I usually don’t wear gloves when I weed. I prefer to get my hands dirty. I like to slip my fingers sub-terrain and work them along the highways of root systems. And those highways are complex, starting on one side of my flower bed and ending on the other. Sometimes I’m a lazy weeder and pull quickly at what I see above the dirt, that which disrupts the beauty of my flower beds. I don’t always take time to use a hand trowel, piercing down and pulling up roots.
It occurred to me the other day while bending over to pull a few early spring weeds the metaphor of life and sin that exists in the ecosystem of plants and weeds. Sin no more sits on the surface of our lives as a weed sits on the surface of the ground. It goes deeper than what we imagine. We think a few external plucks will take care of what others see, the actions the disrupt our well-portrayed life. We go right for the obvious because its easier than dealing with the hidden. Clean up the cussing, cut out the angry outbursts, pull at the impatience, perhaps spray sin-killer on the greed and the lust.
But what about the roots? The highway of sin is a fully cemented road system that penetrates the parts of us that nobody sees, and we often don’t see ourselves. Removing the obvious leaves us clean for a bit, but the sin will surely come back, perhaps even stronger than before (it’s the concept Jesus mentions in Matthew 12:44-45 concerning the unclean spirits). The source of the issue must be dealt with.
There’s only one way to get rid of sin, and it’s not through our earnest gardening. It’s His gardening. His fingers reaching into the complexities of our lives and untangling the healthy roots of His Spirit from the unhealthy roots of our sin. He gets to the bottom line. He takes care of the attitudes and motives that produce the weeds. He plants the good seed of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
We must abide with the Gardener (read John 15). We must let the heavenly trowel dig. We must keep the soil soft so as to make His pulling-up easy.
Think on these things as you garden this spring. What roots in your life are you trying to ignore? What roots is He trying to pull?