If the sun isn’t enough to bake the sanity out, the carpet of weeds will surely drive one to the ward. I’m looking at a forsaken landscape bed along the wall of a house, and I can’t tell where the bed ends and the lawn begins. The boss tells us that we must renovate the bed and I look at him like he had just told me the joke of the day, only to see the inevitable in his face: he’s serious.
Landscaping is not a placid occupation. It’s dirty, smelly and sweaty. It breaks backs, twists ankles and scuffs knees. It strengthens willpower and rattles laziness. Yet after the hands are calloused, and dirt seeps into the bloodstream, looking at the finished job is a reward that nearly surpasses the paycheck. When a landscaper can rest, knowing there is nothing else to do, smiles are only natural.
But before the smiles are the weeds--the weeds that must be removed. Weeds that imbed themselves into the deep into the earth are the collective archenemy of landscapers everywhere. Looking at a landscape bed covered with the forest of weeds is akin to the standoff between Harry and Voldemort, or Skywalker and Vader. Nothing is as tiring as eradicating weeds from a landscape bed gone awry. First, a pickaxe must be used to loosen them from their foundation. This step is by far the most grueling; try it and see. This first step effectively reduces a landscaper’s stamina to nil. Next, a landscape bed rake is used to pull them into piles. After this, the piles of weed corpses are shoveled away into oblivion, leaving many fragments still in the dirt, which, if left alone, would only propagate more weeds in the future. So these fragments must also be raked to further solidify the eradication process.
At this point, plants are ready to be planted into the bed--but the war with the weeds is still not over. Weed prevention is key to enjoying a house’s landscaping in future years, and this is done by laying down plastic or fabric sheeting on the entire surface of the landscape bed; this greatly reduces the chances of weeds growing.
Weeds are a formidable force. Some weeds are easy to remove, while others require extensive effort. Certain weeds have roots so deep and structures so complex that pulling them out inevitably leaves root fragments deep in the ground, unable to eradicate. These fragments eventually grow back into the weeds they once were. Weeds like these are the epitome of what it means to be “stubborn.”
While removing some particular stubborn weeds one day, I thought to myself, “Am I a stubborn weed?”
Christians do not belong in this world that is governed by sin, death and the Devil. Just like weeds, we are not wanted here. Christians must be stubbornly rooted in their faith. We must know what we believe and why we believe it. Most importantly, though, we must remember who we are in Christ. Knowing our identity ensures us to be the strongest, most stubborn weed in the landscape bed.
Those who have been beaten and shaken in their faith know firsthand what it’s like to doubt faith and doubt God, but although they doubt and stumble, they don’t give up on God because they know who they are in Christ. They are like the stubborn root fragments that remain untouched by the Devil’s plucking hand. Although they’re wounded, they’re not dead; they’re not removed from the landscape bed. They make the Devil sweat because their deep roots in Christ are never shaken.
Do we make the Devil sweat? Do we make the him cringe? Do we make him struggle?
We can’t afford to let Satan pluck us so easily. We can't give him reason to smile and finish his job. As long as weeds are in Satan’s landscaping, he will continually be attempting to pluck us out.
Landscapers love easy weeds, and so does the Devil. I want to be stubborn and give our Enemy callouses. The closer that weeds grow together, the harder it is to remove them. Christians must remain close to one another and work together if we want to stay rooted in Christ. Let’s rub shoulders and help one another dig deep, embedding ourselves in Christ. We must dig into the Word and soak in its life-giving water and encourage one another daily (Heb. 3:12-14) so that we can become the strongest weeds in the bed.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17)
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Col. 3:1-3)
“For in [Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” (Col. 2:9-10)
“You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (2 Pet. 2:9)