Choose Your Weapon

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:

  1. Being able to identify the problem and knowledge of how to best treat or control it.
  2. Having the right tools, supplies, and equipment to handle the job.
  3. Having a treatment plan that can adapt to different seasons and conditions.
  4. Knowing when and how to execute the treatment plan.
  5. 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.

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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)
  4. 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)
  5. 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.

God’s blessings,

58 thoughts on “Choose Your Weapon”

  1. As a farm girl, I can identify with the struggle to control weeds and the multi-pronged approach needed. As a sinner, I most definitely identify with the struggle. Thank you for this open and sincere approach to the weeds (sin) in our lives and the effective solution (seek God’s pathway and praise Him for the gift of light and love, our Savior, Jesus Christ). Thank you, J.D. Beautiful message today.

    1. Glad you enjoyed Ms. Katherine. I just knew that the “weeds” analogy would resonate with you my farming friend. It doesn’t matter how much we seem to battle some, they keep finding their way back, don’t they? God’s blessings friend.

  2. Oh those noxious weeds that grow with the greatest of ease! Thanks for your thoughts on how we can, with The Lord’s direction, help the good seed to mature. Blessings.

  3. Amen JD. I have some of the weeds of sin pop up in my life again and again. I love your ideas of ways to combat them especially before they sprout up. None of us are without sun so we all need this kind of plan to battle them. Thanks for sharing.

  4. What an interesting coincidence, Brother. One of the tasks facing me later today is spraying the weeds in Mrs. Diane’s mulch beds around the house. It’s been two or three weeks since I took care of that little chore and it shows. All it takes is a couple of good rain showers and the weeds begin to pop up everywhere. Fortunately, they don’t represent a financial threat (except for the cost of the stuff that keeps them from taking over the whole bed), but Mrs. Diane likes for all the attention on her flower beds to be on the flowers and shrubs, and not on the weeds.

    But on to the thing I loved most about your post. It was no surprise to me that that new editions of the weeds I killed a couple of weeks have begun to pop up everywhere. I knew that was going to happen, because it always does. We have a fabric underlayment beneath the mulch that’s supposed to keep the weeds under control. It’s a nice idea and it does help, but the weeds find a way through it anyway. Your admonition to have a plan when it comes to handling weeds in the physical world is obviously wise on several levels, but extending that wisdom beyond the pasture and applying it to dealing with sin in our lives is more than just wise. It’s vital to fulfilling the mission we’ve been sent to carry out.

    One of things that came to mind as I read your insightful post was the parable that Jesus gave regarding the tares and the wheat (Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43). There was a reasonable question included in the story that is worth mentioning. Since they had only sowed good wheat seed in the field, the workers wanted to know where the tares came from. Jesus’ answer is telling and relevant worth remembering in our own fight in the never ending battle against the weeds that keep cropping up in our own life. Regarding the source of the destructive weeds, Jesus said, “an enemy has done this.”

    I know that the tares and wheat parable is teaching something a bit different, but it does suggest that in addition to the weeds that spring up from our own fallen nature, the devil is actively sowing seeds that attack our crops as well. He scatters sins in our path especially designed to fit in and grow unnoticed in our lives. It always helps to have a plan, and your inspiring treatment plans are a powerful strategy to counteract the debilitating effect of the recurrent sins that all of us struggle with to one degree or another.

    Thanks for doing for us once again what Jesus loves to do. You pointed out something we live with all the time and made it a lesson about Kingdom living and we are so very grateful that you did. Our prayers continue for God’s provision and for His special blessing on you and Mrs. Diane and all the Cross-Dubya family.

    1. The Parable of Wheat and Tares is a perfect example Mr. Ron. Great thoughts sir. Many people are unaware of that, but the “tares” that Christ spoke of in the parable was most likely a weed called “Bearded Darnel.” As it grows, it so closely resembles the wheat plant itself that it can be almost indistinguishable. By the time you can identify it (typically when anthers start to appear on the real wheat plant), the root systems of the two plants (real and imposter) are intertwined underground, and as the parable spoke, you can’t remove the weed without killing the wheat. Sins (self-righteousness, piety, other others found in churches today come to mind) can work much the same way. By the time they’re discovered, removing them results is a split in the church and folks are often harmed on both sides.

