I love Spring! If I had to choose, I would probably say that it’s my favourite season of the year. As the world awakens out of deep hibernation and changes seemingly overnight into a sea of green, yellow, purple and pink, something inside me comes alive as well. I can’t wait to go outside, breathe in the fresh warm air, dig in the dirt, and plant flowers and vegetables.
…And then there are the pesky weeds and harmful pests! If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s dealing with invasive weeds and destructive bugs. They require constant monitoring and work. Let even just one week go by, and they get out of control!
Jesus compared our lives with soil, plants, and producing fruit. How we live our lives and how we receive Him and His Word will produce either good plants and therefore good fruit, or will be overgrown with weeds (sin) and stunted by pests (bad habits & influences). (See Matt. 13; Matt. 7:15-23; 2 Cor. 9:6)
With the busyness of our lives, it’s easy to put any sort of “weed” control on the back burner, to let the “pests” take over and wreak havoc. Before we know it, our time with God is just an afterthought, our character begins to suffer, the motive behind our thoughts and actions begins to shift just a little, and our relationships are strained. Instead of producing the beautiful fruit of the Spirit, and cultivating obedience to Christ, we let stress, anger, lustful thoughts, worry, materialism, and selfishness overgrow our lives.
Growing beautiful gardens takes effort, sweat, and constant watchfulness. It takes knowledge of the needs of plants, and recognition of any signs of distress caused by weeds or pests.
In the same way, if we want to have lives that will produce good fruit, we will have to put in work. The first thing to re-establish is regular time with our Lord. When we are in love with someone, we can’t ever spend enough time with that person, and we count down the minutes until we get to see them again! If we love God with our whole being, we will have that same yearning to spend time with Him.
Secondly, we have to know what good fruit looks like, what’s needed to care for the good plants in our lives, and how to recognize any signs of weeds and pests. That takes effort and intentional study of the Bible. God has revealed His will to us in written form – His gardening book, if you will – and we need to learn what He, as the expert, tells us.
Thirdly, God loves us so much that He placed Himself into our lives as the Holy Spirit, to help us every minute of the day. Do we ignore the guidance or warnings of the Spirit? Are we too busy to stop and clean up the weeds, pick off the pests, and cultivate the ground? The Holy Spirit has been given to us to give us direction, but it takes a listening ear and obedient mind.
Lastly, we must choose to do something. I can sit in my chair and complain about the state of my yard, or I can get out of that chair, grab my gardening tools, and get to work. Knowing God’s word and His will is not enough. James instructs us: “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Jesus warned in the Sermon on the Mount that He will not recognize anyone who produces the wrong kind of fruit. In the Parable of the Sower, He clearly states that cultivating the ground and getting rid of weeds is the only way to produce a good crop. And Paul says that how much we sow will determine how much we harvest. Let’s all get out of our chairs, dust off the spiritual gardening tools, and clean up the yard of our hearts. May our lives grow beautiful plants and fruit in a weed-free, pest-free garden, to God’s glory!