By Jennifer Slattery –
Last August our family went on a week-long vacation. We came back to a dead, bone-dry lawn. Turns out, we’d blown the fuse connected to our automatic sprinkler system. Apparently, there hadn’t been enough rain to keep our grass alive. Unfortunately, the weeds thrived, taking over our yard.
I spent the next afternoon tearing through the dead grass to reveal the soft dirt beneath, humbled by how closely the yard paralleled my spiritual life. Without the deliberate watering of our sprinkler, our grass had 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, extended their roots deep within the soil, devouring any drop of water that fell. As the grass died, the weeds grew stronger.
All for lack of water. In our absence, the grass was 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 God never 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 and discontent. Like our 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 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.
“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives” (Galatians 5:16-25).
Jesus promised if we abide in Him, He will abide in us. When we stand in the presence of God, meditate on His holy Word, and surrender to His limitless love, the weeds die. And in their place sprouts love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, and self-control.