I’ve been doing a lot of weeding lately—and I mean A LOT of weeding. We’re talking wheelbarrows full of Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Virginia Creeper, and even Morning Glory and Wisteria that got out of hand. Why all the weeding?
We used to do yard work on the weekends, but now that we have Gordon, I work on the weekends while Robby plays Mr. Dad. Now that Gordon is a bit older, though, I can pull weeds during the week while Gordon helps out. (By help, I mean he pulls leaves off the bushes—so cute!)
A few weeks ago, I took a step back and wondered where all these vines were coming from. We’ve never had a problem like this, and now they’re everywhere! I traced some vines back to the Azaleas that line the ditch at the front of the house. That’s when I realized the bushes weren’t doing as well as I thought—all that green foliage was actually coming from thick Wisteria vines and Virginia Creeper that were choking them out!
The vines had gotten in the bushes somehow, and now they’re sending feelers across the yard and into the decorative grass that lines our front driveway and surrounds the century-old Live Oaks. As I stood in the yard—sweating and frustrated—the thought struck me that sin acts like weeds in our lives.
Sin acts like weeds in our lives.
It was such a visceral image that I’ve pondered this thought for weeks now. Here are the similarities I’ve seen between weeds and sin:
1. Invasive — Just like the vines in my yard that creeped over from the ditch, sin is often triggered by external sources. Do all your friends drink, swear, and cheat on their taxes? Those behaviors can easily creep into your life. Do you watch vulgar music videos and movies? Those images will seep into your thoughts.
2. Pervasive — Once it gets started, sin spreads easily and can take over your life. A single drink is fine, but drinking to excess isn’t. Why? Because it can ruin your family life, destroy your job, and take every dime you own.
3. Difficult to Destroy — I’m having a hard time with the vines in our yard because they’ve taken root among the decorative grass and cling to the old Live Oaks. I can’t dig out or poison the vines without harming the grass and trees. The same goes for sin. It’s hard to stop a destructive behavior pattern, to restore a marriage, or take responsibility for something you’ve done wrong.
4. Deceptive — Weeds can be difficult to identify from afar because they’re often lush and vibrant. Only upon close inspection can you identify the tell-tell signs of Poison Ivy, Virginia Creeper, and the like. Sin acts the same way. Some people look happy and well-rounded, even though their lives are full of sin. Only they (and God) know the troubles that sin creates in their lives.
“Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it’” (Genesis 4:6-7 NAS).
Weeding Out the Sin
Thanks to Covid, most of us are self-isolating to some extent, and many are still without jobs. With less to do and more stress to deal with, it seems that our issues are heightened and our old sin patterns are more obvious. If you’ve struggled with drinking in the past, a stressful quarantine isn’t going to make that any easier to deal with. The same goes for bouts of anger, acts of depression like self-harm, lustful thoughts and the resulting inappropriate behavior…you name it. If it was bad before, it’s going to be worse now.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is that God wants to help us. In fact, Jesus died so He could make a way for us to set aside those sins and be reconciled to God the Father. No one else will ever make such a sacrifice for you and me!
So what, exactly, do we do to get rid of the weeds of sin?
1. Acknowledge the sin — Sin is defined as “missing the mark.” It’s anything we do that is contrary to God’s will for our lives. Did He tell you to do something and you didn’t? That’s a sin.
2. Understand the impact — We must accept the fact that, contrary to popular belief, sin is bad—so bad that it sent Jesus to the grave in our place. So bad that it would send us to hell if we weren’t redeemed by Jesus’ sacrifice.
Meditate on the spiritual ramifications of your sin. Remember that Jesus suffered the consequences for every sin you’ve committed. That should have been you on the cross, but Jesus took your place.
Also, think of all the negative effects your sin can cause in your life. Even if you’ve gotten away with it before, there is always a price to pay for sinning.
That should have been you on the cross, but Jesus took your place.
3. Ask God for forgiveness — Yes, you may have hurt someone due to your sinful activities, and you may need to ask his forgiveness at some point, but it’s important to seek God’s forgiveness first. Why? Because all sin is ultimately a sin against God:
“As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against You” (Psalm 41:4, A Psalm of David).
3. Let go of your sin — Visualize yourself holding your sin in your hands and then laying it at the feet of Jesus. Then accept the fact that God forgives you—not because of what you’ve done but because of the sacrifice Jesus made.
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14 NAS).
4. Be accountable — Make a commitment to yourself that you’ll stop sinning, and hold yourself accountable to this. You may also want to tell your spouse or a good friend that you’re not going to commit this sin anymore. If you slip up, tell your accountability partner. Sometimes, just sharing your decision, failures, and successes with someone else can give you the extra push you need to stay on the right path.
5. Repeat — This all sounds easy enough, but the truth is that sinful behaviors can be so ingrained that we fall back into them even after the most honest appeal to God. Thankfully, Jesus’ sacrifice has no limitations. When necessary, ask for forgiveness again, trust in God, and move on.
Like everyone else, I have areas of sin that pop up from time to time, especially when I’m stressed and tired. I think God used my frustration over our ongoing weeding problem to give me new insight into how sin creeps in and can choke the joy out of my life. It makes me want to address my sins and prevent any new ones from creeping in. After all, prevention is always the most effective way to go—with sin and with weeds.
Are you struggling this season? Start with this prayer:
“Lord, you know the sins I’ve been dealing with. I’m so sorry I’ve sinned against you and others. Please forgive me. I lay it all down at the feet of Jesus and trust in His sacrifice to make me clean again. Lord, give me the strength and courage to avoid sin in the future and to choose your righteous path. In the name of Jesus, the One who bore my sins. Amen.”
Pin it for later