      You are so right in how Satan is busily sowing seeds of sin into our lives, even when some of us are sitting in church trying not to yawn or nod off while someone is speaking. Great points sir.

  5. J.D., we have weeds and we have our neighbor’s bamboo that constantly sends runners into our yard. Wonderful analogy. You have to stay vigilant protecting our hearts and our gardens.

    1. Amen Ms. Debbie. Bamboo and kudzu are two non-American-native plants, just like sin is non-native, that can sure take over things if we don’t control them. Great points ma’am. Thank you!

  6. As always, a great analogy! One of my favorite verses: Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to stand still.”


  7. We learn such rich biblical lessons from your ranch posts, J. D. Keep up the good work–writing and ranching. This morning I read today about our sin nature, which like the weeds, keeps us focused on the solution–submission to the Father.

    1. You are too kind Ms. Jeannie. How very true ma’am. If we’ll only submit to Him, then He will identify and help us to remove those weeds from our lives ma’am. Such an important point. Thank you.

  8. Another outstanding analogy for our lives, J. D.! Yes, temptations will come, but we need to be ready with the spiritual tricks of the trade. With God’s help, we can eliminate the weeds in our lives that threaten to choke us off.

    1. Amen Ms. Martha. We sure can’t do anything without Him, can we? Praying you and Mr. Danny had as much fun singing at your church as they did listening ma’am. God’s blessings on your ministry.

  9. Every time I see a weed in my flowers I think of those sinful weeds that attack our souls. I know if I don’t get the root out the thing just grows back. And pulling that one out doesn’t keep more from sprouting in different areas. Thanks for this wonderful lesson, J.D.

    1. Exactly ma’am. Farming, and gardening, is a great way to make God’s lessons very real in our lives. Perhaps because in biblical times, most were an agrarian society, we farmers and ranchers can more easily relate to the principles taught. Thank you for your comments ma’am. Please keep ’em coming.

  10. It’s hard to imagine a world without weeds and sin. They came hand-in-hand with the Fall. But I trust God can and will eradicate the sin in my life, little by little. As for the weeds in the world, I’m also looking forward to restored creation. We’ll enjoy it together!

    1. Absolutely. It’s hard to imagine, but I too look forward to our upcoming glorification through Christ. What will it be like to have a worry-free, pain-free, guilt-free day? Will we even remember what those things were? Oh, the joy that awaits us. Stay strong sweet friend, and I’m looking forward to sharing all that and more with you as we gather round the throne.

    1. Great point Ms. Barbara. We must constantly be looking for those weeds in our yards and we must daily ask God to point them out in our lives. In both cases, it’s always better to deal with them early. Amen ma’am.

  11. Excellent wisdom, JD!
    Whole-heartedly agree: “I’m so glad that God provided a treatment plan for sin in His Word.”
    He surely built that treatment plan and proper execution into the fabric of creation … just in case we chose our own way. Genesis 3 proves we did. Grateful for the strength and instruction of our holy Weed Killer!

  12. As a matter of fact, I’m working on a little weed control right now. Neglect, whether intentional or unintentional, still results in the same outcome. Those nagging weeds just won’t stop popping up. The good thing is we have the necessary combat tools. We just have to be willing to prioritize the time to implement them. Love the descriptive analogy, J.D. I think my field is looking greener!

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. Yes, fighting those weeds is a constant battle isn’t it ma’am? And when we neglect them, even for just a short while, they seem to try to rapidly take over, don’t they? Praying you yield those tools expertly my friend, I know you will.

  13. What a great and inspiring message! Bop is continually out in the yard trying to get rid of weeds, without hurting the grass. Here in the Lowcountry, we have various kinds of weeds. I’m thankful to know God holds onto me even though sinful weeds try to take hold of my life at times. Have a blessed day dear friend! 🙂

    1. Thank you ma’am. As Bop has probably learned too, there are times here in farm country when the most effective weapon against physical weeds can’t be used (e.g., herbicide restrictions during cotton-growing season). I’m so glad there are no restrictions on God, although I’ve been known to restrict Him from working in my life at times. He’s not “pushy”, but He sure is persistent. I thank Him for that. God’s blessings to you and yours precious friend.

