Black from dirt and polish chipped, my fingers were swollen, sore, and stiff. Even after three ibuprofen I could barely raise my arms. I felt as though I’d spent hours lifting free weights and not a handful of hours of yard work. Despite the aches and pains, there is something cathartic about a little manual labor, getting your hands dirty, and a little yard clean up on a breezy fall day.
I spent most of the weekend crawling around on my knees and pulling weeds from the landscaping. In the places where there is mulch they came up easily – roots and all. But, in the areas crowded with decorative rocks and shrubs the weeds were much harder to remove. Even with gloves on, my fingers grew dirty and sore from moving stones to ensure I could get all of the weed pulled up, including the roots. I know that if I just pull the greenery I will have to revisit in the spot in days. So, I dig to get to the root.
This summer started off very hot and after a particularly warm couple of weeks, I remember walking along our front beds and being shocked by the number of “baby” weeds sprouting amongst the rocks.Pulling weeds is a perfect metaphor for dealing with the sin in our life. Sin, like weeds on a hot summer day, thrives in the most inhospitable landscapes. Click To Tweet
Sometimes sin appears unexpectedly. However, I think more often than not, the truth is that the business of the day-to-day leaves us like bees, quickly moving from one plant to the next. The speed of life makes it difficult to slow long enough to identify and respond to the sin just starting to take root. But, if we just pluck at what’s visible above ground, we allow the root to grow deeper and deeper, strengthening it’s hold by expanding and infiltrating the surrounding areas.When dealing with sin in our lives, we shouldn't focus all our efforts on what is seen. There is always a heart issue at the root of our sin. #HowIsYourHeart Click To Tweet
Time to Get Your Hands Dirty
If you’re ready to do a little weeding of your own, here are 3 tips to help identify and root out the sin that may be taking hold in your life.
- Pray that God would reveal to you areas of sin in your life. Psalm 139|23-24 provides a great example. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.”
- Reach out to a friend or accountability partner. We were not created to do this life alone. We were created to live in community with one another. Vulnerability is difficult; however, I believe God rewards our humility as well as transparency as we live out our faith together.
- Take action. It is not enough to merely know the areas where sin has a stronghold in our life. Just like caring for my landscaping – it’s great that I can see a weed and identify it as such, but if I do nothing to remove it, that knowledge does me no good. So, spend time in God’s word, surround yourself with other Christ followers that will encourage you to address these areas, change your decision making and setup guard rails to protect you from falling back into old patterns of behavior.
Just as my yard and landscaping are neither the first nor last to be infiltrated with weeds, the same is also true for both of us when it comes to the sin in our lives. The apostle Paul says it clearly in the book of Romans:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Maybe today is the day you ask God to help you with your own cleanup project.