September 4, 2007

 

Dead-heading

By Karen Ehman

 

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)

         

Devotion:

I do not have a green thumb. Whatever color is directly opposite of green on the color wheel is the hue of thumb I possess. I can murder a house plant faster than you can say “terra cotta pot.” My mother-in-love is famous for her ability to grow the most beautiful things— tender and fragrant herbs that flavor her roasted potatoes or her lavender shortbread cookies; bright blooming annuals that display their splendor from May to September; flowering perennials that return year after year poking their heads through the blackened earth revealing vibrant blossoms. She even staggers her plantings according to when they bloom in our Michigan climate to ensure that there will always be an array of color from the first hint of spring until fall.

 

I, too, although admittedly not possessing her knack for nature, like to grow flowers and have tried my hand at an outdoor herb garden. However, it doesn’t come natural to me. I’ve had to read and study. And I have to schedule the required steps in my life just like an appointment: “Water herbs and flowers Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Feed plants with Miracle Grow on the first and fifteenth.” But the most important task of growing these plants was the first lesson she taught me. It’s called dead-heading.

 

Here is how it is done: As soon as any of those beautiful blooms begin to wither, fade, and turn brown, they need to be ruthlessly removed. I search out every one and carefully pluck it off of its stem. 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. It is important, however, to keep consistent. When dead blooms are left clinging to the flowering plants, they sap the nutrition and strength from the core of the plant. They literally rob the flower of the energy they could be using to grow new and colorful blooms. The faded petals are, in a sense, dead weight that keeps the plant from being its best. If properly plucked, however, the plant will bloom forth gorgeous petals throughout the entire life of the plant.

 

While plucking dead flower heads today on my own patio, I couldn’t help but relate this chore to my life with Christ. I know full well that there are places of my heart, thoughts of my mind, and actions of my will that are nothing but dead weight to my spiritual life. Today’s verse from James tells us that we are to get rid of such sins and instead to plant God’s word deep in our hearts. It not only can ultimately save us from a life separated from God forever, but it can save us from wrong choices, unhealthy relationships and self-inflicted heartbreak.

 

How about you? Could your heart use a good 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.

 

Related Resources:

The 7 Hardest Things God Asks a Woman to Do by Kathie Reimer & Lisa Whittle 

 

A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others by Karen Ehman

 

Do You Know Him?

 

Application Steps: 

Fetch yourself some note cards, a pen, and some colored markers. Get alone with the Master Gardener. Ask Him honestly and earnestly to reveal those areas of sin in your life that are sapping your strength and rendering you ineffective for the kingdom. In your best grade-school attempt, draw yourself 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. 

 

Reflections: 

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”?

 

Power Verses:

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)

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.Proverbs31.org