The Way of the Weeds
by Elizabeth Joslin
‘Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.’
Last Saturday I did some gardening outside of the house I live in on the property. Over the last couple of years I have claimed the outside landscaping area on either side of the stairs leading up to my deck as mine to care for. It’s sort of like of experimental gardening, each season I learn something new and improve on something I didn’t do so well the previous year or season.
This year I looked a little beyond the two areas I normally garden to the landscaping beyond and I heard the words of a dear friend of mine who says it like it is ringing back in my mind’s ear: ‘Do you ever weed this?’
So I decided I would weed it and I wanted to share some observations I made about weeding & weeds with you.
Observation #1: Some weeds have shallow root systems and are very easy to pull out, it takes little effort if any to uproot them.
Observation #2: Some weeds are stubborn and strong, their roots are dug in deep and it takes focused effort to remove them. Digging and pulling is required.
Observation #3: Some weeds show just a little bit of greenery above the surface of the soil but their root system is extensive and complex. You begin to pull the weed up and it keeps coming and coming and you keep pulling and pulling. Before you know it you have followed it’s root path a couple of feet.
Observation #4: Some weeds are sneaky and like to hide and you have to prune or cut away parts of shrubs, bushes or plants to get at them.
Observation #5: Some weeds look like a flower, act like a flower, are mistaken for a flowers but are in fact weeds.
Observation #6: Weeding is very hard on the body (during my last weeding session, I could barely stand fully straight once I was done).
Ok, now you are thinking, ‘that’s great and all Liz but I thought this was supposed to be a devotional reading, not a weed seminar’ and you are right.
As I made observations about weeds it got me thinking about sin and how sin is very much like a weed. Our sins are like weeds and our inner person, our heart, the spiritual part of us is the soil where these weeds grow.
Sin is sin and in God’s eyes it’s all missing the mark.
Some sin is shallow in our lives and takes little to deal with.
Some sin and temptations take discipline and effort to not allow their roots to dig in deep and take hold in one’s life.
Some sin has very little evidence on the outward, visible part of someone’s life but has an extensive, entrenched network in one’s inner, hidden person.
To deal with some sin, areas in one’s life might need to be stripped away by the Lord to get at and isolate the sin in order to deal with it.
Some sin in our lives is veiled to look like righteousness but is actually self-righteousness that is not desirable or of value.
Trying to deal with sin in our own strength is exhausting and painful.
So now that we have talked about some of the different type of weeds that can grow in the soil of our hearts, what can we do to prevent ‘heart weeds’ from growing?
Well as the Gardeners of Capernwray know, constant maintenance & care must happen so that the soil of the garden doesn’t get overrun with weeds. The soil must be tended to, tilled, watered, nurtured, fertilized and weeded. Without it, the beauty of the garden would be squelched out by weeds.
Do you know what you have to do in order to grow weeds? Absolutely nothing. They pop up here, there and everywhere, thus the need for a Gardener. Not only the earthly kind we have on the Capernwray property but our Heavenly Gardener, God, the Master Gardener.
The soil of our hearts must also be nurtured, tended to and maintained. Without that care, sin can take root and grow. Our heavenly Master Gardener knows perfectly what the soil of our inner lives needs. He has the capacity to discern between the flowers of righteousness and the weeds of self-righteousness. He knows in our lives what needs to be done away with or pruned. He doesn’t become tired or weary when dealing with us. His care is constant, perfect and thorough.
In order for the Master Gardener to care for the soil of our hearts in such a perfect and beautiful way, we must give Him full access to our inner lives, our heart’s soil, the secret garden of our lives.
We give Him access daily by reading and meditating on His Word, by speaking to Him in prayer and listening to Him in silence and obeying what He asks of us.
Proverbs 4: 23 reads ‘Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.’
So here is the question for inner reflection:
‘What is the current condition of your heart soil?
Whatever the condition of your heart soil, it is vital that we allow Jesus to have access to our inner ‘garden’ so to speak. To take the time to be tended by His Word, nurtured by His Spirit and watered by His Presence in order that His glory, His beauty, His life is displayed, seen and proclaimed.