It’s what everyone hates to return home to face—weeds. After being away on vacation, weeds had popped up everywhere. When I stay on top of them, the weeding process isn’t too tedious, but when I neglect the garden for as little as a week, they spread and strengthen, taking root deep into the soil. Eventually, the weeds will choke out the good plants, causing them to wither and die.
Even though we had a great vacation, it felt good to get back. While away, I got away from my routine. I wasn’t consistent in my devotionals or prayer time. By the end of the week, I not only was missing God, but I was missing myself. Without a daily reminder of who I serve, there was a slow dwindling of the fruits of the spirit in my life, love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control. I didn’t like how quickly the weeds of selfishness, impatience, anger, and lack of self-control (because calories don’t count on vacation) popped up in the cracks of my spiritual armor.
Francis Chan in his book Crazy Love made what I thought was a strange suggestion. He said to try to go a week without praying or talking to God. My first reaction was, “How can a pastor be telling people not to pray?” But, then I thought about it. Could I go a week without praying? Sure.
I only made it a few days. I felt restless. I grew impatient with people and was on edge. It didn’t take long for old bad habits to crop back up. I lost a sense of purpose and direction. Loneliness swept over me because I couldn’t turn to God and say, “Look at that gorgeous sunset. No artist on earth can capture color the way your hand does God.” Or, “My heart isn’t right with this person. I need You to remind me of your grace because I want to strangle them right now.” Or, “Please be with my friend who’s hurting right now. Comfort them and help them to absorb some of your strength.”
I missed Him.
Not only do our flower beds need tending and weeding, but we also need spiritual tending and weeding. A daily watering of our faith and feeding of our spiritual muscle. If we don’t constantly press into Jesus, seeds of anger, busyness, and unforgiveness will take hold. Those bitter roots will strengthen and dig deep into the cracks of our hearts. 2 Corinthian 10:5 says, “Take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” By subjecting every thought to a God filter, it’s like pulling the weeds when they are still tender little shoots. When those negative thoughts first pop into your head, cut them off at the root. Remind yourself of God’s plans for you and who He says you are.
Fertilize the fruits of the spirit until they crowd out the weeds.
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