I stood at the gate of my garden and sighed. A mere week’s worth of neglect from vacation had left my flower beds overgrown and impossibly invaded with weeds. The beds were so mangled with overgrowth that I couldn’t tell which were my seedlings and which were the intruders. I put on my gloves, found a spot in the corner, and knelt down to get started.

I was surprised by all the different types of weeds I came across. From single sprouts, leafy stalks, curling vines, to chunky roots–the weeds had managed to cover almost every inch of soil. Some had even begun to root themselves at the base of my plants, sneakingly stealing the nutrients from them at the roots. Most of the weeds were plucked from the ground with ease, but a few, they were strong and deep. It took time to dig down around their thick roots and pull them forcefully from their place. And yet, some still were merely broken at the base; their veins left to continue to live underneath the earth to resurface again.

As I worked under the hot sun to rid my garden of these suffocators, I couldn’t help think of the parallelism between these weeds and sin. Often times we become complacent and unaware of the sin that manages to sneak and root its self into our lives. Until one day we suddenly see the madness of neglect that has invaded our souls. How do we begin to clean this up? The task can seem overwhelming–there doesn’t seem to be a way to possible fix all that has gone wrong.  

Some sins, like the weeds, are easy to pluck out and erase. Others take time and continued persistent to dig up and cast out. A few sins even appear to go away, only for us to find that their roots grew down far deeper than we anticipated. Those sins creep back slowly and continue to grasp at the soil of our hearts; but with God’s help [forgiveness and consecration], we are able to weed out these sins and leave behind fresh, thriving soil for our souls to sprout the seeds of His goodness.

The key to keeping my garden, and our souls, well tended, is found in a dedicated commitment to being ever watchful over the soil. Upon first sight of the weed, its better to pull it out and toss it away, than to wait, letting its creeping roots spread and invade to other areas. When we allow God to be the gardener of our hearts, His ever watching eyes will tend over the soil of our souls. And His grace will pour out like rain, watering the seeds planted, all while His gentle hands pluck out the sinfulness attempting to take root.

It’s been a few days now since I weeded my garden. The beds are clean and my plants are happily growing with plenty of room and space to soak up the rain and sunshine. I anticipate having a full blooming array of colors to look fondly on soon. But I am always watching for a weed. I know its just a matter of time before they start to sprout up again, but I’m focused and determined to not allow them to overtake the goodness I have planted.