I hate gardening.

Actually, it isn’t the gardening I hate. What’s not to like about watching seeds sprout and grow and produce food or flowers? It’s the prep work I hate.

This morning at oh-dark-thirty I was in our back yard to pull out some kitchen-island-sized lilac bushes. Because that area will look much nicer with pansies and petunias and other non-lilac flowers.

And the yard will have a much more open feel without the bushy business of the lilac bushes.

Or so I’m told.

To me, gardening is a lot like painting. Ninety percent prep work, and only ten percent fun and pretty.

I once told a buddy that if I happened to wake up one day with a paintbrush in my hand inside a really hot room, I’ll know I didn’t make it. One of my daughters overheard and asked, “What do you mean, Daddy? You didn’t make it where?”

Never you mind.

These lilac bushes were healthy. As in HELL-thy. They didn’t want to come out, not one little bit. And it took some pretty determined convincing to get them uprooted.

Kinda like most of the sin in my life. Can you relate?

Sin is fun.

How do I know? Because nobody has ever had to WORK at building a bad habit. Nobody ever enters a twelve-step program to learn how to get INTO bad choices.

God is like a gardener. He wants to create more space in our lives and replace undesirable things that have taken root in our lives with things that are pretty and have a sweet fragrance.

But my roots don’t come up easy. Because like the packed earth this morning, I don’t wanna let go.

On the other hand, we can’t lead others into Godly worship if we’re not willing to sacrifice OUR ways and habits, and practices.

If we’re not willing to let God remove those roots from our lives, the only choice he will have is to remove US as the root of the problem.

Jesus’ response to his disciples about the religious leaders in the first century is telling:

Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”

     Matthew 15:12-14 NLT

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians he shows us a better way:

Just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

     Colossians 2:6-7 NLT

Just like Follow The Leader. We continue to follow and mimic Christ. As our roots grow into him our faith will grow so that we can lead others in the same pattern.

Today, ask God to tend the garden of your life. To uproot and remove what doesn’t reflect him. And to train your roots to grow deeper into him. So that you may point others to Christ.

That’s worship.

–Pastor Steve.