This spring, weeds attacked our backyard like something out of Jurassic Park. One got so big that when I tried to pull it out, I feared I might injure myself. Before I could find a spade to whack it down, I noticed that my daughter was actually pouring water on it. “Why are you watering the weeds?!” I exclaimed. “I want to see how big it will get!” she replied with an impish grin.
Weeds aren’t something we intentionally nourish. But as I thought about it, I realized that sometimes we do water the “weeds” in our spiritual lives, feeding desires that strangle our growth.
Paul writes about this in Galatians 5:13–26, where he contrasts living by the flesh with living by the Spirit. He says trying to follow the rules alone won’t establish the kind of “weed-free” life we long for. Instead, to avoid watering the weeds, he instructs us to “walk by the Spirit.” He adds that being in regular step with God is what frees us from the impulse to “gratify the desires of the flesh” (v. 16).
It’s a lifelong process to fully understand Paul’s teaching. But I love the simplicity of his guidance: instead of growing something unwanted by nourishing our own self-focused desires, when we’re cultivating our relationship with God, we grow fruit and reap the harvest of a godly life (vv. 22–25).