Matthew 23:25-26 25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
I live on the edge of town and my property is a couple of acres in size. There are some houses nearby, but for the most part, my property borders open fields. Needless to say, I deal with weeds on a regular basis. Added to this, our region has been in a severe drought for several years. This is a great formula for weeds. When I lived in town, and had access to water, I had a green, plush lawn. However, I still had to work at fighting weeds. One thing I have learned from all of this…I will always be dealing with weeds. There are several who live in town that have decided to concrete or gravel their yards. Weeds still show up in the cracks and through the gravel.
As I was pulling weeds (once again) the other day, I was reminded that I will always have to deal with weeds. Where I live now; if I do not do weed maintenance on a regular basis, then my yard will be overrun by them. In fact, there have been times where I did not take time to maintain the weeds in a timely fashion and they took over my yard. Some grew up to 6 feet tall. And they would grow thick like the under-brush of a forest. Furthermore, while cleaning these weeds out, it is not uncommon to encounter a rattlesnake or two. Little to no grass grows in these areas. The weeds give nothing back to the soil and use the shallow water before it can get deep in the soil to help other plants and trees. Bottom line, weeds require regular maintenance.
Another area that requires continual maintenance is my heart. Jesus warned the teachers of the law and Pharisees about cleaning the inside of their dish (the heart). Dishes are like weeds in that they require maintenance as well. Just cleaning the outside doesn’t take care of the bacteria growing on the inside. Cleaning the outside makes the dish look clean but does not make it clean. To do that would be deceptive. My heart is the inside while my appearance and persona(s) represent my outside. I do a lot of maintenance on my outside. I act certain ways for certain situations. I know the right phraseology for most occasions. I can play “Church” with the best of them.
My weed problem served as a reminder of the continual need for maintenance on my heart. In fact, when I looked at those weeds (around my house) that I let get out of control…once again…the first verse that came to mind was the above passage. I have mentioned in several settings that I tend to live my life for a destination and this constant drive to arrive. However, life is a journey. My heart requires continual maintenance. This maintenance ranges from scripture knowledge to emotional health. This would include messages about God, fellowship with saints, prayer time, fasting, challenges to my soul, etc. When I coast through life and do not maintain my heart, the weeds begin to grow. Then the work I have to do on my heart is a bigger task than it would have been if I would have just done regular maintenance.
The weeds are not always sin. The same goes for the dirtiness of the inside of the dish. It is not always full of bacteria. However, if left unchecked, in can manifest itself in sinful or at least unhealthy ways. When I deny my heart; when I repress my feelings; when I hide shame; those things I have denied, hidden, and/or repressed do not always resurface that way I left them. Like weeds, they grow and become a bigger problem. Eventually these weeds can be harmful and require a lot more work than I want to put in.
So, I must challenge myself to stop procrastinating and incorporate a regular heart maintenance program into my life. Otherwise, the weeds will require a lot of work.
1. What are some of the weeds you have let grow too large?
2. What have you done in the past to maintain your weeds?
3. If you have not done any weed maintenance in your life; what has kept you from doing so?
4. What stood out for you in reading this today?
5. This week, ask God to show you where your heart needs some maintenance work. Follow where that goes and ask God to help you along the way.
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