Usually when I'm out in the garden, or anytime I am left alone with my thoughts, I end up not really thinking anything at all, just repeating a bit of a song in my head over and over. This weekend was the same, until I started noticing this one weed's growing patterns. The little green leaves were very easy to pull up, but I hardly ever managed to get the root clusters up with them (which is what you want when you're pulling weeds in a garden). Eventually I figured out that this particular weed was sending long root fingers out under the ground, popping up lots and lots of these little green leaves and taking over a massive amount of space in a short amount of time. When I was able to get a hold of the roots, they were incredibly thin but incredibly long, and no matter how much I pulled up there were still more to find! By this point I was pretty annoyed, and I had moved this particular weed to the top of my kill list -- until I realized that the majority of the weeds in my garden were propagating themselves this way! They send out lots of little fingers in every direction to ensure that even if you think that you've gotten the main root cluster and the plant will die, the tiniest leaf shoots survive and the pest lives on.
As I was crouching in my garden, getting really angry at these little plants, I realized that this is probably exactly how sin works for the devil. When we're off our guard, not paying attention to our spiritual condition, he manages to sink some really big sins (weeds) in us that continually reproduce, sending out their little roots into every area of our lives. When we recognize the sin and our need for forgiveness and restoration, we yank up loads of the tiny little sins and think that we've gotten a handle on the problem -- but we missed the big root of the problem. Or, we attack the main sin, easiest to spot, without realizing how far into our lives the tentacles have spread.
Why is it that it's so easy for the weeds to survive, but the good things that we want to grow in our lives (like basil and tomatoes... or patience and love) take so much more work?