Weeds are never there, and then suddenly when you have a good look, the place is overrun with them. Then when you have pulled them all out, with great effort and sweat; you wait a while and when you look again, the garden is overrun with them! Again! They choke out any of the good plants, steal all the sunshine and dominate the landscape.
Worry and anxiety (the weeds) work like that. You are OK for a while, then suddenly it seems like your life is just full of threats, potential problems, things that go wrong, relationships that are breaking etc. Sometimes just the practicalities of day-to-day life can be overwhelming, trying to fit everything into a very limited day. That is a weed. We live in a world that always emphasizes the accumulation of stuff, wealth, pleasure etc. and at times we can be so focused on the “rat-race-of-success”, or the “getting-of-what-we-want”, that it overwhelms our entire existence and purpose in life. That is also a weed.
Weeds steal the sunshine of life. They take away our peace.
In the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4:3-8: Jesus describes that worry and anxiety; grow up in our hearts to strangle the truth before it has had a chance to grow in your life.
Mark 4: 18-19 “Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
It is not that we started out worrying and being anxious, or chasing the things we desire: it is just that over time, these things become bigger and bigger in our lives, just like a weed. We all experience cares, troubles, testing, temptation, trials, anxiety in our lives, and when these are focused on and nursed in our hearts, they do grow up and then the truth that we learnt from our bible study, or memorized in our hearts, or learnt at church seems to shrink in our hearts. There is no space in our mind to meditate on the truth of God, because the weeds have taken over our thought patterns, our conversation, our spiritual garden.
Weeding is the natural answer. The weeds suffocate any application of God’s truth and promises in your life, in our worry, pursuit and desires, we forget the promises of God, that He is Sovereign and in Control. We worry and grow our weeds, instead of praying and applying truth (pulling out the weeds) to our lives on a regular basis.
Prayer is like weeding, it takes effort and the job is never done.
Dealing with the thoughts that we have, takes effort. Every one of these thoughts, “in every situation,” needs to be presented to God in our prayer requests.” Phil 4:6
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
No wonder Paul tells us to “Pray continually.” (1 Thessalonian 5:16). Day-to-day life is difficult and needs prayer. Taking our fears and anxieties to God about provision, promotion, desires, success, relationships etc. requires prayer. We need to present our requests to God, regularly, everyday, at any moment when the weed of anxiety, worry or fear starts to grow in our hearts. Prayer is weeding.
Then of course there is weed killer, which when applied correctly it says on the bottle, will get rid of all types of weeds. We, as believers have the best weed killer. See weeds often have their roots built into the fear in our hearts. Everyone knows that if you do not pull out the roots of the weed, the weed will continue growing. Killing off any roots with weed killer is a good spiritual gardening principle. It is preventative of weeds establishing in our fear.
1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Growing in our understanding and experiencing the perfect love of Jesus in our lives is the weed killer we need to eliminate any weeds of life becoming established in our fear. Fear is a natural tendency of our hearts, but we do not have to allow anxiety and worry to grow up out of that fear. We often become afraid and worried because our imagination gets going and we know there will be suffering (punishment) coming our way. Or we feel we deserve our circumstances or “prison” that we are sitting in. But the perfect love of Jesus came and died on the cross for us, so that we no longer deserve punishment. Instead we can now have an abundant life (John 10:10) and live and thrive as the children of God (1 John 3:1).
Whenever I find myself overwhelmed with fear and worry, I ask myself: “What part of God’s perfect love towards me am I forgetting?” It is instant weed killer. When we “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector” (Hebrews 12:2) of our faith, our garden is established to be weed free. He becomes our focus and not what we are fearful about.
When our garden is weed free and regularly weeded, we create an environment for truth to take root in our lives so that we can grow spiritually and go on to bear much spiritual fruit.
- What is a weed in your thought life? Very often it is our day to day worries, but some of us have weed thoughts that grow deep into our psyche, like: I am not good enough, everyone is against me, I am not lovable, that generate huge amounts of stress and anxiety in our lives.
- Can you identify the gradual growing of weeds in your mind over time? Weeds that imitate real plants are the same as lies that imitate the truth in our lives. The longer we ignore them, the stronger they grow and eventually block out all the sunshine in our lives, so that the truth that is there is never allowed to come to light. Can you think of lies that you entertain that contradict what scripture says?
- To what extent are you praying (weeding) everyday? Especially about the things that occupy your mind on a day to day basis? Sometimes on a day where the weeds are winning in my mind, I find it useful to write a letter to God. While doing this I remind myself that He is not surprised by anything happening in my life, so I don’t have to go about the process of telling him about it. So I may a quick list of the “agenda” so to speak, and then systematically write down what He would say to me if I was sitting across from Him about that matter. What would He remind me of, what would He say to me?
- We forget that we are loved by God, the apple of His eye and we are quick to doubt His love for us! I don’t believe any person who says they never wonder if God loves them, because I know that we all think of God’s love like human love and that, dear friend, is never reliable. But His love is like nothing we have ever experienced and the more grounded and rooted we are in our understanding of His love for us, the easier it is to recognise weeds growing in our garden. The more we know and rely on the love He has for us, the more weed free we become. Take some time to write down facts about God’s love for you and where possible write the corresponding verse that reflects that truth about His love. I personally have this list written in a book for the days that I forget.
Thank you, Father, for your love. Because of my relationship with Jesus and His perfect sacrifice on the cross, I can know and rely on this love that you have for me, trusting that You are always working for the good of those who love You and are called Your children. Help me to recognize thoughts and thought patterns that are growing up in my life and drowning out the application of truth in my heart. Help me to pray about it and take every thought captive by remembering the truth of your Word. Thank you that You love me and are always at work in my life.
Next: Guarding your Spiritual Garden
Previous: Water Your Spiritual Garden
Pray About Everything
When You Worry