This summer, cultivating has been a common occurrence on the Beran family farm and in my heart. My husband has been tilling the soil and uprooting weeds in our fields while God has done the same in me. The work the two farmers have done is important and makes a difference, but today as I walked past one of our fields I was reminded that sometimes cultivating is not enough.
I was struck when I looked at the field my husband had cultivated twice...he'd spent hours attempting to remove weeds and after he'd passed through the field, it looked like he'd succeeded. But as time has passed, it's obvious that some of the weeds are still there.
So, what does my husband do? He sends out the bean walkers...my older children and others, who walk the field and pull out the weeds. This is a more time consuming job than cultivating and it takes more effort, but in reality the work done by hand is more efficient.
Though that method is efficient it is still does not remove 100% of the weeds. My husband has cultivated our field and the bean walkers have covered the ground, but there are still weeds. As I observed the field, I was reminded of my husband's words, "We're going to have to get the machetes out." Friends, if you are unfamiliar with a machete it is a giant sword like knife that can do some damage!!
As I thought of his statement, I was reminded of God's work. I've shared about the cultivating God has done in my heart...He's tilled the soil, pulled some weeds and made my faith grow. By removing some weeds, I've been given a clearer picture of the weeds that are big and still growing...the ones that keep coming back.
Currently it seems God is addressing two weeds in my life - the lies I believe about myself, specifically the thought that I'm not good enough. Which feeds the other weed...the fear of what others think. Over time God has dealt with this, but the problem still exists.
Recently thoughts of not being good enough have resurfaced...I've felt like a failure, like I can't do anything right, like somebody else could do it, whatever it is, better. In the past, I've actually doubted God could use me, but He's uprooted that weed and I know He is all-powerful, sovereign and able to do what is impossible. So though I know He could use me, I've honestly wondered why He would want to. I understand that is a lie from the enemy, and it's one I need God to remove.
He also needs to remove my fear of man and addiction to their approval. God's done some work here as well...I've stepped out of my comfort zone and had conversations I thought I'd never have, I've quit hiding behind a mask and am willing to share my faith. Though it looks a bit different this weed has come back...recently God showed me how I was worried about what more mature Christians thought of me and the things I did. I was longing for their approval when honestly it's ONLY His that matters.
Friends, these are weeds that I've dealt with all my life and I'm afraid they have roots that go deep. Weeds that require a machete. Ones I must let God cut away!
God has a tool that is capable of the work I need Him to do...His living and active Word is more powerful than any machete on our farm. "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
I recently watched my oldest son use the machete to cut away weeds...he was careful not to cut the beans and in one clean cut the weed was gone. As the scene unfolded in front of me, God spoke to my heart - "Jill, my daughter, my sword is sharp, but I am gentle. Allow me to use it in your life, let it cut deep and through the weeds in your heart. Just like J.D. is improving the condition of the field I can do the same for your heart. When your husband, the owner of this land, works with Me, the Creator of it, the plants bear more fruit and my child when you do the same, you'll experience similar results."
After that conversation with God, He led me to His Word. He's given me 4 verses that I pray will be living, active and penetrating in my life. Friend, can I encourage you to allow God to do His work? Whether it's cultivating, pulling weeds by hand or cutting them with a sword...He is the One who knows exactly what we need! And may we always remember that He will finish the work He begins!
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Fear of man will prove to be a snare,
but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
On the contrary, we speak as those APPROVED by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
(1 Thessalonians 2:4)