I really enjoy biking on the B&O Trail near my house in Brownsburg, Indiana. It’s a beautiful 8-mile paved surface that goes through a pleasant mix of town and country scenery. But it has a problem. The invasive honeysuckle has gotten out of control. So, a few times each year the local Parks Department, in partnership with the B&O Trail Association, sponsors what they call a “Weed Wrangle,” the most recent one having been January 27th when about 7-8 volunteers, including me, donned our combat gear (jeans, work gloves, safety goggles), took our weapons in hand (chainsaws, handsaws, and lopping shears), and went to war.

It’s not easy work, but it’s necessary. Otherwise, the honeysuckle and other “invasives” will keep crowding out the native plants and pushing ever closer to the trail, causing their branches to get in the way and their roots to push up from under the asphalt, creating a less-than-pleasant experience for bikers and hikers.

It seems to me the application to our spiritual lives is pretty obvious: if we don’t make the effort to “wrangle the weeds,” then not only do we suffer the consequences, but other people are also kept from experiencing the blessing of God that might otherwise flow through our lives into theirs. The writer of Hebrews states it very succinctly in chapter 12, verse 1, where, after praising many heroes of the faith in chapter 11, he says this:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. (New International Version)

Are there sins in your life that need to be weeded out? If so, maybe it’s time to honestly confess them and humbly ask God to help you wrangle them. You might also do well to invite a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor to help you in the process. Who knows what new freedom, strength, and joy you might discover in the not-easy-but-necessary struggle?

Prayer: Loving God, sometimes the most destructive tendencies in my life tend to be hidden behind lovely honeysuckle flowers. Open my eyes to see the truth, give me humility and courage to face it, and wrangle the weeds in my life, so that all (including me) might know the beauty of You living fully in me. Amen

Dave Marty is a retired pastor who lives with his wife, Mary, in Brownsburg, Indiana. They have two beautiful daughters, two great sons-in-law, and two creative teenage grandchildren. In addition to cycling (including unicycling), Dave also enjoys gardening, Scrabble, hosting Holy Land tours with Mary, and tutoring kindergarteners at a nearby school