Wednesday, November 1, 2017

When God Begins Pulling Out Weeds

“Roger” was a man who was brought up in the church. He committed his life to Christ and was even planning on being a minister. But somewhere along the way, other concerns began crowding out his walk with Christ. Eventually, he ended up doing drugs, surviving multiple divorces, taking advantage of his elderly grandparents and losing the only Bible he’d managed to hold onto. Roger spent more than two decades wandering out on his own, his relationship with God all but forgotten amidst the pleasures, worries and concerns that crowded out the word of God in his life.

Roger epitomized the third kind of soil that Jesus described in the Parable of the Sower.  As the farmer scattered the word of God, some seeds fell along the path and was picked up and carried off by birds. Other seeds, fell on rocky places and sprung up quickly but never really grew roots and died in the heat of the sun. But the third place where seeds fell was among the thorns, which choked it and kept it from growing like the seeds which fell on good soil. When Jesus explained the parable to his disciples he  explained, The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity (Luke 8:14, NLT).

The seeds that fell among the thorns have always fascinated me because they didn’t die like the seeds that fell on the first two types of ground and, as I look at my own life, I see how easily I can be distracted by the worries and pleasures of this life. I have often wondered what it would look like to do a little weeding, to begin pulling out those weeds and thorns that distract us from our walk with God and keep us from growing like we should.

According to Roger, he knows what that weeding process is like. You see, Roger was in an accident where nearly every part of his body was injured or damaged in some way. Roger was in a hospital bed undergoing surgeries and, for months, was even unable to talk. I went by several times to see him and pray with him, but the first time he could speak he described how God had used his time in the hospital to remove all of the distractions of his life and put his focus back where it belonged. His first request of me was that I get him a Bible so he could make good use of the weeks in bed he still has to endure. Roger has months of recovery and rehabilitation ahead of him, but he feels certain that God has engaged in a weeding process, pulling out the things in his life that have choked off his spiritual growth.

When I left that visit with Roger, I experienced a sense of urgency to do a little weeding in my own life so that God won’t have to do it in a more painful fashion down the road. Ever since then, I have been seeing things that keep me distracted from my walk with Christ and I am taking the first steps to begin pulling them out of my life.

What are the weeds and thorns in your own life? What are the specific things that hinder your spiritual growth and prevent you from reaching maturity in Christ? Wouldn’t it be easier to do the weeding yourself than to wait until God has to do it in a more dramatic fashion? 

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