    1. Thank you Ms. Candyce. That’s exactly my point ma’am. So glad you put in the work. It shows in all you do ma’am. And it shows in the lives of those you pour into also. I’m so lucky to be counted among those recipients.

  14. Wisdom for fighting the weeds. My garden didn’t fare to well this year mostly because we went to Israel about the time it needed weeding. Bah!

    But your outlook hits home. I’ve had a dickens of a time with a particular weed in my life. When I asked God to pump up my flat tire of free will, He said, “I’ve given you all you need. Use it!”

    Imagine the joy of not doubting how to handle that weed!

    Great commentary, Mr J.D. Thanks!

    1. Amen Mr. Warren. We must USE the tools God has already given us. As Abraham Maslow once said, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.” I’m so glad that in our spiritual life, Christ bore those nails for us and gave us the tools we need to achieve victory and control those weeds in our lives. Great example you shared my friend. Thank you.

  15. What a lot of weed control you must do there on the Cross Dubya. I never realized it was so specialized! Great lessons from it though for our Christian walk. I like that first one especially–that weeds don’t grow as well when there’s lots of green grass. We must never grow weary of the weed/sin control in our own lives of the means of grace God has given us in His word –read, preached, shared, and meditated and prayed over. I pray I’ll never let that become neglected and patchy in my life. Thanks for an insightful post, J.D.

    1. Thank you Ms. Kathy. I get about 15 hours of new learning each year to maintain my pesticide applicator licensing. Like God’s Word itself, there’s so much to discover and learn to be proficient. I’m so pleased you keyed on that point. The greener the grass, the fewer the weeds. That applies to both our fields and our lives, doesn’t it? Psalm 23:2 often comes to mind when I’m out in my pastures and hay fields, my friend. God’s blessings, and thank you for your encouraging words ma’am.

  16. Thanks, brother JD, for your wise analogy. Weeds in the beds and the lawn, weeds in in our lives. You’re right—only weed killer will work. Spiritually I plead the blood of the Lamb over my heart to get out the sin.

    “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh, precious is the flow test makes me white as snow. No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” Amen ✝️

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. Christ has done all the work for us, we just have to let Him apply His tools in our lives. Thank you for all your kind words and inspiring comments ma’am. I’ll be singing this throughout the day now. THANK YOU!

  17. What a great message/lesson for staying strong in faith and righteousness. Those sin roots are indeed going to produce sprouts, and try to overtake the good.
    This took me almost immediately to Hebrews 12: 1-3. One would think that at my age and with the time I’ve devoted to prayer and God’s Word, I would have, by now, conquered those sins which so easily beset me. But no, …
    “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
    Let’s keep looking to Jesus, thanking Him for Holy Spirit, every day.

    1. Amen! Come on Ms. Connie! That’ll preach right there my friend. If the great Apostle Paul was unable to defeat all those weeds in his life, what makes us think we can? The answer is, “We can’t.” Yet, we know The One who can, has, and will on our behalf. Amen sister! Like you, I’m looking so forward to that “finish line of our faith” when we hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

  18. Wow, J.D., this is an excellent post and analogy. I definitely need a treatment plan for those pesky weeds of sins and temptations before they show up in my life. You are right, my friend: prayer, God’s Word, seeking the Lord, asking the Holy Spirit for help are all ways to control the weeds that blook my spiritual path and make my intended “green pastures” from Pslam 23 full of weeds that rob my heart of God’s goodness and mercy on my path. Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration for yet another week.

    1. Hah! “Wisdom” is not a word I think of too often when I think of me my friend, but I appreciate the kindness. So pleased you enjoyed the post ma’am. God’s blessings to you, my buddy Mr. Russ, the girls, and little Miss Olivia. Oh, how I bet you melt every time you see her.

    1. Thank you Ms. Julia. Appreciate your comments ma’am. Yes, goatweed is the bane of my existence it seems. Every year, I fight the same battle over and over. Glad you enjoyed ma’am. How “Amy” doing?

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