One of the things we learned from our gardening experience was, the weeds growing between our raised beds do not respond well to being ignored. They flourished while we neglected them. Our efforts were concentrated on growing good stuff in the beds and the ‘jungle’ of weeds worked hard to reassert their control over the ground. We were able to win the battle on the ground we had trucked in to fill our beds but the best we could manage was to occasionally hack down the weeds, outside them, so you could see our beds in their midst. It was not an attractive proposition.
This is a picture of what ‘discipleship’ can look like. A person comes to faith and is open to receiving a whole new set of truths. Like the raised beds with the newly trucked in soil we tend this new life. All too often we ignore the ‘weeds’ of the past, concentrating solely on the exciting New Life. Paying attention to nurturing and caring for this new life is, of course, of primary importance, but we neglect the ‘weeds’ at our peril.
The call to New Life comes with the invitation to repent. “Repent” is not the most popular word in our church lexicon, it has been used badly and badly misused in the past, but it is a biblical essential for a thriving new life. We are invited not just to come into a relationship with Jesus but we are called to turn from the unhealthy ways we have been relating to our world and ourselves. This is a necessary and ongoing step to healthy spiritual growth.
One thing that our gardening experience has taught us is that besides planting we need to ‘tear up’. We plant in hope and we pull weeds relentlessly! The hardest of weeds only come out as we dig and kneel and pull. The best of our human efforts though make only temporary and cosmetic differences. We realised that if we were going to make any real difference we needed a better method. By ourselves we only won temporary victories and sore backs.
This year after we planted we began to lay landscape fabric between rows and cover it with mulch. This covering deprives the weeds of light and they will not flourish. This was an expensive and back aching process but now the covering will accomplish what we could not. We will need to be vigilant about weeds and deal with them right away but we have high hopes for a victory that will allow us to concentrate on our garden beds.
The weeds of our lives need to be dealt with! They are too deeply rooted and too numerous for us to manage alone (or else we would have done it) we need the power of God and we need them to be covered by the blood of Christ. Otherwise even though we have ‘New Life’ we live unattractive and unfruitful lives. It is no wonder that the lost and hurting world does not beat a path to our door, if the beauty of Christ cannot be seen in us, because of our ‘weeds’.