I am not much of a green thumb nor am I very familiar with different types of grass, plants, or trees but I do remember spending some of my summer months during my teenage years pulling weeds in different yards within my local neighborhood. As I reflect back on the countless hours of pulling weeds in the garden under the hot sun, and taking breaks under the shade provided by nearby trees, I can see a comparison between those summer activities and our pursuit of purity and wholeness as men of God. Let’s look into that correlation a little more.
Any quick search on the internet will show us that weeds can negatively impact our environment, local agriculture, and even our health. For these and other reasons, we can spend a lot of money and countless hours trying to get rid of them. Plus, aside from the negative impact that weeds have, many of us simply consider them a nuisance and an ugly sight in our lawns and gardens. To put it simply, weeds cause more harm than good. Now I ask you to consider seeing sinful opportunities in the same way. As men of God, there are dilemmas that we face on an almost daily basis between what is holy and right and what is selfish and sinful. Opportunities to indulge in sexual immorality, pornography, secret lust, etc., will negatively affect our relationships by creating distrust, hurt, and deep pain for those we say we love and care about. Sinfully blatant behavior, like weeds out of control, will affect the way we relate to others by leading us to engage in patterns of lies and deceit to cover our secret activities. In addition, these selfish and sinful behaviors can affect even our emotional and physical health as we try to deal with shame, regret, and secrecy. Weeds left alone will soon choke out that which is healthy, and sinful opportunities do exactly the same thing. Whether it is weeds that you deal with or sinful and selfish choices you must stand firm against, both seek to bring destruction to that which is good.
On the other hand, we know that trees have many benefits. Those benefits could be as simple as giving shade on a hot day or a place for animals to rest and birds to nest, to more important benefits like giving fruit that provides nourishment and energy, or even producing the oxygen on which our very lives depend. The Bible says in Psalm 1:3, “They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” And Proverbs 11:30 tells us, “The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.” Trees provide respite, rest, food, and life, and our lives can also produce these very same benefits. As men of God, when we choose to walk in purity and wholeness, we are making choices that create an atmosphere of life. We are choosing trust over distrust. We are choosing integrity over dishonesty. We are choosing purity over impurity, and we are choosing others over self.
Will we live life choosing behaviors that are negative and harmful, leaving behind a path of destruction just like weeds running rampant? Or will we live life like a tree, firmly planted, providing rest, nourishment, respite, and life to those who are near to us? As men of God, we can allow the weeds of this world to sprout up all around us, or we can plant the roots of our character into an eternal soil that will lead to a firm foundation and help us flourish into fruit-bearing trees. Which choice will you make today?
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