In my last blog, I wrote about my desire to increase the WANT TO serve God, instead of the HAVE TO. I asked the question, “How do you help people WANT TO more?
One of the answers is: weeding helps the WANT TOs.
The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but the cares of this world and the deceitful pleasures of riches choke the word so that it can’t produce anything. Matt 13:22
The bottom line is, there isn’t enough room in our hearts for God to really take root and grow, to transform us so that we flourish, to give us the vibrant life.
Our hearts are filled with “weeds” — worries, love for other things, the need to control, fear, bitterness. All of these things LEECH our love for God.
“All weeds steal nutrients, water, and sunlight from young crops, and a carpet of weeds can seriously stunt the harvest. . . all in all, the fewer weeds, the better off garden plants will be. ” Anna Kimble-Evans, Organic Gardening web site.
This statement about gardening is true of our hearts. The fewer weeds, the better off our hearts will be, and the more we will WANT TO serve God.
This seems like a pretty obvious statement, but as disciples, we have trouble seeing this. It’s hard to get a handle on anxieties and fears, they are so much a part of our makeup. We fill up our lives with all kinds of activities, things we say we’re doing for Christ, or things we tell ourselves we have freedom in Christ to do.
The irony is, we end up spend much of our resources on “husbanding” these things.
We succor our worries, nurse our bitterness, fertilizing our fears, indulge our comfort, and feed our pride with the pursuit of endless accomplishments. We race from insecurity by loading our schedule.
And then when it comes time to give more to God, we find ourselves struggling.
We hate that feeling. We feel guilty. We desire to WANT TO serve God more. But we don’t realize that we won’t WANT TO serve Him more unless we weed some of the things out of our hearts and lives.
We think that if we get inspired by how awesome God is, that alone will give us the motivation to go anywhere and do anything. And we do get jolts of momentum from time to time. But it’s not enough.
We keep waiting for our passion to increase, not realizing that passion doesn’t come from simply focusing on God, but from making room in our hearts and lives for God.
We need to carve out time for God. We need to spend time in stillness and meditation, allowing His word to sink in deeply, to transform us. We don’t formally keep it, but there is a reason God made the Sabbath important. There is a reason retreats are so helpful.
Also, we need to recognize and address the things that are sapping our energies during the day.
And we need help from one another. As I said before, it is super difficult to see the tangle of our heart clearly, to know what is really getting in the way, and what is okay.
No one wants to live in the land of HAVE TOs. God doesn’t want us to do that either, although there will be times we all need to obey even when we don’t feel like it.
Let us strive together to have a pure wholehearted joyful motivation, living out the dream that was realized in the first church —
They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47