I love to garden. It is one of those things I do that I find very relaxing. It is naturally more fun to plant, water and enjoy the fruits of my labour but there are times when the work of maintaining is much more difficult. God reminded me this weekend how much my life is like that of my garden. If I want to enjoy the blessings of beautiful flowers or vegetables and fruits I have to get rid of all the weeds of sin.
When I came to Christ at a young age I tried to live a life that was in obedience. I was very regimented and lived too much under the law and missed out on the true message of grace. I still felt I had to earn my salvation way deep down in the depths of my heart. Over time it became a huge struggle because the one thing that was really missing was the joy that God gives when we learn to rest in Him and in what Christ really did for us. I was constantly trying to stay in God’s good graces, not realizing it is impossible to do so by my own efforts. Eventually I burnt out somewhat and gave in to compromising as I didn’t feel I could keep up with all the demands I thought God was putting on me. It was really demands that I put on myself trying to earn a feeling of belonging… Sadly I wasted a lot of years doing this.
This lead to compromised living. Never turning away from God but also NOT living in obedience.. I began to think, what was the point when I could never really measure up? During those years I allowed a lot of weeds back into my garden. Bad habits, bad attitudes, bad behaviours and selfishness. Over the last several months God has been showing me the various weeds I need to pull up! There are plenty and I am so grateful that He is a God of mercy and didn’t and won’t give up on me.
Psalm 103:8 NIV The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
I am so glad He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love! He longs for us to be in intimate fellowship with Him and though He loves us enough to accept us just as we are when we cry out to Him, He also loves us enough to not leave us there!! I can’t get back wasted years but I can be sure from this day on to serve Him out of love and not duty. To accept His mercy and grace and not walk in condemnation.
2 Peter 3:9 NIVThe Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
So as I tend to my garden I am sure God will continually show me weeds that I need to uproot. It is not my favourite thing to do but it is necessary if I want to walk closer to Him. Some weeds look like proper plants and it takes discernment from God to see that they actually are weeds. I know I have done or said things that at the time seemed harmless but in my quiet time with God, He has shown me that my heart was not right in doing or saying what I did and that I need to bring it before Him. Some weeds look innocuous yet they have roots that go deep down into the soil of our hearts and if left, will strangle out the good surrounding plants. These spiritual weeds act like poison in our hearts and cause us to grow cold towards others or God if left unattended. I find that as God reveals these weeds in my life and as I begin to lay them at His feet and ask for change He is faithful and giving me the grace to change. Not in my own strength but through the Spirit He humbles and strengthens me in His love.
As Christians, we never arrive until we meet face to face with Jesus. Ours is a journey of growth. We will make mistakes, we will stumble, we will obtain war wounds but thankfully we have a Father that loves us and will help us get back on track as we seek Him. We have a Savior that died on our behalf so that we would have legal rights to come before God. Not in our own merit but because of the price He paid.