Weeds Take Root in Our Lives
They soon dwarfed my strawberry plants. As they grew, it became obvious that these were not the fruit that I had intended to grow. I had been deceived. I’d been nurturing weeds that I’d mistakenly thought were fruit. All along, these weeds had been taking my time and attention. Not only that, they were choking out the fruit that I was purposing to grow.
Pulling out that weed and the others like it caused a slew of thoughts to start circulating around my mind. As Christians, how many weeds have taken root in our lives? How many things have we poured our time and attention into that are choking out the Spiritual fruit we are trying to grow? How can we tell the difference between a weed and fruit when it is so easy to mistake one for the other? Am I watering weeds?
How to Recognize a Weed vs. Fruit
Galatians 5:22-25 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let is also keep in step with the Spirit.”
These verses set the standard. If what we are investing our time and energy into isn’t growing those types of fruit, we need to look closely to be sure it isn’t a weed. If it is a weed, we have to be willing to reach down into the dirt and uproot it before it grows and starts choking out the fruit we are working so hard to grow.
Can you see examples of that going on in your own life? I hate to admit it, but I know that I can see it in my life without having to look very hard at all.
For me, it’s social media. Being engaged in social media is a part of my job, but I can easily spend way too much time and energy engrossed in my news feed. That is time and energy that would be much better spent doing the work that God has given me to do or loving and serving the people he has placed in my life. I’m also a sucker for a good series on Netflix. I love a rich story line and can flit away hours watching someone else live their life instead of purposefully living mine.
Whatever You Water Will Grow
Just like the weeds that I meticulously watered began to choke out the fruit in my garden, the weeds we care for can begin to choke out the fruit that we want to grow in our lives. I had let some weeds grow in my garden and in my life that needed to be effectively dealt with.
Neither social media nor Netflix are bad, in and of themselves. They don’t start out looking like weeds to me at all, but when they begin stealing the time and attention away from the plan God has for my life, it becomes easier to see them for the weeds that they are. I think we all could benefit from being a little more aware of what we are watering and tending in our lives.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have some weeding and watering that I need to do. Would you like to join me?
Image Credit: Unsplash.com
Bobbie Schaeperkoetter is married to her high school sweet heart and is a homeschooling mama of two handsome fellas. She loves Jesus with her whole heart and is just doing her best to honor him in the craziness of life. She would love to be a friend and encourage you in your Christian walk as you do the same.