Laura pulled her sleeves back and set to work, determined that these weeds would get out of here. She wanted a well-kept garden desperately, but right now, it looked more like a garden of dandelions and crab grass. No more! This garden was going to get in shape.
Hours later, Laura dragged herself back into the house, satisfied with a job well done. The area where dandelions used to reign was now mainly just overturned soil—weed free at last.
How did this happen? Laura could hardly believe her eyes. She’d been busy inside and hadn’t checked on the garden in a few weeks, and it was completely overgrown yet again!
Once again, Laura set to work. And once again she yanked everything out of the ground. When she finished, there was not a plant standing when she finished.
But once again, the weeds just grew back, even bigger and stronger than ever it seemed. Laura was getting discouraged. What was she doing wrong?
She mentioned her dilemma to her neighbor one day, an older, wiser gardener named Phoebe. “I just don’t know what to do! Why do these weeds keep coming back?”
“My dear girl,” Phoebe replied. “Have you been planting good plants in their place?”
The question might sound like a rhetorical one, but it wasn’t. Laura hadn’t been planting anything in the garden at all—she’d just been trying to remove the weeds and hoping good plants would grow on their own…or at least that it’d stay weed-free.
Seeing the look on Laura’s face, Phoebe continued to explain, “You have to plant good plants in the garden so there’s no room for the weeds to grow. And you’ll want to nurture those plants and watch for weeds sneaking through, pulling them before they multiply. Don’t despair, child. You can have a beautiful garden yet! How about we work on getting some good plants planted?”
To Ponder: If we want to get rid of sin in our life, we have to not only put it off, but also put on Christ Jesus. We need to turn to away from sin and toward the Savior. Actively pursue Him. Make decisions to watch, read, spend our time, etc., in ways that promote His Fruit growing in our lives. For example, if you struggle with complaining, don’t just stop complaining, but also start praising. If you struggle with an addiction, don’t just stop, but also start filling your time with pursuing Jesus. What do you need to put off/put on today?
“to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV)