If you’ve been to Reflections this morning, you’ve already heard about my lovely afternoon mucking around the yard tearing up grass. It’s funny how the seeds of one, deceptively cheery dandelion can infest an entire lawn. And crab grass must be on steroids! Somehow the very thing that kills our grass makes the weeds thrive. And not just in the yard.
In August our family went on a week long vacation. We came back to a dead, bone-dry lawn. Turns out, we’d blown a fuse and it just happened to be the one connected to our automatic sprinkler system. And apparently, there had not been enough rain or cloud cover to keep our grass alive. Unfortunately, the weeds—knot-grass, crab grass, clover, dandelions—thrived and before long, our yard was infested.
Yesterday as I spent the afternoon tearing through the dead grass to reveal the soft dirt beneath, I thought about how closely the yard paralleled my spiritual life. Without the deliberate watering of our sprinkler, our grass was left to “catch what fell”. Unfortunately, the occasional summer storm wasn’t enough, and without my constant care, those weeds that could have been eliminated easily upon first sprout, had reached their roots deep within the soil, devouring any drop of water that may have fallen. And as the grass began to die, the weeds grew stronger.
What was the cause? Lack of water. In our absence, the grass had been left alone. How often do we do that in our spiritual lives? As believers, we know we’ve got the Holy Spirit. And we love to talk about how it’s God’s job to grow and change us. All good and true, but I doubt God intended us to be passive observers. Like my parched, brown grass, if we’re waiting for God to shower His Spirit upon us, chances are our hearts are nearing dehydration. And as they do, it isn’t long before weeds begin to sprout, reaching their roots ever-deeper into our hearts and minds. Weeds like selfishness, laziness, greed, bitterness, discontent, and on and on. Just like my rather delicate lawn, my heart needs care and nurture. It is my responsibility to see that I am fed. And I need to be on the alert, scouring the deep recesses of my heart for those pesky little dandelions that are about to seed.
So what do you do once you notice those weeds invading your heart? As always, the best defense is a good offense. Galatians 5:16-25:
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
Jesus promised that if we abide in Him, He will abide in us. James 4:8 tells us that if we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. And when you stand in the presence of God, meditate on His holy Word, and surrender to His limitless love, the weeds will die. And in their place will sprout love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, and self-control.
What does it mean to “walk in the Spirit?” Check out what Got Questions has to say.