Weeds And Trees
Galatians 5:7 may well be the most misunderstood verse in the entire Bible. So many people can quote it. And yet, so few people really believe it to be true. How do I know? Just look at the way most people live. We live in a world filled with people who have seemingly no regard for the consequences of their choices or actions. From politicians to celebrities to athletes to Mr. and Mrs. John Smith sitting in the front row of the local community church our current culture has become characterized by a blind approach to this universal truth. The Bible makes it clear. Nature makes it clear. Thousands of years of human experience make it clear. The seed determines the harvest. You get what you plant. You reap what you sow.
But we act like none of that matters. We worship pleasure. We celebrate pride. We extol position and pride. We pursue possessions. Somehow we have managed to get so far off track that we no longer even recognize the extent to which we have strayed. You and I can’t just throw character and caution to the wind. We can’t. No matter how much our flesh might crave the things of this world, we are foolish to think we can indulge our every whim and not pay the price. It is true that God is no respecter of persons. And it is equally true that sin is no respecter of persons. Live a lifestyle contrary to God’s standard and you can be certain that in time you will grow to regret your choices. It’s an inescapable truth. You and I will reap what we sow. Bank on it.
Thankfully, that verse holds true at the opposite end of the moral spectrum as well. Sow righteousness, sow love, sow peace, sow gratitude, and any other of a number of positive traits and you will indeed reap the benefits and blessings. This verse is not just meant to be a holy limitation regarding ungodly behavior. It is also meant to serve as a spiritual encouragement. Yes, God sees our sin. And yes, we are accountable for the choices we make. But God also sees the good we do. And yes, that fruit also brings forth a harvest. His Word is true in both instances. Good or bad, right or wrong, righteous or unrighteous, you and I will reap what we sow.
However, the major source of confusion (as well as frustration) for most of us has to do with weeds and trees. We get discouraged because we fail to remember that not all plant life is the same. Huh??? Okay, I’ll explain. Weeds sprout overnight. They flourish and spread rapidly when left unchecked. But their root system is not very substantial. And with just a little bit of diligence and care even the most stubborn of weeds can be removed. Trees, on the other hand, take time to grow. Oftentimes they are fragile in the early stages and require much attention and protection. But in time their roots grow deep and they are able to withstand even the strongest of storms. Ever tried pulling up a tree with your bare hands? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Trees and weeds are not the same.
Generally speaking, sin is more like a weed and right living is more like a tree. The problem in our lives is not the presence of weeds. We are sinners saved by grace. On this side of eternity we will be subject to the failings of our fallen human nature. We are going to have some weeds in our lives. The issue is the proliferation of weeds. Look at the photo up top. That didn’t happen overnight. Sorry. Those weeds represent years of neglect and indifference. Forget a lawnmower. Don’t even think about a weed whacker. Nothing short of a tractor will solve that problem. Rather than dealing with the problem in its beginning stages, this landowner allowed the weeds to grow until they eventually gained total control.
Don’t neglect the weeds in your life. The things that seem small today have a way of becoming very big problems later on down the road. Don’t let your hurt turn into unforgiveness. Don’t let your anger turn into bitterness. Don’t let your desire turn into greed. Don’t let your longings turn into lust. Don’t let your indifference turn into apostasy. Deal with the weeds now before they have taken control of your entire life. Believe me, it’s much easier to pull a few weeds than to chop trees. Far easier to let the Holy Spirit correct you than for God to have to rebuild you. Be wise. Deal with the weeds. And start planting trees. Yes, it will take diligence and it will take patience. But in time you will be much more satisfied with the fruit from trees than the burrs from weeds.