These past few weeks I’ve been spending quite a bit of time hunched over in our overgrown backyard pulling weeds. Elizabeth for the most part waters the weeds, plays in her water bucket and helps “dig” with her shovel. We don’t last long, just an hour or so, and some days we are out there bright and early and others after dinner.
Today was the first time I had been out in about a week and I sighed when my eyes hit the weed patch. All my work in previous weeks was gone and in it’s place weeds had taken over every spare inch of dirt. And it got me thinking.
About my sin and how similar it is to weeds. Because stooping in our backyard, 6 months pregnant, while not difficult, is energy sapping. And just taking one day off leaves room for weeds to sprout back up. Some have roots deep down beneath the surface of the soil, requiring extra toil to remove and others pop out with very little effort.
For me, that root of sin that always needs pruning is my tongue. For too long I let my tongue loose and as a result of my youth there have been consequences. Broken relationships and friendships, really. And the initial toil to tame my tongue and my anger was enormous, years really, to get things to a point where I can most often hold things in. Like a garden bed, carefully worked and pruned to keep the weeds out.
And yet, my tongue and my anger need constant pruning, like the weeds in our backyard. I cannot go gallivanting for long…for in due course my tongue is sure to err. Smart remarks or disdainful looks. Quick anger with our girl and callous words for those around me.
As I look around our yard, and I pulled the weeds, constant effort and constant reward, I was reminded of the great reward that comes as we fight our sin. As I put the effort in, day in and day out, pruning my words and working towards patience, I’m rewarded most often. And when things are let loose, there is much work to be done, again and again, to get at the root.
I’m thankful for the tangible ways the Lord uses the world around us to teach us about His ways and His desires. There’s weed repellent for our sin in the blood of Jesus but there’s also constant toil to get at the root, to pull off the chaff, and to grow. Sanctification, growing more like Him, in beauty and grace.
Getting my hands dirty never felt so fulfilling.