"Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you." James 1:21 (NIV)
Ever have a reoccurring bad attitude drain the life right out of you? It can cause your spirits to wither and your joy to die, leaving you limp and lifeless like a water-deprived plant.
I was feeling that way recently when I remembered something my husband's mom had taught me. She is famous for growing wonderful herbs and colorful perennials. In fact, her garden boasts an array of color from the first hint of spring until late fall.
One day I asked her to share her green-thumb secret. She explained that the secret to helping plants thrive is called "dead-heading." Here is how it is done: As soon as any beautiful blooms begin to whither, fade, or turn brown, they must be removed.
I've discovered it is a tedious, never-ending task. Just when I think I have removed every dried up blossom, the next day a dozen more appear. But if I want my flowers to keep blossoming, I have to dead-head daily because the deceased blooms sap nutrition and strength from the core of the plant. They rob the flowers of energy that could be used for new growth.
However, if the dead and debilitating weight is properly plucked, the stems will give gorgeous petals throughout the entire life of the plant.
As I pluck my dead flower heads, I am reminded of my life with Christ. There are places in my heart, thoughts in my mind, and actions in my will that stem from bad attitudes. And they are nothing but dead weight to my spiritual life.
Often these deep-rooted thought patterns and their companions — doubt, fear, wrong choices, old habits, nursed grudges, or current conflicts — threaten to choke our growth and prevent us from displaying the splendor God intends for us to show.
We start our day hopeful yet give in to the hurtful. Our self-doubts or judgments of others often take root in negative thoughts and counterproductive actions that not only have the potential to ruin our day, but also affect those around us. However, if we are intentional in nipping these at their first appearance, we will be more likely to experience new growth in our walk with Christ and health in our relationships.
Today's verse from James tells us to get rid of such issues and instead to humbly plant God's word deep in our hearts. So, instead of dwelling on a temptation in our thoughts and allowing it to morph into sin, we quietly focus our hearts on a truth from scripture such as "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin." (Hebrews 5:14)
Dwelling on scripture empowers, rather than drains us. It is spiritual dead-heading at its finest. This switch in our thought pattern can save us from wrong choices, unhealthy relationships and self-inflicted heartbreak.
Could your heart use a dead-heading session? Are there faded blooms you have been carrying around that are sapping your spiritual energy and strength, causing heartache and tears? Get rid of the bad. Plant God's good Word in that spot instead. Then stand back — patiently now — and watch beautiful blooms begin to appear.
Dear Lord, I admit to You the faded flowers of my heart that I have been carrying around for much too long. Grant me courage to pluck them for good. Replace them with Your word planted seriously in my soul in an intentional manner. Let me drink deep of your bottomless nourishment so that the blooms You choose to grow and display in my life might point others to the Savior. In Jesus' Name, Amen
Gather some note cards, a pen, and colored markers. Get alone with the Master Gardener and ask Him honestly and earnestly to reveal those areas of your life that are sapping your strength and rendering you ineffective for His kingdom.
In your best grade-school attempt, draw some faded, brown flowers, one per card. Next to these lifeless blooms write something that has been sapping your spiritual strength and must be removed from your life. Now turn over each card and write a corresponding verse that helps combat these strength-sapping attitudes and behaviors. Decorate these sides, if you wish, with colorful flowers.
How does this spiritual dead weight my relationship with God? And with other people?
What part does bible study or scripture memory play in "dead-heading"?
Psalm 40:11-13, "Do not withhold your mercy from me, O LORD; may your love and your truth always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased, O LORD, to save me; O LORD, come quickly to help me." (NIV)
Psalm 66:18-19, "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer." (NIV)
Psalm 119:10-11, "I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." (NIV)
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