Good Friday was the perfect day for working in my own garden. Since Andrew and I moved into a new house, we have a huge garden to take care of and maintain — which I am extremely excited about! We had a teeny tiny little garden at our old house, and it was hard to grow ANYthing since the soil was full of dead roots and very acidic. Every time I planted flowers, I would water them, check on them, and then before I even had a chance to realize what had happened, they were dead. Really dead. All that to say, I am pumped that we have a huge garden full of beautiful perennials that are popping up. It is pretty exciting to see what is blooming. Since we moved into our house in November, we have no idea what is planted in the garden. So far, we have lots of tulips, lilies, a white tree, a pink tree (I still have to figure out what they are!), some other flowers and a LOT of weeds. The weeds took over the empty lot next door to us and have unfortunately spread throughout the garden. I had to get those weeds out before they took out the rest of my plants!
I happily started pulling the weeds out of the rich, fertile soil. After a while though, I was getting tired and frustrated that the weeds were even there in the first place! I’m not alone, though. It got me thinking about a sermon podcast that I had listened to just yesterday (maybe that’s why I was motivated to go outside today and do some weed pulling!). “Nobody likes to pull weeds, but everyone wants to have a beautiful garden!” Kyle Idleman, Southeast Christian Church
The tricky thing about weeds is that you have to dig down deep and pull the weed out by its roots or it is only a matter of time until it comes back. If you only pull out the top and not the roots, your garden will be overgrown with weeds in no time. Our sinful nature can be just the same as those nasty little weeds. We battle things every day, like anger, jealousy, selfishness, envy, drunkenness, impurity, and so on.
Paul tells us how the Holy Spirit can produce this fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We want to grow in those ways, but often times our acts of the sinful nature take over. We change some things on the surface, or try to cover it up, but we don’t dig down deep to pull out the sin by the roots. “The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants… These two forces are constantly fighting each other…” Galatians 5:17 NLT
We can’t grow the fruit of the spirit in our lives if we get lazy and stop pulling the weeds every day. We have to be intentional about it. We need to be in constant prayer to replace our sinful nature with that of the Holy Spirit. “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:25 NLT
Whatever you fill your mind with will feed your sinful nature or feed your spirit. “One you love and one you hate, but the one you feed will dominate.” -Kyle Idleman, Southeast Christian Church
Keep track of what you’re doing. Are you growing weeds or producing fruit? Is the TV you’re watching and the books you’re reading helping you grow? Are the people that you’re spending your time with encouraging you and making it easy to practice the fruits of the spirit? Is what you’re spending your time doing and thinking about producing fruit or covering up the weeds? Do the work; dig down deep daily and pull those roots!
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13 NLT
As we remember Jesus’ sacrificial death, let’s thank Him that he took the desires of our sinful nature to the cross and crucified them there and that through Him, we have a chance to produce good fruit.
For the original sermon by Kyle Idleman, visit http://vimeo.com/10952221 and http://podbay.fm/show/287341044/e/1270958400?autostart=1
Beth Gibson (Staff Assistant, Academic Coordinator, Academic/Visual Arts Mentor)