Did you ever meet someone who professed to be a Christian but nothing about their life resembled anything at all found in the teachings of Jesus? This is often cited as the reason many unbelievers shy away from Christianity – hypocrites in the church. This is one of the main reasons it took me so long to take Christianity seriously. I came to Christ later in life largely as a result of seeing so-called “Christians” acting in a very non-Christian manner and also encountering Christian pastors on television that seemed completely disingenuous. I had heard the phrase “growing in the Lord” but from my perspective, the Christian garden was full of weeds.
It may surprise you to learn that a garden filled with weeds was precisely what God had in mind. Jesus said this, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.” (Matthew 13:24-25 NIV) In this parable, the field owner elects to let the bad seed remain and grow along with the good seed because trying to remove the bad seeds before they are grown will only make things worse for the good seed. The solution is to let the good seed and the weeds grow together and separate them at harvest time. This is God’s plan for us as well. Believers and unbelievers will grow together until Jesus returns. Why would God prefer this arrangement?
The Bible makes it abundantly clear that our time spent in this world is largely a battle between good and evil. Our mission in this life is to learn the difference between good and evil in all its forms. We can’t truly know good unless we truly know evil. When we live in a garden filled with weeds, we will be sorting through good and evil on a daily basis. Followers of Jesus should not be intimidated by this challenge. Followers of Jesus are supported by the Spirit of God living inside of them as a guide and protector. In his ultimate wisdom, God has determined that the experience of mingling good and evil will be to our overall advantage, bringing us into the kingdom of God as experts in dealing with weeds.
So called “Christians” that say one thing and do another, are weeds that are placed in the path of true believers as a learning tool. Preachers that are only sharing the gospel for their own personal financial gain are weeds placed in the path of true believers as a learning tool. Without these weeds, we would be lacking all the necessary learning experiences that will make our relationship with Jesus whole and complete. It’s important for us to also understand that these weeds are not our enemy. The Bible tells us this, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV) The devil uses these weeds as a distraction from his more sinister plan. If we ignore the devil’s bait and move on with our pursuit of moving closer to Jesus, in spite of these weeds – we win!
On the surface, Christianity seems simple and easily understood, and in many ways that is true; however, once you become a believer, the complexity of Christianity reveals itself and your overall experience takes on a deeper and deeper meaning each day. Simply put, Christianity is about loving God and loving your neighbor – how that is accomplished in a world filled with weeds, is the complex journey that stimulates the life of a true believer every day.
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