I hate mowing my lawn. I seriously do.
“Uh, Mr. OneCupofJoe, no one likes mowing the lawn.”
No, you just don’t understand. I don’t hate mowing, I just hate mowing MY lawn. I have a little less than half an acre, which isn’t too bad to mow. However, my half an acre is almost completely a hill…and not just a nice hill with a steady incline/decline. This is a mean, steep hill, and I am beginning to think it doesn’t like me very much. This is why I hate mowing my yard. Oh, and by the way, the front yard is almost as hard to mow as the back. For these reasons, I put off mowing as long as I can…and I pushed it off even longer because of the heat.
The other day I was mowing part of the yard (I mow it in phases when I do mow). Even though the lawn needed mowing, when I went over the actual grass I was barely shaving it. It had hardly grown at all since the last mowing. What I needed to mow was the weeds not the grass…which made me even more irritated.
It has been so dry and hot here, that I started to think that weeds grow better when it is dry because there is less competition from the grass that isn’t growing. God spoke to me through this, but before I talk about that let me share what I learned when I looked for the reason weeds grow faster and “better” than grass.
What most of us call weeds are plants with a ruderal growth strategy. What this means is that the focus on growth is using up all of the resources it can get for growth and reproduction, long term sustainability…meaning shallow roots and short lifespan. Unlike grass which has deeper roots but takes longer to grow and reproduce (and needs a lot of water and sun to do so). So weeds thrive when grass can’t, and this allows them to thrive more because the grass is not competing as much for the resources.
This lined up COMPLETELY with what God taught me as I mowed my weeds. The weeds outgrowing grass is just like us in relationship to God and sin. When we are not plugged into our source of light and water (the Holy Spirit…our Light and Living Water), then what we want to be growing in us won’t be. Sin does not need much “water” or “light” to grow. Sin is the weeds that grow in our heart and mind. When I am not growing in my walk with the Spirit, what grows in me is selfishness, laziness, pride, and lack of trust. All of these “weeds” reproduce as a number of more specific sins (like losing my temper, not being kind to LA, not putting other people’s needs before me). The root cause of these sins is me not being in tune with the Spirit (and through him, the Father and Jesus). The “good plants” are not growing in me, and space is made for the “weeds” to sprout up.
God being God lined up the perfect parallel to this as I read through my One Year Bible this morning. In Galatians 5, Paul was wrapping up talking about the difference between living under the influence of the law and living under the influence of the Spirit. Towards the end of the chapter is a section I am sure you are familar with, but very applicable to what God taught me about the weeds.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
I have been through many times in my life when I have seen less of the “good plants” of the Spirit and more of the “weeds” from my sinful nature. I think I am slowly turning the corner on that and starting to see a desire for what only comes from the Spirit and a closeness to him. I am getting tired of mowing the “weeds” in my life. I am ready for the Spirit’s “grass” to start choking out those “weeds.”
What about you? Are you seeing more “weeds” or “grass” in your life? Are you getting as tired as I am of mowing those “weeds?” What needs to change for you in your life and relationship to the Spirit?