Weeding My Heart’s Garden

Out in the countryside where I live, weeds outnumber grass ten to one. Our “lawn” is full of clover, plantains, dandelions, and wild violets. The weeds try hard to creep into all of my cultivated beds. A bare patch of soil seems an invitation for havoc.

These weeds keep me very busy in the garden. I must check for weeds every day in summer’s height and remove them while they are still seedlings. If I don’t remove them, they will quickly choke out the sunlight and take up nutrients and water meant to nourish my good plants.

Since I live in the woods, I also have tougher weeds to deal with. Poison ivy and honeysuckle try to invade my flowerbeds. Wild blackberries have taken over my iris bed since last year. These weeds are much harder to remove than smaller weeds in the lawn. They are tough and woody and don’t give up without a fight. The honeysuckle twines everywhere, the poison ivy causes severe skin irritation, and the blackberry brambles are covered in thorns.

Jesus told a parable about seeds and where they fall. He said if seeds fall in thorny soil, their growth will be choked out. He likened the thorns to worldly influences, which will choke out the goodness of God’s word.

I must be vigilant in guarding my heart against the creeping effects of sin. The sins that take root almost daily in my heart are criticism, dissatisfaction, indulgence, laziness, and selfishness. They sneak in so quietly, sometimes I don’t notice them until they spread over into other territory, like when I hear my snarky opinion repeated in my child’s words.  By that time, my sin is fully grown and running rampant, and it’s harder to remove than when it first began growing in my heart.

When I privately confess my sins to God every day, I begin lifting those bad roots out of my heart’s soil. God pulls them out and restores the soil to health with forgiveness and grace.  Even though I’ve been a Christian for decades, I need that time of daily confession to stay humble and healthy.

The Bible makes it clear that we will always have to deal with the weeds of sin, as long as we’re living. But daily confession will help clear our hearts so the weeds of sin don’t have deep roots.

Questions for reflection:

Which weeds of sin try to take root in your heart daily?

How can the practice of daily confession help you in a current struggle with sin?

Join me again tomorrow as my blog series “Meeting God in the Garden” continues. In the meantime, take a virtual tour of my garden, read my first guest interview, and check out my post on finding beauty in the garden.

My book The Fruitful Life is a study on the fruits of the spirit, and my book Newness of Life is about trusting in God’s perfect timing.  Both books are available now on Amazon.

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  • Isn’t it wonderful that while we’re out there battling the weeds, God gives us the condition of our own heart to meditate upon!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Yes, indeed. I am writing more about weeding on Thursday…hope you will share your observations then too!

  • Bettie G

    Dear Sarah,
    Yes, I can surely relate to having to watch out for those thorny brambles! They do try to sneak into my flowerbeds also, here on our little wooded hillside. We spent many hours clearing garden beds of them when we first moved here, preparing the ground. Recently, I heard the Lord whispering to me that He does that same kind of preparing in my heart. And when the time for change is upon me, I don’t need to panic, because He has already been preparing the ground. Thank you for reminding me of this today–I so needed this encouragement this morning! Blessings to you!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Bettie, thanks for reading this! I’m glad to know that God is speaking to your heart in the garden as he does in mine. I have decided to let the blackberry brambles in my iris bed to stay there and bear fruit this season, then cut them down. The whole bed needs to be worked over, and I may as well enjoy the wild fruit first. But the hard work to remove them will pay off later, when I move the irises to a place where they will bloom better, and turn that shady bed into a cool veggie bed for lettuces, cabbages, and spinach. Health will come, sooner or later!

  • Sarah, I love your quote, “Daily confession removes sin’s weeds from my heart.” That is such a great analogy. Thank you for these reminders!

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