noun1.a valueless plant growing wild, especially one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop.
As we walk around the neighborhood, the kids exclaim over all the flowers popping up. Actually, their enthusiasm is fueled by a few random daffodils, but most of what they see is henbit, or deadnettle (how's that for an attractive name?). My kids adore the petite violet blossoms, but I see something more. I see a pervasive weed that shoots up and overshadows gardens and otherwise healthy grass.
Analyzing the actual definition of a weed helps me discern the weeds in my own actions. What activities, pursuits... idols look attractive to the outside observer, but really pose as injury to the desired crop? They assume the role of "important" and "praise-worthy" but they fail to point to main goal of His glory.
Let me assert an example: she goes to church every Sunday. She attends every Bible study and says "yes" to the needs of others. Every ball thrown is caught. But, she is dead inside, the life choked out by the need to be recognized, affirmed by others, and identified by her achievements. Legalism fatigues her and pride frustrates all her relationships. She doesn't know how to extend the grace of God to others because she never learned how to accept it... truly plant it in her heart and let it grow. Salvation, check. Satisfaction in Him? Not so much.
Can you relate? I sure can.
The "good thing" idols can creep to a place of authority and we don't even recognize them. Like those "pretty" flowers otherwise known as weeds, they crowd out what should be growing there instead.
When my husband and I first moved into our house, we took extra time and energy to cultivate the yard into a plot of grass, not just weeds and rocks. I don't know what their technical Latin term is, but we possessed what I termed "Satan weeds"--these nasty, barbed thistle with a root that would shame some trees. Extracting them required gloves, a trowel, and no small amount of muscle. My husband, a landscaper by trade, managed to dig out the weed with a fair amount of finesse. Me? I trickled the ground with my sweat and left a gaping hole. After a few of these disasters, I was graciously dismissed to something more in line with my ability. My husband went over the barren ground and seeded and fertilized the scraped up dirt.
“If you uproot the idol and fail to plant the love of Christ in its place, the idol will grow back.”Since that first thrust of effort, our attention has dwindled. Henbit, dandelions, clover, and other various impostors have sneaked into the yard. My husband would cringe if I said this aloud, but some of it doesn't look half-bad. And most of it is a whole lot greener than the grass.
― Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Billy Graham shares the story of an Eskimo fisherman who had two fighting dogs, one black and one white. Whichever one he fed the most won. This story was used to illustrate our inner struggle with good and evil, but I say it could demonstrate our temptation to feed idols as well. If we don't allow God full authority to control our path, our identity, our satisfaction, our peace, we will allow other things (even seemingly good things) to creep in and fill the places we've pushed Him out of.
So, what does your yard look like? Are there a few weeds that need to be pulled up? What would the Gardener do with your space? What would He dig out? What would He cultivate and fertilize? Ask Him and then Let Him. (John 15:1-11)