When we moved into this house eight years ago, the gravel driveway was fresh. The former owners had just paid a lot of money for sharp new rocks, pointy enough to destroy feet. One attempt to cross the driveway barefoot was a lesson. No one over forty pounds ever attempted it twice. Weeds didn’t dare grow there; the layer of rocks was too thick and dangerous.
As time went on, the constant pressure of tires wore down the sharp points. The influx of dirt, leaves, snow, and rain built up layers of debris between the rocks. Then the children were born and they made it their mission to move large portions of gravel to other areas like the playhouse, the sandbox, the bathtub, and the side door pockets in the Buick. I find driveway rocks on the table, in their rooms, in their pockets, and in bowls on the kitchen counter. You know, because “I’m giving the rocks a bath, Mom.”
Yes, thank you. I hadn’t washed the rocks yet today.
This spring the weeds really started driving me crazy. I needed to mow the driveway every time I mowed the grass, which didn’t seem quite right. But still I ignored the weeds, hoping they would go away by themselves. I did start driving erratically every time I came home, hoping that my new traffic pattern would kill off some of the new growth. It did not. It did not work.
Finally I realized there were only two solutions–a whole new load of gravel, or some heavy duty weed killer. Since a load of gravel is several hundred dollars and weed killer is twenty bucks, I went with the weed killer. I spent my Saturday morning spraying down most of the driveway, inch by inch. It took forever. The teenager across the street finally yelled, “Are you watering your driveway?!” Apparently I looked as ridiculous as I felt, but I’m happy to report that two days later, the weeds are fading away.
The weeds in my driveway are a lot like the sin in our lives. We should have a spiritual environment that chokes the sin-weeds out. Our rocks should be fresh and pokey, a heavy layer heaped over the bare dirt. But as time goes on, life brings us things that allow those weeds to grow. We have a few bitter experiences here, a few troublesome friendships there, or a natural tendency to something “harmless” like gossip or greed that encourages sin. Before we know it the sin has taken over what used to be a pure, God-honoring life. We didn’t even realize it was happening, but suddenly we see we have a big mess.
If we are wise, we reset our spiritual lives and seek God whole heartedly again. We repent and ask Him for forgiveness. Then we get out the weed killer and remove any traces of sin. We change the subject when friends start to gossip. We pray and ask for His help to change. We switch the channel when the TV leads us away from God’s best. We spend more time in the Bible, reading and memorizing the truth. Romans 6:11-13 says:
11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. (NIV, biblegateway.com)
Counting ourselves dead to sin feels weird at first. It means we have to take what used to feel natural and right and admit that it separates us from God. It doesn’t matter what the sin is, or how long it has been part of our lives–discontentment, lying, coveting, stealing, sneaking, gossiping–God can’t use any of these things as an instrument of righteousness. What He can use are love, peace, trust, faith, contentment, and self-control.
So, let’s take stock of our weeds today. Are they out of control? Are they just starting to grow? Don’t put up with them! Get out the weed killer, and get them gone!