Who’s Tending Your Garden?
I love flowers and flower gardens. Although I am not a landscape designer, I love to work in my flower garden. There is something about working the earth and then watching plants grow and bloom. The colors and the variety of flowers always remind me of God's elaborate handiwork; for only God could create the intricate beauty of a delicate rose. With dedicated care and planning, an artistic person with a green thumb can create the most beautiful breath-catching array of colors and blooms around a waterfall or decorative pathway.
However, even the most beautiful, positive, ecologically friendly environmental garden can become a garden of weeds and thistles if not tended to ecologically. Without proper care, proper fertilizer and watering, plants can become dry, turn yellow and drop their leaves. Crabgrass can overtake a garden in a matter of weeks. Weeds such as bindweed, goose grass, and dandelions have strong roots and are very hard to pull completely out. Chickweeds, though very pretty, are very dangerous to plants and can choke out the life of surrounding plants.
Weeds like henbit, sandspurs and speedwell spread quickly from seedlings and send out runners that can spread into solid sheets that choke out grass and other living plants. Some weeds, such as the henbit and crabgrass, look for weak bare spots to invade, and sap the very life out of what it invades.
The scriptures talk of "weeds" in our spiritual gardens. These can have the same effect on our Christian lives as weeds left unattended in the most exotic arboretum or flower garden. Ephesians 4:3 tells us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Hebrews 12: 14 tells us, "see to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many"
No root of bitterness! Bitterness can have very strong roots that grow deep and are very dangerous to the soul. Just like the crabgrass or henbit. Bitterness seems to invade the bare spots or the weak spots of our spiritual lives and saps out the joy and happiness that once bloomed there. Like the chickweed and sandspurs, bitterness can be very deceptive. Chickweeds, although beautiful when in bloom, turn into burrs that can be very painful if stepped on. Likewise, bitterness that is left unattended can become very painful when it turns into resentment, hatred, rage, malice, jealousy, envy, and selfish ambition. Galatians 5: 19-25 warns us of allowing the "weeds" of the sinful nature to take over our lives and the need to make sure that we tend to the garden of our souls by cultivating love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
When we don't take the time to tend to our gardens, weeds will sprout forth. The wrong kind of weeds can destroy a garden. But, if we will diligently, deliberately, and consistently pull out the invading weeds, fertilize weekly, water daily, prune and tend gently, we can enjoy the most beautiful breathtaking panoramic flower garden.
The same is true of our spiritual gardens: our hearts ... If we will diligently seek Christ and all that He has for us; if we will deliberately and consistently read and study His Word; if we will feed at His table with Christian friends and allow Him to fill our hearts and minds with the Truth of the Gospel; if we will allow Him to prune and gently tend to our souls, that root of bitterness can't take root in our lives. But, left unattended, Satan will come and scatter the seeds necessary that will cause bitterness to take root.
How is your spiritual garden? Are the weeds creeping in? Are some taking root in your lives that are sapping out the joy and happiness you desire? Are you full of bitterness and captive to sin? Remember, you can't have bitterness and joy at the same time! You don't have to be ensnared with "weeds" in your heart that choke out your joy of serving Christ. Pray with the Psalmist that prayed, "Create in me a pure heart a God. and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me."