Monday, May 21, 2012

Are There Weeds in Your Garden? Part 1

It was at the age of 14 when I surrendered my life to the Lord and let Him have the pen of my life. It was during this time when I fell in love with Christ and when His truth became crystal clear to me. It was during this time when He taught me (and is still teaching me) about holiness. I must have been reading John or else I don't remember how I stumbled upon this verse but God challenged me with it. It is John 14:15 :

 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

As a sinner and being new at all this, you don't really know how to discipline your body to be obedient, but I prayed that by His grace I would keep his commandments and asked Him to lead me in this path He was pointing me to. I remember that a couple of days after I prayed about it I stumbled upon these verses which tugged at my heart (and they still do until this day.) 1 Peter 1:16:

"since it is written, 'You shall be holy, for I am holy.'"

and Song of Solomon 2:2 :

"As a lily among brambles,
    so is my love among the young women."

I realized that 1 Peter 1:16 was a commandment God wanted me to focus on and take to heart. He wanted me to be a set-apart young woman, a young woman who is like a "a lily among brambles" (or "thorns", or for the sake of our analogy "weeds"). That is how different He wants us to be. How different He wanted (and wants) me to be. God began to point to every area of my life that needed to be purified and cleansed by Him to be made holy. He needed me to begin to pluck out all the weeds in my garden. Areas of my life that even included smaller, but effective changes such as my speech to the obvious bigger changes in my life. 

One of the most important "weeds" He led me to pluck out from my garden were all the bad influences in my life and that meant most of my friends, if not all. God convicted me of this when I was reading 2 Corinthians, these verses continue to be a big influence in my life.2 Corinthians 6: 14-18:

 14  Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15  What accord has Christ with Belial?[b] Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
    and I will be their God,
    and they shall be my people.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
    and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
    then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
    and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.” "

The hardest thing to do was to cut off close friends; people who I had trusted, opened up to,been through thick and thin, and shared beautiful memories with. Some I would see on a daily basis and others frequently, which made it all the much more difficult for me to separate myself from. Somehow, it was easier for me to identify those friends who were from the world and that I knew would not bring me closer to Christ, or that I could not have had any good influence on them because of their bad influence on me. God led me to separate myself from even people in my own church! Friends who I thought were better than my worldly friends, but after a closer look, God unveiled my eyes to see that in reality where you are physically (like church or youth group) doesn't determine where you are spiritually. 

It was a slow and painful process as I slowly but surely separated myself from them. It definitely wasn't like I automatically ignored them and pretended they didn't exist! And it definitely wasn't like I pretended they fell off the face of the Earth! But I did start hanging out with them less and less. Started to talk to them less and less and just stopped seeking them out as consistently as before. I made sure they knew about Jesus Christ before I began to slowly loose touch. I still call or message those close friends who really made a difference in my life to say happy birthday or to invite them to activities at my church. Sometimes to just see how they are doing and share the word of God with them. Some of them got fed up with me because of the life I was choosing and chose to stop talking to me at all. Sad (and painful) but true. 

You see, God wants us to be holy just as He is holy and that includes separating from those friendships with unbelievers that were doing harm and no good, or barely any good. Friendships that were constantly pointing me to distractions that kept me from focusing on my relationship with Christ. That kept me from going any deeper and tempted me to not make Christ the center of my life. That kept me from obeying the most important commandment of the Bible. Matthew 22: 36-38:

"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. "

By the time I had let go of most of my friends (not all, yet) I was like two months away from turning 15 years old and God was still doing so many changes in me. Working from the inside out and all around! It was amazing to see God's hand in my life. I remember this time of my life being quite lonely and filled with hardships but all of this made me see God as THE ONLY ONE who would never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5b “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”) As the only one who could fulfill all my needs. He became my only hope for a better life. I remember reading the Bible and all the promises He made to us and having faith they were for me as well. It was during this time of my life when I hung all the much closer to my Lord and Savior. He became my best friend and my only true friend. The impact of not having most of the bad influences (which were all of my friends, except about a handful) I had around made seeking Christ for and with everything much MUCH MUCH EASIER! 

Those friends I had would have put me down and helped dig a deeper hole for me by pointing me to other things to fill the void and the loneliness I felt. They would have been constantly pointing me to how hard life was being and led me to make horrible decisions. Even the handful of friends that I had left would entice or try to persuade me to make bad decisions (which was when I realized they too needed to be plucked.)I mean they weren't drastic bad decisions like drugs and alcohol but they weren't decisions based on God's word or what would be counted as wise decisions. Not having most of my friends around just helped me focus only on God and I no longer had unnecessary temptations or burdens. During this time Matthew 6:33 became my life verse (along with other ones): 

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

During this "lonely" time of my life I began to pray for friends, true friends. Godly friends. Real Christian friends that were completely surrendered. That had the same goals as me, that wanted and desired a life of utter-abandonment to Christ. And He eventually did, the beginning of last year I started cultivating friendships that pointed me to Christ always. They were friendships God put in my life. I learned a significant lesson and that was the importance of Godly friendships, even if they are just a handful of them or less.

I really did not think I was going to write so much and there is still so much I did not talk about, so I will be making a part two for this blog post.

It will include:

  1. Questions and concerns people might have towards this as well as excuses people usually say against this.  
  2. How you know when to separate yourself from someone in your life who is not being encouraging in you in your walk with God but doing the opposite. " God often removes a person from your life for your protection. Think before running after them."
  3. When you should stay friends with an unbeliever and how to be the right kind of friend to them. 

So are there any weeds in your garden?

Psalm 139:23
"Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!"

Hope you guys enjoyed this blog post and that it encouraged you!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the encouraging post, Laurent! You've shared so much truth! It's such a blessing to see the way you're allowing God to shape and mold your life into who He wants you to be! I know how hard it is to let go of's happened to me even with family! God is going to bless our obedience in the end, though, so it's all worth it! Thanks for sharing what God has places on your heart! :)