Weeds in My Garden: Living a Fruitful Life

Weeds in My Garden: Living a Fruitful Life

Like a gnarly invasion of weeds in a garden, certain things persist to prevent each of us from living a spiritually fruitful life.

Despite our best efforts, an inevitable battle arises year after years. Prolific and persistent weeds resist every attempt to subdue them. No matter how vigilant our efforts are, their ornery tendrils refuse to surrender.

Though I no longer farm or garden, weeds push their seedy heads even among my container plants. Infamous for their vigorous growth, they choke out more desirable plants. They thrust their boisterous crowns through cracks in the sidewalk and pavement.

Weedy attitudes often press their destructive force in our spiritual lives as well. Just when we gain the victory in one area, another area proves in desperate need of attention. Hopefully, our spiritual gardens may not be nearly as weedy as they were initially. Still, God graciously and gently points out areas where untended thoughts, attitudes, or life-patterns continue. He desires that we display true beauty as our lives produce abundantly.

Fruitfulness and beauty mark any well-maintained garden or life. Anything that threatens requires immediate attention.

Thorns and Thistles

If we could turn back the pages of time and look into the ancient Garden of Eden, God’s perfect garden, thorns and thistles would be noticeably absent. They pushed their prickly force upward and outward only after Adam and Eve sinned.

” … Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food
from it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles
for you … “
Genesis 3:17-18

Weeds in my garden

Once humanity shared perfect unity and fellowship with God. How difficult for us to envision a time without struggling to keep life on track! Thankfully, God promises to again partner with us. Successfully, tending the spiritual gardens of life requires this partnership — God with us!

“Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”
Isaiah 55:13

With His help, we act against anything that chokes out the more desirable and beneficial traits that result in a flourishing life. In Him, we transform from thornbushes to long-living junipers and beautifully scented myrtles.

Vigilance

Here in Canada, we wait through cold, dark winter months for summer to arrive. We welcome the warmth of long, sunny days and fresh spring rains.

For many people, summer also welcomes camping and hiking, beaches and relaxation, vacations and ease. We all need times of rest and refreshing.

But beware! Let’s not allow a habit of ignoring the serious work of dealing with destructive internal issues. Apathy may give those weedy attitudes and life-patterns opportunity to take root and multiply. Solomon warns how quickly “thorns, weeds, and ruins” can take over.

“I went past the field of a sluggard,
past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins.”
Proverbs 24:30-31

Hoe and wheelbarrow

How does the enemy so quickly get such a firm hold on us? Like a tangled vine of deception choking out life, the taproots of unforgiveness suck away hope, or the seeds of perversion multiply unrequested. Pride dashes humility beneath its arrogant growth.

To keep the vineyard of our lives producing healthy fruit requires vigilance. The walls around God’s good work within us require continual maintenance to protect from theft or damage.

Little Problems

“Catch for us the foxes,
the little foxes that ruin the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.”
Song of Songs 2:15

Little foxes

Solomon warned that even the cutest little foxes will inevitably do significant damage to any vineyard. Let’s not wait until we see the evidence of destruction or until “little” problems become giants. May we each lead a fruitful life, eliminating anything which threatens.

Whether in relationships or ministry, minor problems may quickly escalate. Without proper attention hopelessness overcomes vision, despair replaces purpose, and fear uproots courage, and even the most fruitful life becomes sidetracked.

Good Seed

Jesus told a parable about a man who carefully chooses good seed for his field.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man
who sowed good seed in his field.
But while everyone was sleeping,
his enemy came and sowed weeds
among the wheat, and went away.”
Matthew 13:24,25

Damaged fruit

This is not the time to be caught sleeping! Satan’s emissaries come when we are off-guard or have lost our focus. Though we may not initially notice, the result becomes visible soon enough. He comes to destroy the good fruit intended to produce Kingdom purposes.

There was nothing wrong with the “seed,” or the kingdom investment the man was making. He made wise choices and worked faithfully. But while he slept, the field was ruined.

Take Action

We each have negative influences working in our hearts and minds. Some we easily uproot on our own; others need the support of counsellors, pastors, or mentors. Some disintegrate through repentance or renouncing; others take consistent accountability to keep us on track.

However, we should never ignore the destructive efforts of enemy tactics! Sin, like weeds, appears lovely until we try to free yourself from its effects. The more complex and enduring the invasion, the more strategic we become at their eradication. Few people overcome long term destructive behaviors on their own. Fortunately, compassionate, skilled workers are ready to come beside us, helping us to regain lost fruitfulness.

Let’s not allow complacency to delay action. To win this spiritual battle, let’s be vigilant through:

  • prayer and Bible reading
  • seeking godly mentorship and accountability
  • confessing to pastors or counsellors where we need help
  • humbly receiving the help offered
  • refusing any “quick fix”
  • live in faithful obedience to Jesus

Take comfort, my friend. We all have weeds in our gardens. Together we will overcome!

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Persistence and Tenacity, Qualities Necessary for Excellence

Persistence and Tenacity, Qualities Necessary for Excellence

Persistence and tenacity sprout from the soil of adversity. Like mighty trees of strength, they are qualities dominating the landscape of excellence!

There is built into each of us the desire to pursue — to rise! How can we join the ranks of those who refuse to live below full potential?

God often uses natural elements to teach me spiritual truths, like modern day parables. Here is one!

