Digging up weeds

“Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.”
Matthew 15:13 NIV

There is a small garden in front of my house that goes around my front porch. I am not a gardener by any stretch of the term, so this bed has grown over with weeds and perennials that try to squeeze in between the vines. Considering this is the first thing someone sees when visiting my house, it is not a grand first impression.  I asked my mother for advice and she suggested replacing the whole garden with one kind of tree or shrub that I could take care of and that would make my yard look more uniform and appealing. Thankfully, when I visited her last fall she gave me some maidenhair grass from her own garden that I could take home and plant in my own.

The hard part came when I got home and had to clear all of the weeds, vines, and assorted perennials out of the ground. As I worked down in the soil with a shovel to pull out more and more roots that were longer and deeper than I had initially suspected, I chuckled and compared this to the work of pulling out the old roots of sin in our hearts. Just as there is no room for the new healthy grasses in my garden if I don’t pull out the old weeds, there is no room for God in our hearts if we don’t get rid of the old habits in our lives.

In Matthew 15:13 NIV, Jesus said “every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots.” He was referring to the Pharisees that were preaching a misguided message, but we can apply this illustration to our own lives by pulling up every root that does not glorify God. In John 15:2 NIV, Jesus explained that “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”

If I hadn’t cleared out the old weeds before I planted the new grasses, they wouldn’t have had a chance to grow. Digging deep old sins out of the soil is hard sweaty work but the goal is becoming more like God. In Luke 8:7-8 NIV, during the parable of the sower, Jesus said “other seed fell among the thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” It takes good soil (or a clean heart) to grow more with God than we could ever accomplish ourselves.

In Christ,

Erin Tabor

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