I was driving home from the office recently when something caught my eye. I was winding around the church parking lot when I looked out my car window and noticed it. I saw a large, broad, vibrant, and rich, green weed. The presence of weeds is not unusual, but this one was growing right in the middle of the paved parking lot. With nothing but asphalt and concrete all around, this weed somehow managed to emerge from a crack in the pavement and appeared to be flourishing just fine!
I am a yard guy. I enjoy fertilizing my lawn, and typically mow every five days during the summer. I like to drive home from a hard day's work and see a lawn that always looks like it has just been mowed. I get frustrated when, despite my meticulous work and constant tenaciousness, a patch of my yard looks bare. It seems there are several areas each summer where grass just will not spread.
All of this brings me back to the pesky weed in the picture. Why is it that grass often will not grow even where it is pampered, yet weeds seem to emerge independently, without a single effort to make it so?
It all reminds me a bit of real life. It is much harder to cultivate godliness than it is to see sin sprout. You do not have to teach a child to be selfish. No one has to explain to a teenager how to be insecure. You never have to show an adult how to be envious. It seems these struggles are continually looking for any place at all to rear their ugly head. The lush grass of godliness demands constant vigilance, while the pesky weeds of sin seem to require no work at all.
Ephesians 4:27 warns us to "give no opportunity to the devil." The devil "prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). He is continuously looking for the smallest crack in your godliness to cause the weeds of desire to give birth to sin. It is undoubtedly true that we are enticed by our own evil desires (James 1:14), but at the same time, we have an enemy who never gives up on trying to destroy our lives, and never ceases to strive to entice us to sin.
Just as weeds grow and spread more quickly than the grass, so, if we are not careful, sin will spread more rapidly than our holiness. To see sin grow and flourish, you do not need to do anything. All you have to do is literally, nothing. Sin will sprout on its own and soon take over the entire garden of your life.
Holiness, on the other hand, is the result of continual dedication to the things of God. We must seek the Lord in His Word and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Every believer should daily die to self, and embrace the will of the One who loves us.
Wherever you see the weeds of sin showing themselves in your life, confess them to the Lord and ask the Spirit of God to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. No gardener simply wakes up and has an immaculate garden. No lawn is beautiful and weed-free without substantial work. In the same way, no one develops holiness on accident. It is the result of the pursuit of Christ, submission to the Spirit, and a constant battle to give no opportunity to the devil.
The next time you are frustrated by a thin patch of grass in your lawn, or by the existence of a random weed growing in your driveway, be reminded that godliness takes time and devotion. Use such an occasion to cause you to evaluate your own life and see if there are any "weeds" you are tolerating in your life. Then, remove those pesky sins through confession as you trust the Lord to continue the good work in you that He has begun.
"Anchored in Hope" is a book Michael has written that contains forty daily devotionals. Whether you are a new Christian or a seasoned believer, these daily readings will strengthen your faith as they point you to Christ. To order your copy, click here. To request prayer, please click here.