Sunday, March 07, 2010

Lessons from my garden, Part 1

Today I finished some spring cleaning in our garden. It was a mess, left unattended through several weeks of cold weather and rain. Dead flowers, a carpet of weeds, and messy bushes all needed my attention. As I started my work, I realized something. Every time I work in the garden, as soon as I get to the business of tending to the plants, an onslaught of analogies involving them in the Bible comes rushing towards me. I totally think that if I had a more agricultural lifestyle - like, lived on a farm in some state that has those - I’d be a stronger, more spiritually mature person. I'd be constantly reminded of so many great truths from God's word, illustrated in stories about plants. Darn that Industrial Revolution!

I wanted to share a few of the lessons that came to mind while I pruned and uprooted today. But when I sat down to write, I quickly listed 9 of them. Like I said - coming at me from all directions. Too many for one post, so I'm going to spread them out in a series of posts.

Lesson from the dirt #1: The biggest weeds are the ones that are sheltered.

I pulled a zillion weeds. Most were tiny with shallow roots, and out in the open spaces between the plants. But as I worked my way through the garden, I realized that under the shelter of the trees and at the bases of some flowering plants, giant weeds had grown. I'm not sure if they were able to draw nourishment from their neighbors, or if they were just more protected. But these weeds were healthy and thriving under the shelter of something else. Also, these weeds were harder to see up against another thing green. They were almost hidden, and surviving that way.

How can we escape the fact that we do the same with our sin. Seeds of temptation are planted, and then one barely noticable decision is made. A small weed sprouts up out of the soil. But it's hard to see, up against the rest of our polished selves. We think no one notices anyway. It's easy to shelter our early indiscretions and compromises. But hiding them is the very thing that feeds them. Soon one choice is a habit, and the growing weed gets harder and harder to hide.

For me, I tell myself these areas of compromise are too small to deal with; besides, I'm not committing any "big" sins. Up against the rest of me and who I appear to be, who really knows how often I may "lose it" with my kids, or choose selfishness over serving my spouse. Well, God does. He's sitting there, waiting for me to acknowledge my sin to Him, and let Him gently pull the weeds. This line in a song by Hillsong that I love called Hosanna (it may make the NFS one day) truly speaks to my soul, as it contains a plea to God, "Break my heart for what breaks Yours..." I pray for an ever-growing discomfort with my sin, so that I can allow God to come into all areas of my heart. Here's to transparency before the Lord, because He is so loving, and He's promised us grace every time.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:8-11

He who conceals his sins does not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
Proverbs 28:13

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