When it comes to weed control, we have many options to choose from here at the Cross-Dubya ranch. For row crops (fields planted in rows like corn, wheat, or cotton) we can use a cultivator to clear the weeds between the rows. For the occasional weed in Ms. Diane’s yard, we can use a weed puller. When they’re more plentiful (spring), the fifteen-gallon tank sprayer and spray boom to cover a twelve-foot-wide swath works well. In the garden, it’s a combination of cultivator and hoe. But in our pastures, where weeds often come from neighboring farms and ranches, and from hay fed through the winter, we find ourselves going for the big guns.
What are those you might ask? The 200-gallon, three-point boomless sprayer. It delivers a thirty-foot band of herbicide to stop the growth and spread of pesky and sometimes noxious weeds in our pastures. So why is controlling weeds so important? A few reasons are that weeds use up precious nutrients and moisture from the ground, they crowd out the summer grasses, and some can be harmful to the livestock. Another good reason is that I love to look out and see lush green pastures, not ones dotted with yellow bitterweed, purple nightshade, and white goatweed and milkweed flowers.
You can guess what we’ve spent the last week doing again, can’t you?
This had me thinking about the spiritual implications of weed control in my life. We all have a few of those pesky sins and seemingly favorite temptations that seem to return season after season. Oh, well, maybe that’s just me. I prayed and asked God to show me where they were hiding and help rid me of them, and the Holy Spirit led me to think more.
Some of those sins seem to return, which is evidence that former treatments have not been effective. I’ve been fighting goatweed and nightshade in my pastures every year for the past ten years. Every summer, they come back. Some years, much less than others. This year though, because the conditions were right, they went crazy. As a result of the drought over the past couple of years, my summer grasses are not as plentiful (they died out last summer) in the west pasture. The north and south pastures are relatively weed free (more grass survived), there’s far fewer summer weeds.
Lesson One: Weeds don’t grow nearly as easily where there’s green grass.
Why do they come back each year? Using goatweed (my nemesis) as an example, I can spray Patriot™ herbicide, which is safe for my grasses but deadly to that weed, but next year some comes back. Why? Goatweed has a taproot that reaches deep into the ground. While my herbicide does a good job of controlling the weed, it doesn’t always kill the plant’s root. Hmm, I wonder if that same applies to certain sins we don’t seem able to rid ourselves of? Perhaps a sin has embedded itself deep in my soul? There’s a fix for that. Earnestly seek God and ask the Holy Spirit to help you surrender to His work to help you control or kill off that sin completely. As I mentioned in last week’s post, sometimes God wants us to carry that cross for a while so we can learn how to control ourselves and it.
Lesson Two: We don’t always kill the roots, resulting in their return.Sins can embed themselves deep in our souls, requiring the supernatural power of God to remove them. #RemovingSin #PowerOfGod Click To Tweet
When controlling weeds around the ranch, it would be ideal if we could spray a pre-emergent, used before the weeds appear above the ground, but that’s not always feasible. For one, pre-emergent herbicides won’t prevent every type of weed. Second, because it doesn’t, it isn’t cost-effective to treat twice. The key to effective weed control is having a treatment plan. I’m so glad that God provided a treatment plan for sin in His Word.
Lesson Three: You can’t always prevent every weed or sin from arriving at your doorstep. We need a treatment plan.
The best treatment plan for weed control is having one that is flexible enough to adapt to a changing environment. When we have mild, wet winters, and plentiful rain during the spring, I know that weeds are going to be more prevalent. I also know weed control is going to be more costly in those years (more treatments needed). Another part of the plan is knowing what to do for the different weed types and locations. This requires learning how to identify the weed and determining the best method of controlling it. The last part of the plan is being prepared to execute it. This consists of having the right tools, equipment, and skills needed to use them effectively.
Lesson Four: The best time to make a treatment plan is before the problem occurs.Controlling weeds and overcoming sin have a lot in common. #SinSpreads #RemovingSin Click To Tweet
I hope you’ve understood that effectively controlling weeds in a pasture or field is a lot like learning to control the power of sin over our lives. The keys are:
- Being able to identify the problem and knowledge of how to best treat or control it.
- Having the right tools, supplies, and equipment to handle the job.
- Having a treatment plan that can adapt to different seasons and conditions.
- Knowing when and how to execute the treatment plan.
- Choosing the right weapons for the battle and a willingness to employ them.
There were several tools and techniques mentioned in my never-ending battle to control weeds around the Cross-Dubya. I wanted to end with my suggestion for five sure-fire ways to identify, treat, and control or defeat sin in our spiritual lives.
- Prayer: Ask God to show you the sins that crop up in your life at different times and in different seasons. Some are recurring and we can defeat some permanently. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you, through conviction and spiritual guidance, where those are and how best to handle them. (Job 13:23, Psalm 139:23-24)
- God’s word: By studying, memorizing, and applying it in your life, you have a powerful tool at your disposal. The supernatural power of God within you. (Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
- Fellowship: The strength found in true fellowship with other Christians can often make a huge difference in the effectiveness of your spiritual walk. (Hebrews 10:24, Proverbs 27:17, and Ecclesiastes 4:11-12)
- Seek God: By always seeking God’s guidance and relying upon His presence in your life, better prepares you for the battle. (Proverbs 18:24, 1 John 5:14-15)
- Employ the tools God will equip you with: Know that He will fight for you when asked. (1 Corinthians 10:13, Ephesians 6:12-18)
I pray this week’s post has shared learning and encouragement as you fight both weeds and the temptations to sin in your life in the coming days. It seems we are being more and more pressured by both while this world groans as Christ’s return grows closer. We can’t stop either from invading our lives, but we can be better prepared to battle them. Choose your weapons wisely.