Weeds always manifest themselves. They never hide beneath the earth and destroy in secret. They wreak havoc on gardens and choke the life out of them, even while they often masquerade as flowers, grass, and other harmless growths.

We must tend to the gardens of our hearts. Weeds grow daily there and aim to disturb the life-giving growth planted in us by God. In our foolishness, we lop off the top of the weed and expect the root to disappear with it. But, as any gardener knows, weeds reappear with equal, if not greater, ferocity unless we pull them from the root and get to the bottom of our problems. It takes time, commitment, vulnerability, and courage to address the root. Anyone can mow over the crabgrass in the yard when they cut the lawn, but that is merely a quick fix that will merely mask, and not eliminate, the problem. A lot of men may confess and admit they have a problem with lust, which often reveals itself in pornography. But unless they address the underlying motivations of their lust and inquire into their true desires and wonder what they seem to lack in Christ, they will likely see the pattern of lust pop up in another area, such as a thirst for power and control in.

The sooner we put our hands up and admit that we have a problem, and often are the problem, the sooner we will begin to come out of pride and self-righteousness, understand ourselves, recognize the importance of the Gospel, experience that truth landing on us, and place ourselves in a better position to pick up the spade and start digging into our own issues. Our issues punish us enough in our independence. But, when we bring others into the equation through relationship, we encounter a new depth of pain. Truly, unless we first deal with our own problems through repentance, honesty, and diligence, we will soon find that we force those closest to us take them on as well.

Men and women long for a relationship and immediately act on that desire by jumping into commitments that they are not prepared for. They fail to understand themselves and learn to love themselves through the acceptance that comes through the cross or take the time to dry up desires for things other than God that hide behind the word “need.” Rather than content themselves in Jesus by waiting on him and holding on to him, they run to immediacy in hopes of discovering sufficiency in a person who was not designed for that.

This is why we cannot afford to be reactive. The condition and health of our hearts are at stake, but our current and future relationships are as well. Do the digging rather than the clipping. It will be painful. It will be a journey. It will take time. But it will be worth the freedom that comes in Christ by his Holy Spirit.

Jared Odenbeck

Author Jared Odenbeck

Jared Odenbeck is a professional soccer player from Charlotte, NC. Jared graduated from Wake Forest University in December 2016 with a degree in English and Journalism. His greatest desire for his writing is that it would awaken the western Church to pure Gospel-centered truth and recapture the essence of unadultered Christianity.

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