Weeds in Our Spiritual Garden
The other day, the Basham's acquired a small (and I mean very small) piece of dirt which is a part of a community garden. It was given to us so long as we steward it well.
Unfortunately, the person who had this before us didn't take care of it, and what we were left with was in many ways a mess. And before we could even think about planting anything in the garden, before a harvest could be imagined, some work had to be done to rid the weeds and such that existed. Even the soil that was there had to be refreshed and plowed up, and new soil added.
I say this because there is a lesson here for us all in our walk with the Lord. If we are honest, most of us come to Christ thinking (we are too proud to say it most of the time) that we will just add or acquire Christ and continue on as we had before. That righteousness can grow right there amongst the weeds of this world and sin in our lives. When in reality, our lives look akin to our plot of land - overgrown by weeds and terrible soil from which nothing will naturally grow but more weeds.
Matthew 5:3 teaches us this: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
What does this mean? No, what does this really mean, not what we want it or think it means? Beware, because this is gonna hurt a bit.
The word "poor" here literally points to a "common beggar" who has nothing. Jesus is pointing to the fact that if we are to pursue Christ hard, if we are to truly know Him, we must renounce the things of this world. Become "poor" in that sense.
This is hard because in some ways our lives look good from the outside. There are some good aspects if you will. Meaning, on the outside we are not awful people. If you saw our garden when we received the title, in some ways it was productive. There were some radishes, some lettuce, but they were not healthy. They were hurting more than helping, and in actuality, some plants looked awesome from the outside but upon closer inspection they had infection that would eventually spread to all the other plants, not only in our garden but in the surrounding plots. And so we pulled them all up. The garden was left empty. Bare. In this it was "poor". But in reality it was healthier than it had been in a long time and it was now ready to be productive.
In many ways we are like this. We think we can just grow in Christ and never deal with the enemies of sin in and around us. That in Christ we just add another trophy to our already full case, even if we put Christ in the middle and up front, when in reality coming to Christ means we throw away all the other trophies where only Christ remains. Like our garden, if we leave the old self there, it will infect all the new self and even those around us. Sin just works like that.
And the greatest enemy we must deal with is self. It is the possessions of this world that gratify self and promote self. The gifts God gave us to support His creation now sit on the throne of the lives He created to worship Him. We are distracted. Polluted in this sense. Lots of weeds. And their roots are deep. Their infection spreads in our own lives and the lives around us, and thus they must be pulled up at the root. This is why Jesus said we must "die to self if we are follow Him." (Matthew 16:24) In fact, only the Cross can destroy self.
The believer, when pursuing Jesus hard, realizes that at the very moment they posses nothing in this world, meaning they can take it or leave it, it has no control over them, and in this they are poor, is the very moment when they possess everything. See Matthew 6:33.
"Whosoever would lose His life for Jesus' sake actually finds it" says Matthew 16:25. Go read the story of Abraham and Isaac for a real life illustration of this point. Abraham still had everything, but he learned that he possessed nothing. It was all the Lord's and for the Lord. Blessed are poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Let's land this thing in our laps, for better or worse, however rough the landing might be. One of the most harmful yet accepted habits in our lives as believers is stuff and clinging to the things of this world, even good things, and allowing our hearts to worship these supposedly right alongside God, and all the while thinking God is ok with this. This is an evil of all evils, and yet if we are honest we are ok with it. It has become a respectable sin. We tend to leave this one in the garden and just plant other stuff beside it. When in reality it is poison, not only to us but to those around us.
Let's make the intention of being honest about these trophies and idols we have attempted to worship right alongside God. Put our self-righteous defenses down. Let's be honest about these things and earnestly seek to rid our lives of them. Call them what we have made them - idols, sin. See how deceitful our hearts are, that we can take the blessings of God and turn them into idols. And convince ourselves that it is ok.
Before we can truly know God, before this new garden can truly be cultivated and grown in our lives, all others have to be uprooted and removed, no matter how painful. Sin will not go quietly, the old man in us will not die easily. But keep killing sin or it will kill you. Rid yourself of the love for the things of this world and in doing so gain everything. Jesus cannot have any rivals in our lives.
Renounce all else and pursue and experience Christ. No person can serve two masters. May we experience Matthew 5:3 this day and beyond, that in becoming poor by renouncing the things of this world we gain the kingdom of heaven, by grace thru faith in Christ.