The Apostle Paul’s go-to metaphors for the Christian life always seemed to involve a race of some kind. He speaks of pressing on, finishing the course, laying aside extra weight, and so forth.
If I had been one of the writers of Scripture, my metaphors would have involved gardening.
It’s high season for perennial gardening here in the Midwest. My family and I have enjoyed the tulips, narcissus, and daffodils in all their short-lived glory, and I just cut back the last of the faded peony blooms. Some daisy varieties in my perennial beds are coming on strong, as are allium and the re-seeding annuals cosmos and love-in-a-mist.
But one type of plant that never seems to have a season is the weed. Each species seems to have developed a unique way of holding on to life in the midst of drought, neglect, and abuse. Year after year, they return, especially if I don’t pull them before they go to seed.
The only way to eradicate a weed for good is to dig it out, roots and all. I spend a lot of time on my knees doing just that, plunging my hori-hori gardening knife into the soil and popping out dandelions and other weeds for an hour or more each week, with help from my daughter.
For a gardener, there’s nothing more satisfying than a weed-free flower bed, as temporary as that may be. Other weeds will come, and then they must be pulled as well; otherwise, the weeds will eventually overtake the desirable plants, choking them out and smothering them.
Our Christian lives require just such maintenance. We’ve got to examine ourselves, rejoicing in all that is good and lovely, and spending time with the Lord and in Scripture to encourage those areas of our lives to grow further.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. – Psalm 1:2-3
But we’ve also got to root out the sin and negative influences that will interfere with our relationship to the Father and our Christian growth. And we’ve got to do it regularly, because the remnants of our former selves just love to pop out and reveal themselves at the worst times.
For me, that “weed” is a critical spirit. For others, it might be bitterness, gossip, anger, or wrong friends. In any case, Scripture has some encouraging words.
For a just man falleth seven times and riseth up again. – Proverbs 24:16a
Notice that the one who falls is still referred to as just, not sinful or hopeless. The key is that he gets up and keeps on going. Christ will forgive.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – I John 1:9
Other Scriptures to consider:
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. – II Peter 3:18
Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. – Jeremiah 32:41
What metaphors would you use in the Bible? What metaphors do you enjoy from Scripture? What do you find you must regularly root out of your life? I so enjoy your comments. God bless!