Friday, September 24, 2010

A Garden Without Weeds

But I, God, search the heart and examine the mind.
I get to the heart…I get to the root of things.
I treat them as they really are, not as they pretend to be.

Jeremiah 17:10

Once, while participating in a healing conference, the leader took us through a spiritual exercise of seeing our hearts as a garden. “What do the walls look like surrounding the garden? Are they stone, a picket fence, what condition are they in or are there walls at all?” she asked. “Now, go into the garden. What is growing? Are there weeds? Any flowers? What about weeds pretending to be flowers?”

Continuing through the exercise, she reminded us that God knew the difference between flowers and weeds. The “seeds” we had planted in our spiritual soil would ultimately reveal their identity. And, no matter how relieved we were to see that our “weed seeds” didn’t really look that bad and perhaps the reasons why they had been planted could remain hidden, God still knows weeds.

It was a painful exercise. Looking at ourselves or our believing community and allowing God to point to the weeds pretending to be flowers is an exercise in humility. But the exercise doesn’t end. In identifying what is “pretend” God says, I want to get to the root of this weed. I want to do what one does with weeds in gardens.

It hurts when God starts pulling weeds. He does whatever it takes to get at the root. Afterwards I’ve discovered that my garden is pretty bare. But with humility comes repentance. What remains will be a garden without weeds pretending to be flowers but also soil that is ready for good seed planting.

Loving God, here is my heart’s garden. No matter
how painful, pull out every weed that pretends to a flower.
Plant in me seeds that produce true beauty and reveal Your glory.

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