People who came over were too polite to say anything, but the weeds had taken over, and the few good plants we had left were starting to wither, dying of claustrophobia amidst an army of inconsiderate vegetation.
|Photo Credit: aussiegall (creative commons)|
A couple of months prior, Katie and I had worked very hard to clear out all of the weeds and old mulch left in the beds. We spent hours hunched over the earth. I took a hoe to the dirt in order to snag the roots, and we disposed of them.
When we were done, we had a nicely tilled bed with a few shrubs and some rose bushes. It was simple, and it looked good.
But you can guess what happened within a few days:
The weeds slowly but steadily returned, finding a nice fertile bed in which to lie. Carried by the wind or dropped by birds, they found an easy place to land with loose soil and quickly took root.
It wasn't long before they reclaimed the soil, and its condition was worse than when Katie and I originally worked on it.
Clearing Out the Weeds
Clearing out that bed a second time reminded me of something Jesus said:
When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it.
Then it says, "I will return to the house I left." When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order.
Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.
When a person asks Christ to forgive his sins and believes in Him, he is born again. Jesus clears out the weeds of his heart, so to speak.
But even though he is now a new creation, this new creation still lives in a body of flesh with all its trappings of temptation and limitation.
And what could be more appealing to the evil one than a heart wiped clean, a fresh believer in Christ? The unsaved are already separated from God, and the veteran Christians are much harder to bring down.
The second time around we did things right. We took to the hoe again, clearing out the grass, the dandelions, the Lamb's Ear (you can't convince me that's not a weed), and all of the other unwanted plants.
It was much harder this time, but we got it done filling up trash bag after trash bag of yard waste.
But we didn't stop there. We bought some landscaping fabric, cut it to size and staked it into the ground. We covered the paper with mulch, and even sprayed weed killer around the outside of the beds to try and prevent invasion.
It took quite a bit of work, and still required maintenance, but the results were nonetheless effective.
In the same way we safeguarded against weeds, Christians—especially new ones-—should protect their hearts from evil. Failure to do so can result in a condition much worse than at first.
These methods aren't sexy, but they work:
Every day. At least five minutes. Ask God to guard your heart from the evil one.
2. Read your Bible regularly.
At least once a week. Reading the scriptures gives you ammo to fire at the enemy when he tempts you, and words of encouragement when you are low.
Don't Leave Your Heart Empty
It's not enough to ask Jesus to clean up your heart. How many people do you know who took a knee at the altar and dedicated their lives to Jesus, only to return to living in the same manner as before?
Jesus forgives freely those who ask with a sincere heart, but you must not leave your heart empty. Instead allow God to fill it with the Holy Spirit. Because if the Spirit resides in you, evil cannot prevail. Remember what Jesus said:
If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. Mark 3:25
Our bodies are those homes that Jesus spoke about.
It is important that we clean up our hearts by asking for forgiveness, but we must not stop there. If we do, the weeds will find a fertile bed ready for them to take root again. Repent and guard your heart through prayer and by reading God's Word.
So be diligent about protecting your heart lest your life get overrun by evil spirits, or, as I like to call them, weeds.
Extra credit: read the parable of the sower. Then come back and subscribe.