My husband and I are avid gardeners. It is our mission to supply the majority of what our family eats by planting, harvesting and preserving from our own gardens. In order to make this happen we have to put a decent amount of effort into it. Over the years my husband has read numerous books, magazines articles, internet blogs and has watched hours of videos of homesteaders across the world.
One of the tedious but important chores of gardening is weed control. As I was pulling weeds in my greenhouse this morning I began thinking how weeds are like sin in my spiritual garden. It is inevitable that weeds just like sin will appear at various times and places in our gardens. We have to be diligent at controlling those weeds or eventually they will take over and choke out the plants that we have worked so hard to cultivate. When we remove the weeds/sins we have more room to grow, to produce fruits and to spread more good seeds.
There are several methods of weed control. Each methods alone is generally not enough to control all the weeds in the garden but when used contiguously they can be very effective. This is the same with cultivating our spiritual growth and squelching our sins.
Weeds flourish in unhealthy soils and so one of the principles of controlling weeds in an organic garden is to amend the soil so that it is full of nutrients that our cultivars need. This means adding compost and replacing minerals. For us this means nourishing ourselves with the Word of God. When we consume the Gospel we supply our spiritual being with the energy it needs to be sustained and grow. See The Bible as Our Spiritual Food more on this topic.
Also, as Pastor Jack wrote in his most recent blog article, “The Abundant Life”, our relationship with Jesus is what will ultimately help us to have a full and fruitful life and one step (certainly not the only step) to that relationship is through reading the Gospel.
A second method of weed control is to plan your garden so that there are no empty spaces where weeds can take over. Weeds are opportunistic, as is sin. Sin finds its way into our lives to try to fill the spaces that feel empty. When we feel empty we tend to try to fill that space with things like drugs, alcohol, food, or other addictions and harmful habits. Instead we can fill the empty spaces with the Holy Spirit. In Ephesians 5:18, Paul wrote: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”
I have also found that by being surrounded by others who exemplify the traits of the Holy Spirit, one is able to fill in the empty places that may otherwise be filled with vices. Healthy relationships with other people give us support to lean on when the winds try to blow us over. They give us shade when the heat is too much to bear. And they nurture and water our souls when we become wilted and parched.
The last component to a preventing weeds in our healthy garden is mulching. Mulching provides a covering for the soil to prevent moisture and soil loss and keeps weeds at bay.
God too provides us a covering.
Psalm 91:1, 4 1 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
The Lord protects us and nurtures us as long as we are open to being cultivated. It’s when we are able to let Him grow us that we will bloom into something truly beautiful.
In Galatians 5:22, 23, 24, Paul explains, “When the Holy Spirit controls our lives He will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control….” “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”
I love when the fruits of our labor provides us with a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetable and I love it when I can see the Fruits of the Spirit being cultivated within me. I see why it all started in a garden.
What will you grow this year?