Constant Gardening

Originally posted at Livejournal 25th February 2011

Do I believe in God?  Absolutely, yes.  Do I class myself as a Christian?  Yes I do.  As a Christian do I sometimes get sidetracked away from what God wants me to do and end up doing what the world wants me to do?  Frequently. In fact, I shouldn’t think even half an hour goes by in a day when I don’t end up getting distracted by the nice shiny things of the world.  At points I turn around, look at the poor choices I’ve made and my shoulders sag.  I then end up embarking on some slash and burn technique to try and restore my life to some semblance of what God wants it to be. But that’s going about it the wrong way, as I’ve now found out.

That Jesus told a parable about people like me and I bet you know it. It’s called the Parable of the Sower. Let’s turn in our Bibles to Luke 8: 5-15.  Oh you don’t have one?  Don’t worry. I’ll do a cut and paste job from Bible Gateway

5“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that,

“‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’[a]

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

I’ve put into bold the bit that this morning was sending those little darts of conviction into my soul.  That’s where you’re going wrong Rachel, you’re getting sidetracked by the what the world has to offer. All its delights, its amusements and its sparkles.  I do so easily allow myself to get pulled off the road.  They are never long diversions, but they’re enough to allow those thorns and weeds to spring up and get in the way of making life easier for myself.

The difference between being convicted of something and being condemned for something is a difference that as a Christian you need to understand.  If you feel ‘convicted’ i.e. that part of you wants to put your hand up and acknowledge that that passage refers to you, then that’s the Holy Spirit working within you, getting you to acknowledge what’s wrong in your life so that He can start to task of working on it to clear it out.  If you feel utterly condemned by something, if it’s agony to even think about it and you’ve got a voice in your head that’s telling you you’re rubbish, you’re useless, worthless and will never amount to anything, well you’ve got yourself tuned into Radio Devil.  God never condemns you, he only convicts you.  Romans 8:1 says: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus… If you’re feeling condemned, well that’s the other guy. Try Radio God instead.

So what about me and my conviction that I’m letting myself get sidetracked by the world?  Thankfully – and some God-appointed person this morning has come to the rescue – I happened upon these helpful sentences.

“…even thorns can be pulled up and the stones can be cleared away. … Do persevere in prayer, careful gardening can make all the difference in the long run.”

So it’s not about a periodic ‘slash and burn‘ technique, it’s about picking out those little weeds and thorns on a frequent basis, before they get established and you’re faced with trying to get a dandelion taproot out of your life (what are those things made of!).

So this morning I want to send out those words of encouragement to you.  If you have allowed yourself to be effectively choked by the world and have got yourself into a bit of a briar patch, as I have, do not despair.  Put your WeedWhacker away, get your fork out and start a bit of weeding.  Start pulling out those thorns and weeds from your life and making that soil around you clear, and freely able to receive water and the Word once again.

Have a great day!

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