Digging weeds out of the garden beds. What a chore. Years ago I used to use the old black plastic laid on the ground and covered in bark chips or mulch. It was meant to hold the weeds back. But given enough time those little rotters would pop to the surface with regular annoyance!
The good old RoundUp (weed killer) would kill it off… but within weeks the grass would pop up somewhere else in the garden bed.
I left it far too long and eventually all I had was a bed of grass and weeds. Not a flower in sight. Ugggly! One day I decided I had enough and would rip up the plastic and redo the beds. As I lifted that plastic layer, to my surprise, the grass runners were so prevalent just underneath the plastic. They ran everywhere. It was like a thick grass mat. No wonder it was a losing battle.
There was no point in just covering the bed over with new plastic and bark. It would look good for awhile…but eventually the grass would break through again. So I had to rip up all that grass. Digging down deep to remove every root I could find…I just knew that if I left just one, it would come back with a vengeance. I only wanted pretty flowers and no weeds.
It was hard work digging those beds up. I didn’t recover it with black plastic. Into that clean soil I planted the roses and flowers I wanted. Covered it in mulch. And waited.
Now I have the joy of beautiful flowering plants. Yes, weeds still arrive from time to time, having blown in on the wind, but they are surface deep without strong roots and are so easy to rip up if I do it early enough.
Well, this got me to thinking:
Before God put man on this Earth, He created for him a world of useful and pleasant things to delight him and to sustain him. In the Book of Genesis, we see this referred to simply as, “things”. These things were designed to be used by the man. They were meant always to be external to the man and subservient to him.
Deep in man’s heart, God created a place reserved for Him alone. A place that was pure and worthy for God to reside in. And God, who was in the deepest place of man’s heart showered upon the man thousands of gifts and ‘things’.
Then Sin, like the weeds, entered the picture and messed it all up.
Man’s woes began when God was forced out of this deep and significant place in man’s heart, reserved for Him alone, and ‘things’ were allowed to enter. This separation from God is known as Sin.
Within the human heart ‘things’ have taken over and the peace of God has gone. Just like that grass that took over my garden bed where beautiful flowers should have been. There’s no peace in that, I can tell you. So it is that we now have aggressive usurpers, called ‘things’, fighting among themselves for first place in our hearts.
Just as it was beneath the black plastic, so it is beneath the thin veneer and masks that cover our hearts today. On the surface it looks okay. For awhile. Then we observe the weeds breaking through and we try to cover it over, often. There is within the human heart a tough fibrous root of fallen life whose nature is to possess, always to possess. It covets ‘things’ with a deep and fierce passion. Like the seagulls, the cry of, “Mine, mine…” ring in our ears. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one root lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.
Our Lord referred to this tyranny of “things”:
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for you to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul? Or what can you give in exchange for your soul?
The first step is to place God back into His rightful place in your Heart. This is what Christians call, Salvation.
We must continue to clear the way to a deeper knowledge of God through relinquishing all “things” from our heart. It is like removing every root of grass and weeds from the garden bed. Leave just one and it will come back thicker and stronger. “Things” squeeze out God just like weeds squeeze out my flowers.
The blessed ones who possess the Kingdom are they who reject every external thing as having no authority, or binding force in their life, and destroy from their hearts all sense of possessing. They are what is known as, ‘poor in spirit.’
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The ‘poor in spirit’ have reached an inward state parallel to the outward circumstances of a common beggar; that is what the word ‘poor’ means, as Christ intended. These blessed poor are no longer slaves to the tyranny of things. They have broken the yoke of the oppressor; and this they have done, not by fighting but by surrendering. Though free from all sense of possessing, they yet possess all things.
‘Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’
So, what resides deep in your heart – God or “things”?
Note: The writing above was seeded through the works of AW Tozer.