One summer, while living in New England, I decided to be a gardener. I did not believe it could be that hard, so I spent two days clearing out the beds, pulling weeds, and cutting down bushes. I then would water my garden, just waiting for the flowers to grow. Soon I had yellow flowers everywhere, and I was so proud. Except after a few days, my beautiful flowers were shriveling up. Each day more and more were dying, and I soon found out I had a bunny sneaking in and eating them. I scratched the idea of my yellow flowers and started again. I was proud of my tall garden and watched it grow and grow. My mom came to visit, and I was quick to show her my garden, and I soon found out that weeds filled my beautiful garden. I failed to protect my garden from the weeds, and they quickly overgrew it. The sad part is I did not even know the difference between the weed and the plant in my garden.
In the same way, we must protect ourselves daily in a biblical sense. If we see ourselves as a garden, we must defend all aspects of our lives not to let the weeds creep into it. I was watering my garden continuously, but I failed to protect my garden from the weeds that were creeping in. In the end, my garden that could have been pure was defiled because of my lack of awareness of what was creeping in.
We will be tempted, we will have moments of weakness, and what better way than to fight those temptations than with the Word of God.
We all sin daily. In an instant, we let our guard down, and we act out in anger, or we act out a thought that we should have bounced out of our mind. We continually need to be tending to our hearts and minds to protect them from the sin that can creep in. I believe there are a few ways that we can do this:
Study the Word
This might seem like an obvious answer, but it is one that we must not overlook. You are a theologian. The question is, are you a good or bad one? We must study scripture, more than that, we should desire it. Exploring the story of redemption helps us prepare our minds and hearts from sin. We cannot serve two masters, and as we fill our minds and hearts with scripture, it will be easier to choose Christ daily. Studying the Word of God helps us set our minds on Christ rather than our sinful desires. Studying God’s Word is a way to prepare. Because of my lack of preparation, I failed in tending my garden. I did not learn about the flowers, and what they needed, I did not study about the area I was in, and I did not make myself aware of the potential weeds that could creep in. the Word of God should be the foundation for our life for the Gospel changes everything.
I remember my first semester in seminary; I was told that I was going to stand in front of the class and recite verses of my choice on a specific topic at the end of the semester. I spent many nights memorizing scripture for my class and what I did not realize at that moment was the verses I was busily reciting for a grade were ministering to my own heart. Moments of anxiety would creep in, and a verse would pop into my head that would set my mind back on Christ. Psalms 119:11 says, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” We should seek to memorize scripture not to boast upon others for our ability to do so but to prepare our minds for the battle that will come. We will be tempted, we will have moments of weakness, and what better way than to fight those temptations than with the Word of God.
We need to actively surround ourselves with a body of believers who can encourage us, correct us, and love us through the Gospel.
I am a young mom with three kids. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to step back and pray to the Lord for strength in moments of anger or frustration. You can feel the anger and frustration creeping in as you walk in on your boys rolling out toilet paper all over the bathroom floor. You feel agitated as you try to finish folding the laundry, but your son sees it as a mountain to climb and jump off. These moments of weakness are simple examples of how vitally important our prayer life is. We can snap in an instant. We can quickly produce sinful emotions because we are selfish beings. Prayer is our way of constant communication with God and where we can cry out for strength and help. When I am weak, He is strong. He is our foundation and where our strength lies. I can cry out to God at any moment of the day, asking for strength.
Rely on other Believers
If my mom had not told me, I would have gone the rest of the summer watering my garden full of weeds. I had no idea that my garden was full of weeds until she told me. We spent the next few days googling pictures of weeds, identifying the weeds, and pulling them out together. On her vacation, she took the time to get dirty in my garden and helped me pull up my weeds.
In the same way, we need good friends who are willing to get in the dirtiness of our life with us. We need friends who will point out our weaknesses or things that have crept into our life. We need friends who are willing to walk through the complicated processes of removing our weeds. This is where the importance of the local church comes in. We need to actively surround ourselves with a body of believers who can encourage us, correct us, and love us through the Gospel.
My garden that year was a failure. I had not adequately prepared myself for the work it takes to tend to a garden. I thought my simple moments each day of watering my garden would be good enough for a summer filled with a beautiful garden. In the same way, we must not treat our lives like this. Not prioritizing our relationship with Christ each day can lead us to a life full of weeds. We should crave the Word of God and communication with believers daily. I would challenge you to read the Word of God each day, talk to other believers about what you are learning, pray each day, and see how your garden grows. Friends, let us take time to tend to our spiritual gardens and prepare ourselves for the weeds that could come.
Soli Deo Gloria,
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