But no matter how hard I try to garden, like everyone else I continually fight with weeds. I don't mind pulling the ugly, thorny things out of the flower patch, but I always hesitate to remove the grass that has worked it's way past the barriers. It has fought so hard to get there and it is often the greenest, strongest grass in the yard. Why does it grow so well here and not on the other side of the barrier?
At first I thought it must be out to get me...that the grass thought out what it could do to be most annoying and then set out with a plan to take over these small plots I tried so hard to preserve. Hmmm...I don't remember learning about brains and evil intent of plants in my botany class.
After thinking about this for a while (yes, I know I need to get a life)it hit me -- the garden plots get much more attention in the way of loosened soil, fertilizer, and moisture protecting mulch. Grass will naturally grow best in those areas that are well prepared than in areas that are ignored. But when a large clump has grown it actually removes a big chunk of the garden dirt when you pull the grass out by the roots. The only way I can avoid this is to check the garden frequently and remove any small sprout of grass I see.
Sin acts in much the same way. It may sprout up and look really nice for a time in our lives. We can even pretend that it's growth is admirable and we can hesitate to remove. But without immediate attention it's roots will take over and it will be difficult to remove without taking a lot of good soil with the roots. It leaves a gaping hole in our lives that must be repaired.
The only way I can avoid sin is to examine my heart with God's help each day and remove any hint that sin is moving in. Then all that remains are the 'flowers' of my life -- the fruit of God's Spirit.
Galatians 5:16 - 25
16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (NIV)