As this is my first year in trying my hand at gardening, but definitely not my first year in experiencing weeds, when I came across this quote by Tozer, it really stood out to me.
“All things as they move toward God are beautiful, and they are ugly as they move away from Him.” (A.W. Tozer)
When I consider my little seedlings versus weeds, I see many differences. However, the main difference is that weeds are rather ugly and don’t serve a purpose in my garden. As my seedlings grow, they sprout cute little leaves and I know that they will eventually yield edible food for my table. The difference in these two is what is sown. Weeds will yield weeds and vegetable seeds will yield its kind. Galatians 6:7-8 says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will they also reap. For the one who sows to their own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” To which begs the question…what am I sowing? Because that will be what I reap.
I don’t know about you, but if I get out of habit of reading my Bible daily, I become a grumpy pants complainer. I find myself viewing life from a negative lens and realize that I’m really not looking too far past the nose on my own face. That in turn more times than not ends up sowing weeds in how I treat others. But when I run to Jesus and soak up the truth of His word, letting it wash over me and really seep into all the crevices of my broken self, I’m refreshed, renewed, refilled, and ready to respond like Him instead of react like sin nature me.
When we move towards God, abiding in Him and His word, we are being shaped into the image of Jesus, who is beautiful! But the more we move away from Him, sowing to our flesh, the more our flesh nature grows stronger and pops its ugly head out without any regard to the ways of the Spirit.
When you think about all the aspects of your life; your family, your work, your ministry, your hobbies…what are you sowing? Is it rooted in the things of God and therefore beautiful? Are there any weeds popping up in your garden? You may need to sit a bit to evaluate what is being reaped and therefore what you’re sowing.
“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that He may come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 10:12)
In life we are either moving toward God or away from Him. Are we aware of this movement and the direction we’re headed? Allow me to step out of the garden metaphor and over to the sea real quick. I feel like sometimes life is like being in the shallow of the beach shore. We are in the water, waves of life are crashing against us, sometimes we’re riding those waves easily on a boogie board and other times we’re sucking sea water trying to catch our breath. But regardless, if we’re not paying attention and stop looking towards the lifeguard station we entered the water at, we’re going to drift over time. Before we know it, we could be a mile down the shoreline. Jesus is our beautiful lifeguard seated on His station of the heavenly throne at the right hand of the Father and we need to keep our eyes on Him or we’ll be moving away from Him in the sea of life. Just like that slow drift in the water, we may not see right away the effects of the weeds we’re sowing until they have sprouted and are choking out our good seeds’ growth. We must be mindful of the state of our hearts before God if we’re to ward off growing weeds, which honestly can sometimes feel like a tiresome and daunting task day after day.
I do want to iterate one thing real quick before moving on, especially in light of the false gospels and prosperity doctrine in our culture. We are indeed justified by our faith in Christ Jesus and it is by grace we have been saved, not by our works that we are saved. But the Bible does talk about faith without works being dead (James 2:14-26) and that we’ll know true from false teachers by their fruit (Matthew 7:15-20), so fruit is worth being mindful of. I love the way the documentary American Gospel put it…good works is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit that comes from abiding in Jesus. It’s from our root of salvation in Jesus that by the Spirit dwelling in us, we are producing the fruit of the works we were created for and that He prepared beforehand for us to walk in (Ephesians 2:10). I would never want you to finish reading this devotional thinking that you must try to work hard to produce good works in your life. Just as a tree doesn’t strain to produce its good fruit in season, it simply gets watered and fruit naturally comes; so we too need not strain to produce good works, we simply just abide in Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to give us gifts as He wills that will produce the good work fruit in our lives that was prepared for us.
Galatians 6:9 continues on to say, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.” If I grew seedlings indoors but got discouraged waiting for them to germinate and just gave up and threw them in the trash, I wouldn’t be sowing seeds for my garden, I’d be sowing impatience and I’d never yield the edible fruit I want. Thankfully, God will never give up on us, as the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2) and the One who will complete the work He began in us (Philippians 1:6). If we are to be imitators of Jesus as He calls us to be, then we too should press on in the good work we’re called to, knowing that in due season we will reap what has been sown, and using our swords of the Spirit to de-weed our hearts.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! (Psalm 139:23-24)
If you have put your faith in Jesus, you are a beautiful new creation in Christ, being sanctified as you grow in the grace and knowledge of Him. Don’t let the flesh have its way in growing weeds. Instead, make Psalm 139 the prayer of your heart today, and let the Lord point out and pull up any weeds that may be growing in the garden of your heart, and sow the seeds that He desires which will lead you in the way everlasting.