We finally had a Saturday without rain with temperatures above 60 degrees. You know what that means? Yardwork! And you know what yardwork means as Spring approaches? Weeds. And guess who I think of ? That’s right .. Adam. Let me explain.

20160220_114322Welcome to my world. It’s probably in your world, too. Weeds. Lots and lots of weeds. Especially at the end of winter, after months of cold, snow and rain. Where in the world do weeds come from in the first place?

Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: ‘Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:17-19

That’s where weeds come from .. the ground is cursed for Adam’s sake. We get thorns, thistles, weeds and all kinds of other challenges in our yards and gardens throughout the year. Pulling them takes time and toil, but we do it because we don’t want our yards and gardens overrun with weeds. And I must tell you that if you don’t address the weed problem early in the year, it will become a much bigger problem later. It’s best to take a deep breath, grab the shovel and get to work.

There’s also an important spiritual element that we must not miss. I don’t believe God cursed the ground that brought forth weeds, thorns and thistles to be mean to humans. I believe everything God does is toward His ultimate purpose for our lives – to conform us to the image of Christ.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30

Physical weeds, thorns and thistles are a reminder that we have “spiritual” weeds, thorns and thistles to remove from our lives as well. Do a search for weeds in the Bible (including thorns and thistles) and you’ll find many verses where they are mentioned – always in negative terms. Here are some examples for reflection –

I went by the field of the lazy manAnd by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down. When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; So shall your poverty come like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.” Proverbs 24:30-34

That they may successfully do evil with both hands—The prince asks for gifts, The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together. The best of them is like a brier; The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge; The day of your watchman and your punishment comes; Now shall be their perplexity.”Micah 7:3-4

“They speak mere words, With worthless oaths they make covenants; And judgment sprouts like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.” Hosea 10:4 (NASB)

For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:44-45

Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them … Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.” Matthew 13:3-7, 22

20160220_114524Even as we need to continually clear our yards and gardens of weeds, so we must continually clear our hearts and minds of those things that separate us from God’s purpose for our lives – being conformed to the image of Christ.

What do we get when we pull all the weeds in our yards and gardens? We see the beauty of grass, plants and flowers.

What do we get when we pull all the weeds in our  hearts and minds? We see the beauty of Jesus Christ in our lives.

Where does that begin? “… confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10) That’s what Jesus called receiving “seed on the good ground” –

“… he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”Matthew 13:23

Once you “hear” the Gospel of Christ and “understand” it and “confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” God does everything leading us to salvation. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) So, what part do you play after God saves you?

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1

Context is important here. God calls on us to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” What is the context of “Therefore, having these promises, beloved”?

O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open. Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.’ ‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:11-18

God wants us to participate in a process of pulling spiritual “weeds” from our lives; cleansing ourselves from “all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” The context is clear. We are the temple of the living God and we need to clear it of anything that would come between us and God’s purpose for our lives – to be conformed to the image of Christ.

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“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”