The snowbanks stubbornly staking claim in my yard dispute the fact that spring is soon upon us. I, like many other garden enjoying people, anticipate its arrival! Beneath the snow, dormant but waiting, diversity of colour prepares to burst forth transforming the bland landscape.

Winter

With it will be a few surprises!

Surprises!

When we moved into our home, the yard was surrounded by immaculately cut hedges. Unsurprising, immaculate is a contradiction to my nature!

As soon as possible, more natural landscape replaced the pristine conventional look. Flowing substituted fixed, as a variety of shrubs, trees and flowers took root.

Not long after the sod was turned, “it” appeared! One day only well positioned healthy shrubs, flowers and greenery were visible. The next day, “it” was there!

“It” sprung forth in domineering fashion staking claim where it had no claim. “Its” roots descending beyond the depth of sight or shovel, determined and invasive. 

Weeds in the garden

Resistant to my effort, “it” refused to yield or die. “It” is a weed. “It” waits for spring, too! Hopefully, this time I’m ready!

Questions?

Frustrated with “its” reappearance, I sat upon the ground questioning God how to possibly rid my yard of such torment. I sensed within me His voice say, “Persistence and tenacity!”

“I walked by the field of a lazy person,
the vineyard of one with no common sense.
I saw that it was overgrown with nettles.
It was covered with weeds,
and its walls were broken down.
Then, as I looked and thought about it,
I learned this lesson:
A little extra sleep, a little more slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit;
scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.”
Proverbs 24:30-34

Goats in the garden

I instantly knew that now the conversation had uncomfortably switched from the garden to my heart. “It” breeds in multiples here too — invasive and dominating! God invited, “Look and give thought!”

As soon as I try to take a step forward rising in excellence for God’s kingdom some otherwise hidden “root” will instantly show “its” burly face,

laughing at my intention,
scorning my effort,
tripping any progress,
devaluing my worth.

“Its” roots go deep to Adam’s fatal fall. Though I work and pray to remove “it”, these remnants of fallen nature spring forth, attempting to diminish my progress.

Raising the bar of excellence starts with getting off the ground and doing whatever it takes to achieve what God has called me to. Some days that is harder than others!

Weeds

Jesus told a parable about the sower faithfully sowing seed. Some fell along a path, others on rocky land, still others among the weeds. The only seed that produced in abundance landed in good soil.

“Other seed fell among thorns,
which grew up and choked the plants!”
Matthew 13:7

This Greek word “epnixan” means to “choke or throttle!” It describes the effective cutting off of the air ways, killing by suffocation.

Tangled vine

Sounds a lot like the “it” in my garden and my heart! Those who listened to Jesus knew about weeds! They too had things in their lives that were cutting off and strangling, the breath of life God gives.

There is good news, however! As soon as they present their crippling heads to the light, weeds can be eradicated!

The cross of Christ overcomes every “it” — all sin and failure. With persistence and tenacity, we bring each pernicious thought, attitude, and action before Him. Cooperating with Christ, we roll up our sleeves committing ourselves to digging until every root is exposed and disposed of.

Persistence

Many would say that persistence and tenacity are synonymous. Not true!

Persistence is that ability to take a stand, going on resolutely idespite opposition. Persistence maintains consistency of character and purpose while pushing away every obstacle.

No wonder God nudged me with that little admonition. If I am going to win at uprooting the negative in my life and reaching for excellence, persistence is needed.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded
by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders
and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance
the race marked out for us.”
Hebrews 12:1,2

Weed or flower?

Many things can hinder excellence from characterizing our life, disrupting growth, or limit reaching our God given destiny. It takes perseverance to ceaselessly dig up every “it” growing invasively in our lives.

Even small things are capable of producing great damage! Everything that potentially entangles our progress must by God’s grace be dug out!

Tenacity

But how is tenacity different? Tenacity simply means “not easily pulled apart.” It is the glue, the stick to it ability, either to something or someone.

Have you ever walked through a patch of burrs? Then you have experienced tenacity! A little burr knows how to stick, refusing to leave its place of attachment.

After Jesus taught a particularly difficult concept, many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.” When the going got tough, those who lacked tenacity got going, but in the wrong direction!

“You do not want to leave too, do you?”
Jesus asked the Twelve.
Simon Peter answered him,
“Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and to know that you are
the Holy One of God.”
John 6:67-68

Right answer, Peter!

Peter possesses tenacity, sticking like glue to Jesus! Why? He had “come to believe” that Jesus really was “the Holy One of God”. Peter stuck to God and his faith! He wasn’t about to switch allegiance mid stride.

Unlimited possibility and opportunity for excellence awaits those who tenaciously stick like glue to Jesus.

“For I can do everything
through Christ,
who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13

Winning Team!

Persistence and tenacity! Persistence pushes against opposition! Tenacity holds to what is valuable! We need wisdom to know when each is needed.

Do you possess far-reaching goals? Are you aiming for excellence? Don’t expect a “quick fix” or an easy come scenario!

Tug-O-War

Whether your goal is an enduring marriage a thriving business or a vibrant ministry, persistence and tenacity will assist in achieving that outcome. Whether something grand or simply living each day well, these qualities form the path of success.

On the ground is where I was when God whispered these words into my heart. Getting up is always the first step to excellence!

Together, let’s get off the ground and start digging again?

It is encouraging when people stop and comment on the beauty or productivity of our little garden. Sometimes people even comment on changes they have noticed in my life! Whether outside in my garden or inside in my heart, there is a reward for persistence and tenacity.

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