Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23,24

Weeding my garden can be a very convicting exercise, full of analogies to my spiritual life. More times than I would like to count, I have neglected the task until it is a massive job—because we were away on vacation, because I had “better (i.e. more urgent) things to do,” or just because I was lazy. As I pull those thriving, but unwanted, plants out of the vegetable rows or flower beds, I wonder why I didn’t catch them when they were smaller, on a weekly basis, perhaps, so I wouldn’t be faced with such a big job.

Isn’t it like that in our spiritual lives, as well. The small “weeds” of sin and bad habits can appear out of nowhere and grow faster than any habit that we deliberately cultivate. We know we should pull them out of our lives, but sometimes it’s easier not to tend to them—we are too busy to realize they are there, or we have “better” or more urgent things to do, or we are spiritually “away” and just not paying much attention to God or keeping up with what’s going on in our hearts.

The bigger the weeds grow, the greater the possibility that they will choke out, or at least obscure, the good stuff we want to cultivate—the vegetables, the flowers, the good habits, the godly character traits. In my large farm garden, sometimes I have to resort to chemical warfare to eradicate all the thistles, quackgrass and stinkweed that seem to constantly be trying to take over. Then I don’t get a crop at all. I recently spent several hours weeding a flower bed so that I could finally see the perennials and shrubs that were hiding. Now I will be able to enjoy the flowers!

Clearing the weeds out of my life by asking for God’s help in discerning what they are, forgiveness to get rid of them, and for help to establish and maintain the attitudes, habits and disciplines I want to cultivate, will enable me to see, demonstrate and enjoy the godly “fruit” that I really do want to characterize my life.

Divine Gardener, help me recognize the weedy bad habits and attitudes that creep into my life when I am not paying attention to You, and help me to daily clear them out so that I yield the beauty and fruit of godly character that You intend to grow in me.

Keep Reading: Psalm 19:7-14; 1 John 1:9; John 15:1; Proverbs 1:1-7; Prov. 3:21-24; Galatians 5:22,23; Philippians 4:8

Ideas for connecting with others:

· CAUTION: This would be risky but beneficial!! Ask your Deep-End Friend what weeds she might see growing in the garden of your life.

· Not So Risky: Start a conversation with a neighbor whose garden you admire. Perhaps you will pick up a few gardening tips—or even a perennial cutting or zucchini!!

Contributed by Sharon Anderson