We have a little vegetable garden in our back yard. Every spring, we plant a new crop in hopes that maybe this year, our garden will yield delicious vegetables. We rarely meet with much success. Even when the veggies do grow, they are so bitter they are almost inedible. You might be asking why we even bother with planting a garden when it rarely turns out for us. The answer to that question is that it is not about the vegetables…at all. It is about the time I get to spend in the sunshine with my girls and the talks that we have around those three little garden boxes. You see, every spring without fail, the first thing we have to do is remove tons of weeds from our garden. And every year, since my oldest was three, I ask the following question: Do you remember when we planted all of these weeds? They always pause and think it over and then answer, “No!” I reply, “That is right. In order to have a garden full of weeds, we need to do nothing at all. They will grow and take over on their own. They are already in the dirt.” Then I will ask them another question. “If we do not plant tomatoes, or peppers, or carrots, will they appear and grow on their own?” Again, they will reply, “No. We have to plant the things that we want to grow in our garden.” And every year I tell them, “Girls, these weeds are exactly like sin. These gardens are a little picture of our own hearts. Like our garden full of weeds, we come absolutely laced through and through with sin. It is our very nature. We will effortlessly produce a harvest of sin and death. Without the intervention of a Gardener, that will be the total yield of our lives. Weeds. But when He intervenes, when He plants in us the Seed of His Word and His Life, real fruit begins to grow. We cannot produce this on our own. That seed comes from outside of us, but once it has been planted, we cultivate it. We water it. We rip out the weeds that would love to choke it out. We allow the Spirit to get to the very root and remove the spiritual weeds that would keep us from producing the fruit that He saved us for.”
Throughout the spring and summer, we will go out to that little garden again and again. We will have that conversation again and again. We will water those little plants. We will pull out all of the new weeds that creep in. I will show them just how big the roots can be for some relatively small weeds. We will talk about the ripping the weed off at the surface versus removing the entire root system and what the difference is. The life lessons and spiritual metaphors from gardening are endless.
By the time fall comes around, we will have had many talks about our hearts, sin and spiritual fruit. And as I clear out the garden in the fall, I will pray one more time, that my girls will remember these moments. I will pray that they will learn to cultivate their own little hearts before God. There is nothing that matters more than the condition of the precious garden of their hearts.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23
*My blogs are written with the assumption that they are being read primarily by Christians. If you want to know more about what it means to be a Christian or about the gospel of Jesus Christ, click the link here:The Gospel