We’ve all heard or used the phrase, “I’m in the weeds.” Generally, it’s met with a small laughter of familiarity as the other person recalls when they, too, have been “in the weeds.” Just a simple phrase with which we are all accustomed.
I’ve recently been pursuing a new hobby - gardening. Now, when I say pursuing, I mean that I am a planned and calculated person and I’ve been researching, studying and taking workshop classes on gardening. I haven’t actually planted anything just yet. I’ll let you know how the actual endeavor goes this fall. But, as I’ve been studying gardening, one thing you must deal with on a consistent basis is weeds.
It takes the daily discipline of plucking the weeds from the garden to care for the crops. A weed is resilient and will not die easily. It sprouts up quickly and strangles the life out of a healthy plant by stealing the soil’s nutrients and blocking out the sun that is necessary for the plant to grow. Being “in the weeds” is more serious than the cavalier idiom it’s been assigned.
Second Corinthians 5:17 tells us that we are a new creation if we are in Christ. And, Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” When we come to know Christ, we are given a new identity than the one we were born into in this fallen world. We still have sin. We still fall short every single day. We still struggle. But, the hope we have in Christ is that the old ways of our sinful hearts don’t have to rule over us. God’s Spirit within empowers us to overcome sinful patterns. It’s our choice to either stay stuck in our old ways or to be renewed by the Spirit and experience freedom through Christ.
Even if we are allowing the Spirit transform us, we have to be resolved to not give into the natural tendencies of our old selves. Just like weeding the garden, it must be a daily practice of asking God to refine us into His image and uproot anything that doesn’t reflect Him so that our new self can thrive and grow and bask in the presence of the Son. And, interestingly enough, if you pluck weeds daily, it becomes easier each day to uproot them because they have not been given time to plant themselves firmly in the garden. The same is true with our old identities. If we exercise the daily spiritual discipline of allowing the Spirit to transform us, then our old ways and patterns will not take be able to root firmly in our hearts.
Satan knows we are at our weakest and most vulnerable when we’re tired, sick and busy. And, this is when he comes in for the kill. You know when everything bad in your life seems to happen all at once and all of your issues rise to the surface? Like the perfect storm? Well, that’s by design. Satan knows the more he throws at us and the more he pokes our wounds and deeply rooted issues, then it will deter us from living out of our God-given identities. It is so difficult to steady our gaze on our Savior when our little worlds seems to be crashing down around us. This is why we respond in anger, make decisions out of fear, act out and wear shame like a wet cloak. We have, in that moment, forgotten who we are and whose we are.
Satan knows the more he throws at us and the more he pokes our wounds and deeply rooted issues, then it will deter us from living out of our God-given identities.
Earlier this week, I was disciplining my oldest son for some attitude issues he’s been having, and I reminded him of who he is. We have this little mantra we say to ingrain into their hearts and minds who Christ says they are. We explain that knowing who they are should dictate their actions and words. Well, I was talking with him and quoting our “identity mantra” when he added in another word on his own. First of all, he’s five so the word didn’t even make sense within the context of the sentence. Second, God showed me this was a teachable moment, from which both of us could learn. I stopped him and said that we do not decide who we are (despite what popular culture says). Only God tells us who we are in His Word and through His Spirit. It’s not our place to add, change or alter our identities because they’re rooted in Him.
Only the One who designed you has the right and ability to tell you who you are. Self-help books can’t do it. Social media and Hollywood can’t do it. Not even close family and friends can define who your are. As daughters of God, we look to Him to define us.
Only the One who designed you has the right and ability to tell you who you are.
Sometimes life has busy and devastating seasons, and it’s in those times when spending time in the presence of Jesus is our lifeline. Staying connected to Him will keep us grounded so Satan’s distractions and discouragement won’t move us. Just like a strong and healthy oak tree may sway under the strength of the wind, but it will not fall because its roots go down deep in the ground. It’s okay to struggle through the pain and hardship, but when you place yourself in Christ’s hands know that your faith is held securely in Him.
There will always be an attack on our identity. It started in the garden when Satan came against Eve, and it continues today. Why? Because Satan knows who we are in Christ, and he knows that if we knew who we are in Christ, then his little games and antics wouldn’t stand a chance against the power of the God’s Spirit within us. So, when you find yourself “in the weeds,” then get in the presence of the Almighty. Allow the Spirit to transform you and pluck out anything that doesn’t reflect your Father. Cling to Jesus like your life depends on Him because it absolutely does.
When you find yourself “in the weeds,” then get in the presence of the Almighty.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”