You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires (Ephesians 4:22, NIV).
Friend to Friend
It’s early spring, and I’m preparing the repurposed wine barrels for planting.
All winter they sat neglected, left to their own devices. Some plants made it through the winter, and we are grateful that it looks like we’ll have an abundant crop of bright red raspberries this summer.
But our main crop coming out of the frost? A healthy yield of weeds.
For the Big Boy tomatoes and Pink Lemonade blueberries to live, other life-choking things have to die.
Thankfully, we can easily deal with infant weeds. After a few minutes on each wine barrel, our soil is ready for seedlings we’ve nurtured in the green house.
If I have learned anything living up here on the mountain, it’s this: take care of the weeds when they are small.
With a small weed, I can pinch it between my fingers and end the struggle. A weed that I’ve let take root — let’s just say there are tools and a lot more effort involved.
After hitting my 50’s, I’m finally learning that same lesson in my spiritual life.
Take care of the weeds when they are small.
We all slip up. We all make poor choices. That snide remark about someone’s bad behavior. Calling someone else a name in my head because they don’t agree with me politically. Taking one more Arby’s packet of sauce than I need so we can use it at home (because to me, Arby’s sauce is life).
In the wide range of behaviors from “not great” to “horrific,” these actions fall far from the “Thou shall not kill…” side of the scale.
But left unattended, tiny weeds can grow into big, deeply rooted weeds.
If we recognize those small things, pray about it, and ask for God to help us make it a one-time thing, we can root it out when it’s easy to handle.
But thoughts like, “I’ll just deal with it later,” or, “Really, it’s not such a big deal,” is dangerous thinking, at least for me.
Because once I let the sin grow, my bad behavior becomes my expectation instead of my exception.
I am now working on a habit that isn’t talked about much, at least in the circles I run: daily confession.
I spend time each day not only seeking out my own heart but asking the Holy Spirit to remind me of anything I may have conveniently forgotten — a “little” sin that could easily take root in my heart.
I ask myself (and the Holy Spirit) these questions:
- Have I sinned against God?
- Have I sinned against others?
- Is there anything else I am missing?
- Is there something I need to do to close the loop?
It’s often that fourth question where I hesitate. Do I need to apologize to someone? What do I need to do to make the situation right?
Does this act of confession seem punitive and depressing? Please let me assure you, for me, it is not.
I think of it like my garden. Left unattended, I would only be able to see weeds choking out all the life I’ve planted. But because I’ve spent a little time, every day, rooting out the small problems before they take over the garden, I’m greeted with new life and old growth and every glorious plant in between.
The only way I can see the glory of what God is doing in my life is if I spend a little time each day rooting out those sins trying to choke out His abundant life.
Paul reminded the Ephesians about staying vigilant. “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires” (Ephesians 4:22, NIV).
It’s a habit I’m still learning. I’ve spent most of my life ignoring the weeds. It is going to take some time, but I want the life to be evident because I’ve eliminated what is trying to steal it.
God, give me the courage to look at what is choking out the abundant life You’ve given me. Give me the strength to deal with weeds, big and small, so I can focus on what You are trying to grow in me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
How can you start a daily habit of confession in your own life? Choose a time of day and begin, perhaps while weeding your garden or during your morning quiet time.
More from the Girlfriends
Are you overwhelmed by the enormity of what you have to do in your life? You may want to check out Kathi’s book written with author Cheri Gregory, Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity.
© 2021 by Kathi Lipp. All rights reserved.
Be vigilant in getting rid of the daily weeds. I am dealing with that right now all around my house. Kathy – I have your book on clutter and I was doing so well. Then I stopped. It is a little weed, a little sin that doesn’t seem like a big deal. Until I have to meet a work colleague at a coffee shop rather than my home office because my house is a mess. Or I can’t spend time with an elderly friend in a nursing home because I have gotten behind in writing out bills. Vigilance and prayer and God’s strength required.
I have a friend who periodically forwards your devotions to me, and I always find them both challenging and encouraging, especially today’s “Small Weeds” entry. The Lord and I were dealing with one of those “Who would know?” and “What does it really matter?” issues when the devotional from my friend dinged in my inbox. The Lord and I are doing some weeding as I type…
Thank you for being transparent and speaking a good word in due season. In this day when the Lord seems to be requiring His people to stand up and be counted on what we see as major issues facing us in the world and being people of His standards, we cannot let these little weeds start a major infestation in our lives that will choke out the fruit that the Lord is wanting to grow in us.
Oh Kristin –
I so get it – I have been in that same exact spot. Please be gentle with yourself, ask for support, and take it just 15 minutes at a time. It won’t feel like much, but it will make a huge difference.