A quiet and serene peace has draped over the motel where we live these past few days. Over the past several months evil had crept in with relentless determination; soiling the surrounding environment. Working with the owners, managers and police the past week has resulted in a mass cleanout of the addicts, prostitutes, pimps, thieves and drug dealers that once lived here. It was time for spring cleaning; weeding the spiritual garden per se to preserve the peace and sanity of this motel.
My father ran a vegetable farm when I was younger. The unenviable task I had each summer was to hoe row after row of veggies over many acres. Baking under the blistering summer sun with no pay I would weed the row ahead only to have my father redo my sloppy work. To say I hated that job would be no understatement however I learned one invaluable lesson I will never forget. If you want a harvest in the fall, you must weed in the spring. This lesson hit home with grim reality the year we had to plow under acres of strawberries because the weeds got ahead of us.
Weeding the spiritual garden
Weeds in life are as a common and normal as sunshine. We can neither avoid nor eradicate weeds although mankind has tried. This is true in the spirit too. Weeds will come into our lives and spread to our souls in many forms. At first they may seem innocent but as they choke out peace, love, faith and hope, we can be assured weeds are a force for evil. What we do with those weeds will decide how healthy our spirit and soul will be.
Defending our pea patch
In 2 Samuel 23:11-12 we read a curious word about Shammah, one of David’s mighty man of valor. Shammah’s exploit was simple, yet profound; he defended a lentil patch by himself against an army of brutal Philistines and won a great victory. His relentless determination to destroy the Philistines is the same determination we must have when evicting the weeds of ‘self’ from our lives.
Shammah’s fight is a grand example of what defending the territory of our soul looks like.
Wanda and I often describe the nature of ‘self’ as a thorn bush. The pricks and cuts that hurt us and those around us all stem from the ‘self’ nature. As we mature in God Jesus works with us to remove our ‘self’ nature so we don’t hurt ourselves or others. This happens only when we solidly determine to follow His lead in this process. But how do we handle the ‘self’ nature when it comes against us from others?
Our vegetable farm in rural Saskatchewan, Canada had many types of weeds. The one we dreaded most was the ever present Canadian thistle. A more ornery, troublesome, thorny, fast growing plant I have yet to encounter. Removing this intruder was not for the faint of heart. Even in the heat of summer we armed ourselves with long pants, long sleeves and thick gloves before we plunged into that long arduous battle.
“But wicked, godless, and worthless lives are all like thorns to be thrust away, because they cannot be taken with the hand. But the man who touches them arms himself with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they are utterly consumed with fire on the spot.” 2 Samuel 23:6-7.
We cannot handle the ‘self’ nature with bare hands or kid gloves.
The thorns that come to us through other’s ‘self’ nature we cannot treat lightly for they will fester and grow into bitter fruit if not removed. Our sole purpose and aim needs to agree with God to remove the thorns of ‘self’ without prejudice as quickly as possible.
When we encounter the ‘self’ nature coming at us through others we need to prepare and prevent being hurt and maimed spiritually. God does not want us to avoid the battle but to gird ourselves wisely and properly beforehand. This is the reason Paul encourages all believers to put on the armor of God. To evict ‘self’ from within and from our surroundings requires wisdom, patience and courage; plus the armor of the iron, spear and fire to remove the wicked, godless and worthless. If we do not engage in this battle, the thorny weeds of ‘self’ will overwhelm and destroy the harvest of good fruit God is looking for in our lives.
Weeding the spiritual garden is a battle unlike any other and we must be as relentless as our enemy.
God has given us a prophetic picture of the future here at the motel through our experience. As we helped the owner evict the lawless people who had infested this motel, we are seeing a picture of how God deals with ‘self’. One day God, the owner of Earth, will evict from His creation all those who choose wickedness and their ‘self’ nature. There will be no rebellion or intransigence on that day as every knee will have to bow before Him and He will cast those that are lawless from His presence. That day will be final and complete. Where will we stand? Will we stand with Him in lawfulness, having evicted ‘self’ from our life or will we allow ‘self’ nature to reign within causing undue harm to ourselves and those around us?
A year of wresting with ‘self’
Undoubtedly 2020 has been a year of shaking, upheaval, pruning and testing. God has been dutifully preparing His people for what is coming. Some are finding in this time that ‘self’ has way more predominance in their lives than is wise or safe. Others are discovering that battling ‘self’, within and without, is an ongoing battle that is bloody and brutal. Still others are learning that ‘self’ is so rampant that we wonder if there is any hope. Wherever you are today, know that there is hope.
Our hope rests in Jesus who is calling for us to accept His lead and follow Him down the path that will end the tyranny of ‘self’ within and without. The blessed peace, faith, love and hope that follows is beyond compare and far greater than the loss of ‘self’ with its bitter fruit. Though the road ahead is long take heart that the reward is far greater than the trial we endure.
Today our God is calling for us to start weeding the spiritual garden. By His wisdom arm yourself and start weeding!
Homer and Wanda