When You Know What's Important, You Find the Courage to Be Ruthless

When You Know What’s Important, You Find the Courage to Be Ruthless

I remember weeding our very first garden with white knuckles, in a cold sweat. All the sprouting vegetables in our tiny plot looked sort of alike to me. The weeds were just as green and leafy as the seedlings we’d planted, so I proceeded with great caution. Too afraid to be ruthless, I left behind anything that was questionable, and, therefore, did not do a very thorough job.

Thirty one years and thirty one gardens later, I can practically tell a bean seedling from a weed blindfolded! I turn over the soil with my finger tips as I yank out any and all offensive, unwelcome interlopers by the handful.

I am determined that all the goodness of the soil, all the refreshing rain that falls, and all the strengthening rays of sun should be soaked up by hardy tomato plants and deep rooted beets. My garden should be the sole property of bright orange squash blossoms and the juicy green peppers that go crunch in our summer sandwiches.

When you know exactly what you are protecting, you dare to be ruthless.

What Needs Uprooting in Your Life?

While I’m uprooting milkweed, witchgrass, and ropy yards of Virginia creeper, I’m creating space for all the goodness of fresh vegetables. When I cultivate habits of holiness in my life, I’m crowding out other habits that will take me further from God and further from the woman of faith I long to become. I know what I am protecting, so I want to be ruthless in cultivating a life wholly devoted to God’s Word, to regular prayer, and abundant production of the fruit of the Spirit.

When you know exactly what you are protecting, you dare to be ruthless.

Elisabeth Elliot offers this counsel:

Jesus alone can bring order out of the chaos of our sinful lives. And we must repeat our humble invitation to him. Not only on that crucial day when for the first time we receive him, but anytime when we realize that things have become disordered again.”

Thanks be to God, we are not in the battle alone. Paul framed our fight against sin as a minute-by-minute partnership with God in which “by the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of the body.” With his help, we can be ruthless!

Fear, anger, impatience, pettiness, and laziness are noxious weeds that get in the way of good growth. Disordered attachments, the desires, hopes, or expectations that become too important to us, actively compete with God and his pattern for our marriages, our ministries, and our lives.

Let’s commit ourselves together to a ruthless weeding out of anything that gets in the way of our commitment to Christ. He is the Author and Perfecter of faith. He will faithfully “bring order out of the chaos” at your invitation.

Holding you in the light,

Jesus alone can bring order out of the chaos of our sinful lives. And we must repeat our humble invitation to him… anytime when we realize that things have become disordered again.” #ElisabethElliot

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25 thoughts on “When You Know What’s Important, You Find the Courage to Be Ruthless”

  1. Ruthless weeding to give room to what God wants to cultivate in our lives. Oh so, important! I pray I see what needs to be tended to and what needs to be pulled out. Thank you for this, Michelle!

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  2. Great analogy, Michele! I especially like this: “When I cultivate habits of holiness in my life, I’m crowding out other habits that will take me further from God and further from the woman of faith I long to become.”
    More room for holiness!

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  3. Love the analogy here, Michele, if there’s one thing with which we need to exercise ruthlessness it’s weeds! Both in the garden and spiritually!

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  4. Michele, I loved this phrase, “I know what I am protecting, so I want to be ruthless in cultivating a life wholly devoted to God’s Word, to regular prayer, and abundant production of the fruit of the Spirit.” Think of all the confusion that would dissipate If we did that.

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  5. Wonderful analogy, Michele. May we be ruthless and diligent in tending to our hearts. It’s back breaking work and so needed if we want our lives to be productive.

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  6. This is a great analogy. It’s also a reminder to me that just as weeds show up frequently in my flower beds, I need to be attentive to “weeds” in my spiritual life as well. I think, because we don’t see them, we often don’t catch them when they are first sprouting.

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  7. Beautiful. Last year I planted my first vegetable garden and when the spinach sprouted it looked like grass to me so I pulled it up. This year I did not make the same mistake. I once heard a preacher tell a story about people who identify counterfeit bills, they don’t study counterfeit bills, they study THE REAL THING, so when a fake bill shows up they recognize it. As I was weeding the other day, I remembered that sermon, and I thought “I know what are my real plant seedlings look like, so when there is a seedling I don’t recognize in my garden, I know it’s a weed”. The same is with our spiritual life…study the real thing and you will recognize a false one when you see it.

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  8. Great analogy! It’s interesting how you point out that, because you’ve done this for so long, you know exactly what needs to be pulled up and what doesn’t. I think this is true as Christians, too. Over time (and with growth) we learn precisely what things benefit us and what things harm us. We’re better able to discern what needs pulled up and removed from our lives so the good things can grow.

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  9. What a great analogy! I could relate not because I’m ruthless about those natural weeks but as a novice gardener, at best, I’m a bit tentative. I hope I’m learning to be less so both spiritually and in my flower and vegetable pots and beds.

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  10. I still have a hard time telling weeds apart from what I planted! That’s a bit reason why I try to start with seedlings or plants and not from seed. LOL. But I do find my garden thrives when I keep those weeds OUT! Another great analogy.

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