The Wise Gardener and His Servants
The Wise Gardener readied his flowerbed to plant seeds in the morning. He had prepared the ground with great care in previous days, and on the sixth day he set to planting his seeds. Once the seeds were planted, the wise gardener charged his servants with watering the seeds until they grew and produced fruit. One day, as the first servant was preparing to water the seeds, she noticed that weeds had sprouted in the garden. She knew if she did not do something the weeds would quickly choke and kill the growing seeds. So the first servant got the pruning sheers to cut the weeds—it would be the fastest and easiest way of getting rid of them. But soon the weeds grew back and in greater number, and a second servant saw them. He thought he could crush the weeds and stop their growth by covering them with mulch, so he quickly gathered more mulch and covered the weeds, but a few weeks later the weeds had grown through the mulch and were even closer to killing the growing seeds. Finally, a third servant came across the weeds. Immediately after seeing them, he ran to the wise gardener to ask him what to do.
The wise gardener told the servant, “The only way to be rid of the weeds completely is to kill the weeds at the root.”
It would be dirty work, but it was the only way to truly be rid of the threatening weeds. So the third servant got a spade, got down on his hands and knees, and began digging. He dug through the extra mulch the second servant had dumped on top and he got to the roots of the weeds. It was hard and filthy work but one by one, the third servant pulled all of the weeds out, leaving the seeds to safely and freely grow.
The wise gardener is God and we—His created children—are the seeds he has planted. The weeds growing in the garden are our sins, the sinful nature within us all. The wise gardener’s servants are also people, some teachers, some preachers, some misguided believers. The first servant wants the easiest and fastest way to get rid of the weeds. She is not thinking about a long-term fix or even the right way to fix the problem—she just wants the easiest way. This is when we try to rid ourselves of sin by our own power, trying to be done with sin without confessing it and repenting of it. That’s when we simply say, “I’m sorry for watching porn again, I won’t do it anymore”; “I’m sorry for losing my temper, I won’t do that again”; "I'm sorry for spreading gossip, I won't do that anymore"—but we don’t do any actual work to kill the root of the sin. The second servant doesn’t necessarily want to get rid of the sin, he just wants to cover it up. This is when we delete history or lie about what we have been doing or where we have been with no real intention of giving up the sin. All we want to do is cover the sin up, not kill it. The third servant, however, runs to the wise gardener as soon as he sees the weeds. He knows he does not know how to solve this problem on his own and he seeks the help of the one who does. This is the person who turns to God when sin creeps into his life. Once the wise gardener tells him how to properly get rid of the weeds, the third servant is faithful to put in the work, get his hands dirty, and get rid of the weeds at their root. This is the person who turns to God when sin creeps into his life. He accepts God's instructions and puts in the dirty work of confessing and repenting of his sins and dying to his sinful nature.
"So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus." (Romans 6:11)
Jesus used a lot of plant metaphors in his teaching, and in John 15 when he describes himself as the true vine, he says God is the gardener (John 15:1). The dirty work of ridding ourselves of our sin is confession and repentance. It isn’t pretty but it is how God instructs us to deal with our sin once we put our faith and trust in Him.
“When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” (Psalm 32:3-5)
If you are living with a constant sin that you have not confessed and repented of, give up the easy and quick way, stop trying to hide the sin, and do the dirty work of killing the sin at the root: confess and repent of your sins to the Lord and those you are sinning against (James 5:16, Acts 19:18).
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.