See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many (Hebrews 12:15).
Obviously I did not invent it, but I have used the garden metaphor with my kiddos to teach them about sin. So they both know that our hearts are like a garden. What we plant, will grow there. Sometimes weeds can creep in, even if we do not want to grow them; and if we do not pull them up, eventually the weeds can choke out the flowers. When my Sweet Girl was 6, she would tell me, “Mommy I pulled a weed out today” and I would know just what she meant. Our verse for this was: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it (Prov 4:23). The important things to remember here are: (1) we are responsible for what goes on in our hearts and (2) the content of our hearts determines the content of our thoughts and actions.
God is very concerned with the state of our hearts. “I, the LORD, search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” (Jer 17:10). And Jesus said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander,pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person (Mark 7:20-23). We can fool other people and even fool ourselves sometimes, but we never fool the LORD. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart (Prov 21:2).
Thankfully, He gives us the Holy Spirit to help us to “pull weeds” and “plant good seeds”. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules (Ez 36:26-27). This is what David was talking about when he said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me (Ps 51:10). The Holy Spirit will do the work. But for our part, there is something we can do!
- CHOOSE God. “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15).
- Plant God’s Word in your heart. That seed will produce good fruit! How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth (Ps 119:9-13).
So today, see if there is any gardening to do in your heart…pull some weeds and plant better seeds! And let the Holy Spirit have His way with you – He is the best gardener of all. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-25).
JustaGirl…just like you