My spouse took a few days off last week for a stay home vacation. His work requires that he travel often so his time at home and on "the ranch" are very limited. He posted thoughts about weeds in the pasture last week (check out his blog at www.panhandlepoet.blogspot.com). In the endeavor that we began when we moved to northeast Texas last year, conservation is very important to us. One of the previous posts was about the desire to maintain the pasture, water, and wooded areas for the wildlife that is present. In the effort to maintain the pasture, weeds have to be dealt with on a regular basis. There are several that are considered "invader species" and are not palatable to the cattle or the wildlife. Those plants need to be eliminated as they utilize nutrients from the soil and water that is needed for the grass and desirable plants. However, we work very hard to limit the use of chemicals and pesticides on the pasture, preferring to take care of the issue with manual labor (some days I would be more willing to use chemical applications on some of the weeds! Those 90+ degree days and 80 - 90% humidity are killers). So we take a hoe and we start the process.
He works much harder at it than I do and is able to accomplish more weed control. However, I took up the hoe this week and went to work on one of the areas that had a lot of wooly croton (goatweeds) growing up in it. As I went through methodically hacking the weeds down, it made me think about my spiritual life. Where the weeds are coming up, there actually are more species that crop up around the ones I am trying to control. The croton plants get bigger and the other species begin to come up too, choking out the grass that we desperately want to maintain for grazing. Some of those stems were as big or bigger than a man's thumb and were really tough to chop. The small ones were really easy and I could go through a large area quickly. The large ones were a major PAIN and took more time and a lot more effort to chop them down.
When I allow any sin to come into my life, no matter how small or insignificant it may appear, it can grow quickly if allowed to remain. It will grow and begin to choke out the good things-time with God, spending time in His Word, spending time with fellow believers. It will get bigger and bigger and allow other sins to come in and begin to grow. It will drown out the voice calling me back to the One who knows me best and wants the best for me. When I realize what has happened and I want the sin gone, God will help me, but it will not be an easy task. Those big, thick trunks are hard to chop down and if I leave even one small portion attached to the root, it may come back stronger than before. It takes a tremendous amount of effort on my part and I have to be willing to stick with it. Now that is not to say that God just sits by and waits for me to do it on my own. That is not the case. He gives me His strength when I yield to Him, but I have to yield. Not only do those weeds (sin) that have been allowed to grow take more effort, but in my life, the process of trying to clean my heart is also painful. God promises that He will discipline His children because He loves each one too much to leave them in a state that is less than His will. However, I can choke out that voice and ignore the discipline, thereby hardening my heart to hear God's voice. Makes it much harder to clean the field that is my heart and also more painful. In addition, if I ignore the voice and the discipline, I am allowing other sins to come in and take root, just like other unwanted plants come in when small weeds are left and not taken out early.
Just my thoughts on weeds in the pasture and weeds in my life.
Proverbs 24:30-34 "I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest--and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man."
I do not want to be the one who has no sense and allows the weeds and thorns to thrive! Oh - and I did use the hoe again this week and made more of a dent in those pesky goatweeds!