The four of us stood there staring down at the beaten up patch of earth we had called our garden last summer.
The boys had fond memories of picking sweet pea pods and vines bursting with fat cucumbers. Now they stood numbly taking in the hard, cracked soil overrun with the healthiest crop of weeds in existence.
I explained to my row of boys beside me we needed to rid this patch of these nasty weeds and make the soil healthy again so we could plant our new garden. One by one they attacked the stubborn green clusters tugging, ripping, and falling back hard when the weed would partially give way.
Next they tried coming at the unsightly plants with troughs and rakes only to come away with handfuls of leaves and barely denting the packed soil around the root. And then just as they had begun, one by one they started giving up, declaring it impossible.
Their tired dirty hands hung low by their sides and once again we stood there staring at that patch of earth deeply rooted by terrible weeds and they wondered aloud if the garden would ever exist again. I told them all to sit down and rest beside our garden for a few minutes.
As they watched I began to dig away around a particularly stubborn weed. I explained how Satan wants our hearts to be like this. He takes the rich ground we have in Jesus and sows his weeds, thick, ugly, stubborn weeds. The soil looses it's value, it becomes hard, and the sinful weeds take deep root.
The only way to get rid of the weeds, the lies, bad habits, selfishness, prideful weeds, is to pull out the whole thing, by the root. I explained how just pulling off the top leaves, or the part you can see would leave a hidden root which would grow again and strangle our good seeds. I dug and clawed until I could pull out the whole ugly root and the boys marveled at how deep it had been inside the soil.
Keeping our hearts fertile for growing in God requires constant weeding, of the whole root. We looked at the blisters on our hands and talked about how removing some weeds from our lives might even be painful, but the healthy soil we leave behind in our hearts will grow sweet and delicious fruit. One by one the boys got to work again, now naming each weed they attacked something they wanted to work on in their lives. The garden became a discipleship ground they could visualize as their hearts. That day as healthy seeds were sown in our backyard, Godly seeds were sown in little hearts. And now every day as we water our garden, rid it of weeds, and watch our plants grow my little men talk about weeding their hearts, and the healthy things God is growing in them.