I originate from a long line of people who made their living digging in the dirt. Although, unlike the previous farmers in my family, I do not have to do it to put food on the table, still my greatest solace is found in the simple act of digging in the dirt. I find something so rewarding about the instant transformation that occurs when weeds are pulled and shrubs are trimmed. It brings peace and tranquility to my often chaotic world. Those of you who work in landscaping may know what I’m talking about. However, this summer my garden has given me much trouble in the maintenance department and has offered a lesson in the spiritual realm as well.
Suddenly I have weeds that are unlike any weeds I’ve seen in my yard in the 23 years that I have lived in this house. They are the most tenacious weeds that I have yet to wage war on. They come out fairly easily, but where one was, three return. Resulting in a thick ground cover of weeds. I’ve used all kinds of weed killer in addition to manually removing them. I even have my husband, Steve, down on his hands and knees pulling weeds, as they’re just too many for one person to handle.
One of the problems is the massive amount of rain that we have recently received. Also, due to the fact we have not had time to fill the beds with a thick layer of mulch once the weeds are removed. This second reason is the one the Lord has used to teach me a tremendous lesson. I would like to share it with you.
In Luke 11:24-26 and also in Matthew 12:43-45, Jesus taught a parable about this very problem. He said, “ When an evil spirit goes out of someone it hunts for another place to rest. If it is unable to find a place, it will say to itself, ‘ I will return to the place I was’. Well in it’s absence the owner of the “house” has cleaned it and now it is even more inviting, so the evil spirit rounds up seven of it’s buddies and they all move in. Now the house is in worse shape than ever.”
This parable had always troubled me because I couldn’t understand that if the owner of the house had done all he or she could to clean the house, why would the evil spirits be allowed to return? Hadn’t they done their part? While kneeling in the dirt, filling numerous black trash bags with weeds, I received my answer. No they had not. They had neglected to fill the empty space with good things; things that would protect the house from being re-invaded. In my case, had I taken the time to follow the age-old trick of laying a layer of newspaper down and then a 2-inch layer of mulch on top of that I would have virtually eliminated my weed problem.
I have struggled this summer with a few spiritual weed re-invasions of my own. I’ve dealt with the spirit of depression, sadness and anxiety. These are spirits that I’ve fought before and succeeded in driving away, so why had they returned? The answer was really very simple. I had neglected to fill the empty spaces in myself with good things. I had often neglected my daily bible reading, prayer time, praise music, bible study and the support of Christian friends.
I had a good excuse too. I was busy pulling endless acres of weeds. What little time I had left I filled with empty things that left me unprotected against the spirits that knew my weaknesses very well. The things I filled my time with weren’t bad things; movies, novels and TV. But they were kind of like the weed killer and endless weed pulling that I had used to eliminate the natural weeds in my garden, okay, but not lastingly beneficial. Because I was left uncovered by a thick layer of spiritual “mulch”, I allowed spiritual “weeds” to take root.
I wonder if you may have been experiencing any spiritual weed invasions of your own?