I’ve spent the majority of my summer it seems in my vegetable garden. My garden is about a hundred feet away from my house in the middle of a huge field. So when I’m there, I spend a lot of quiet, peaceful time with God. If you’ve never gardened, it’s major work, but very rewarding and fun. Maybe you should give it a try. I would suggest starting small.
To keep my garden beautiful and thriving, I’ve had to water it, pick it, and do lots of weeding. Those crazy weeds have had me amazed. They creep in and grow in the most unreachable, hidden places sometimes. I’ve tried to pull them every time I’m out there, otherwise I know they would take over my whole garden. I wouldn’t be able to safely walk in there, if I just let them grow, not to mention how ugly it would be. So I recklessly weed, weed, weed. I’ve noticed that many of the weeds that grow there actually mimic the plant they’ve decided to grow beside. My green beans, which are vine like in the way they grow, actually had another vine growing with them. The two resembled so much, I didn’t pull that weed. It was full grown and choking the life out of my green beans before I recognized it as a counterfeit. When I realized what was happening, it was so large, I had to cut it and remove it piece by piece.
God has been showing me that our lives in Him are much like a garden. They can be well watered, well weeded and thriving, or not. To keep our lives beautiful and producing much fruit, we must abide in the Vine. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 Another thing we must do is weed. Basically anything that comes our way that is not from, or of, God is a weed. We have to be in God’s word and spending time with Him to be able to recognize the desired plants versus the weeds, or the desired way to live versus how we should not be living as Christ followers. His word paints a clear picture for us. It is the Truth, versus lies. It’s the way we should go. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Satan is the master of weeds. He loves planting weeds in our lives to make things more difficult, to tempt us, and to even trick us. Like a thief, he comes to destroy. The weeds he plants are meant to drain the life out of the thriving places in our lives. Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 Just like the weeds in our gardens, the things Satan presents us with are not always noticeably bad or wrong. But they are counterfeits of the real thing, nonetheless. We want to be in God’s will. To do God’s will, we have to be able to set some boundaries and say no to the things that might get us off track. Sometimes, that may mean saying no to things that actually appear on the outside to be good or noble. As noble as they may be, if they are not what God wants us doing or part of His particular plan for us, then they very likely could be from the enemy. If Satan can distract us, or get us busy doing too much of even a good thing, then he can successfully keep us from doing what God REALLY wants us doing.
Then there are the more obvious weeds like our guilt, insecurity, pride, envy, and lust (to name a few). They are scattered all over our gardens. These are the ones that aren’t as sneaky as the counterfeits, but they drain nutrients from the soil (or the life out of us) and change the outer appearance, making it less beautiful. We must take inventory and weed these on a regular basis. The Holy Spirit living in us prompts us to know when these are present and need removing from our lives. By His word, or the sword of the Spirit, he even equips us to do so. (Ephesians 6)
Watering the garden is essential to it’s growth. Isaiah 58:11 says, “The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” So to be well watered, remain in the Lord. God refers to Himself in John 1 as “the Word.” And as mention earlier, He also refers to himself as “the vine.” So to remain watered, weeded, and bearing much fruit (or thriving), we must abide in Jesus and His word.
So we’ve established that our lives are like gardens. Isaiah even used the same analogy. All gardens get weeds that have to be routinely recognized and removed. What do those weeds look like in your life? Are they obvious? Or do you have some that so closely resemble what you should be doing, that they are confusing you? Are you staying so busy doing noble things that you’re being distracted from doing the VERY thing that God has called you to do?