The last few weeks I noticed my yard was starting to turn green in places. While this is often a welcome sight, it was most disturbing today. Each green patch was a collection of weeds trying to get an early start on conquering my yard. I could not do anything about it immediately because we had several rainy days that corresponded with my days off. When I could finally work in the yard, the green patches had grown larger. As I was plucking some weeds by hand and planning chemical warfare against the rest, I realized how similar this was to keeping ourselves pure.
Ideally, we would all like a beautiful lawn with a rich growth of lush green grass. Most contractors lay sod when they build a house so we often start with a perfect yard. After time wind, bugs, and the visiting neighborhood dogs bring weed seeds into our yard where they can take root and, if unchecked, flourish. What amazes me is that one must spend money and time watering and fertilizing the grass to make it grow strong but weeds seem to thrive on negligence.
The weeds in our lives follow a similar pattern. They start small. We have a few problems here and there but it does not appear to be serious. We may tell the occasional lie or filthy joke, curse, or have lustful thoughts. Of course, we do not intend for it to develop into a serious problem; just an infrequent indulgence. However, as we let these sins take root, they will grow.
If we do not strive to eliminate the sinful thoughts and actions, they will spread quickly. Sin breeds sin. In our experience, we often find it is easier to commit a sin a second time than it was the first time. The first time we face a great temptation, we are often mindful of the spiritual consequences and hear the lessons of parents, preachers, and teachers echoing through our minds. Yet when we sin—and are not struck by lightning—we become more confident in sinning again. Soon we feel we can hide our sin from others very well and that it is not really hurting us. Like those annoying weeds, sin soon has spread in our hearts.
The grass cannot grow where the weeds dominate. When sin grows in our heart, it displaces good. As James says, “Can a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?” James 3:11. Jesus condemned the church in Laodicea for being lukewarm, Revelation 3:15-16. We must be committed to righteousness and determine not to let sin take hold in our lives. As the weeds take the nutrients from the grass, so sin saps the spiritual strength out of our life. We must not “falter between two opinions,” 1 Kings 18:21.
One sobering lesson we must remember is that it is tougher to get rid of weeds when they are prevalent in the yard. It takes expensive chemicals and extensive labor to get rid of the intruders. When sin becomes habit, it is equally hard to eliminate it. Some people struggle for years to eradicate sins that have become integral parts of their lives. Always remember, it is easier to overcome temptation than to purge a bad habit. Of course, God will help us if we ask.
Be diligent, vigilant, and thorough in rooting out sin, and your life, like a beautifully manicured lawn, will be organized, peaceful, and fulfilling.