It all started innocently enough. My son picked up a lone dandelion after the flower had gone from vibrant yellow to those long white things (yeah, I don’t know what they are) and blew on it. I was going to tell him to stop because I didn’t want them all over the lawn but when I bent down to explain to him why we couldn’t do that he blew on the flower and those long stemmed seeds (you know, the white things) blew away in the breeze. It was then that he shouted “look daddy” and I couldn’t help but find great joy in the joy of my son. So I did the only loving/ridiculous thing I could – I picked up a dandelion and blew on it. Needless to say that my son was hooked and from that time on whenever he saw a dandelion he picked it and blew the seeds all across my back lawn.
But at some point during the summer I noticed that the dandelions were beginning to take over and I knew I needed to do something before the situation turned into something out of a Hitchcock film (and you thought “Birds” was terrifying). So I did the only irrational thing left to me. I began to pick them. By hand. On my knees. In the hot sun. Needless to say I was less joyful that day than when my son and I had began this mess innocently enough by picking one flower. It only made things worse when my son came up and asked “what you doin’ daddy?” What was I doing? I was weeding my lawn. And as ridiculous as that sounds I realized that we all need to weed our lawns.
Of course I am not talking about the lawns that surround our homes but the lawns of our lives (how cheesy does that sound?). We begin activities, indulge in innocent joys, allow attitudes, ideas and passions to mature into idols and then when we walk out our back door one day we see our lives littered with the weeds that used to be so bright and beautiful but now need pulling. There is no easy way to do this and no way around it. You could mow over them from time to time to keep them “in check” but that isn’t going to take care of the problem. You must pull them up from the root. And that requires some difficult heart and soul work.
But this is work that we must tend to if we are going to persevere in the faith and show ourselves to be the people of God. Our lives are a display of the grace we have received and so we must work diligently to remove from them the weeds that would keep us from being lights shining on a hill. As Paul has said we must “mortify our flesh.” But we are not capable for this kind of work on our own. Romans 8:13 makes it clear that our work of sin-killing is only accomplished through the means of the Holy Spirit. Only God can help us to remove the idols. This is reminiscent of Col. 1:10 where we are told to live lives worthy of the Lord Jesus Christ. This looks like fruit bearing and growing in the knowledge of God. But in verse 11 we are told that our striving is not done alone but that we need to be strengthened with the power of God for this work. God provides what God commands. That is hope. That is the gospel.
Weed your lawn.