Having spent the spring and summer rejuvenating my long-neglected lawn it was still a surprise to hear the Lord say to me recently, “All Flesh is as Grass”. How is it so? What is the scripture reference to this quote? What does He want to teach me today? I began digging into my bible to see what I could find on this subject, and here are some of my thoughts.
However, before I delve into the spiritual aspects I would like to firstly explain to you a bit more about my actual garden; my lawn in particular. I have been looking after a garden now for many years, but only in an ad hoc kind of way, if I am honest. I usually manage to cut the grass with a lawn mower a few times a year, occasionally pull a few weeds out of the flower beds and prune back the shrubs when they get too overgrown. I still take great pleasure in any flowers that do still manage to bloom but I have sadly not been keeping on top of the work required to keep the garden looking at its best.
So, when a keen gardener friend came to visit and saw my lawn for the first time he was rather shocked at its condition, to say the least. There were some huge, vicious looking weeds taking ownership and killing all the grass around them, moss growth taking over certain spongy patches and then there were yellowing, unhealthy grass areas that were not really growing at all. Overall it was a dismal picture of an uneven, unkempt lawn turning into a wild and weedy meadow!
I have read books on flowers and shrubs and have planted and cared for such over many years, but do you know what, I had never ever bought a book on lawn care! I didn’t even realise that lawns needed caring for, except to push a lawn mower over it once in a while that is. Well, I obviously had a lot to learn! I sought advice, spent money on products and worked hard on my lawn improvement this year. Now I can look out of my window with pleasure on a flat, green lawn that is fairly weed-free instead of feeling down looking out upon a weed patch.
I know this is not a gardening blog, but there are going to have to be one or two relevant gardening tips that I will need to share with you as I tell you this story. Jesus used to tell stories that had gardening or farming aspects and He still speaks to me today through such issues. But before I talk about the lawn’s thatch and compacting problems I will give you just a few scriptures that I found on this issue of flesh being like grass.
1 Peter 1:24-25
“…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because,
“All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.””
Peter was quoting from Isaiah 40:6-8 which says,
“The voice said, “Cry out!”
And he said, “What shall I cry?”
“All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
The grass withers, the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”
Grass is also mentioned in Psalm 103:15-18
“As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, on those who fear Him;
And His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them.”
These scriptures are basically telling us that life is short but God and His word are eternal. That’s fair enough. We know that the general life-span is 70-90 years, but with 120 years as the maximum age humans can aspire to, according to the scriptures. So then, the balance of a human life-span against eternity is something that wise people ought to consider. Do we live for our flesh, that is just going our own self-seeking way or do we live for obeying God’s ways for our lives?
Along these lines we have scriptures that speak of the flesh versus the Spirit.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another…”
“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” Galatians 5:17 & 6:8
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:5-8
So, to summarise the basics are as follows: –
- Life is short but God is eternal
- The flesh and spirit are in a continual battle
- Living to please the Spirit of God is wise and leads to eternal life
- Living to please our flesh is foolish and leads to eternal death
Now Back to my Lawn Treatment
My friend looked at my neglected lawn and diagnosed the following problems, giving appropriate solutions for each issue.
- The soil was compacted from years of use and thus preventing air, water and nutrients from reaching the roots of the grass plants. The treatment was aerating (or spiking) which we did by walking all over the lawn in spiked garden shoes (they had metal spikes like nails protruding from the soles) to create little holes in the soil. That took some time, marching up and down, down and up, left and right, right and left…
- Too much thatch! I’d never heard of this before! It turns out that this is when dead leaf & moss matter gets compacted into a top layer and this too creates a barrier to water & nutrients getting to the roots. The solution was to rake vigorously with a spring-tined rake and this is called scarifying. Essentially, it was a case of manually pulling and dragging out the dead material with this rake. Boy was that hard work – really hard work!
- Too many massive weeds. We used chemical weed killers and dug some deep-rooted ones out manually.
- Too much spreading moss which overtook the healthy grass growth, due primarily to water logging. We had to use a three-pronged approach for this problem as above. Improve the drainage by spiking, de-thatching plus we used moss killer chemicals as well.
- We also used chemical lawn treatments to feed the good grass, thus feeding nutrients to the roots of the good plants for aiding with strong, healthy growth.
- We finally re-seeded the whole lawn so that more good grass could grow in place of the moss and weeds. This also helps prevent the problems reoccurring as the grass takes hold of the places the weeds and moss used to be.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Whilst I was outdoors working on the grass situation this year I was often thinking of the way the Lord deals with me and believers in general. I was seeing that my lack of any care and attention to my lawn over a long period of time had led to such an unhealthy, weed-infested situation. I thought of the similarities to our spiritual lives when we likewise are complacent with things that hinder and damage us spiritually. I will try to explain some of the thoughts I had about this.
I thought that the compacting of the soil was like the hardening of our hearts to the ways of the Lord over a longer period of time. If we do not listen to Him, when He pricks our consciences, when there is a temptation to sin, or believing doctrines and practices contrary to His word, we are hardening our own hearts. If we continually reject the true teachings of the Lord then the bible refers to a stiff-necked people with hard hearts. The bible says that God will allow people behaving like that to go their own way in the end. However, at the end of Ecclesiastes it says:
“The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth. The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.” Ecc 12:10-11
Will you heed His goads, let the nails of truth penetrate all your beliefs and practices? Will you ask the Lord to break up any hardened and compacted areas of your spiritual life so that His goodness, mercy, faithfulness, love and truth can seep deep into your heart and life to feed you with nutrients that will be beneficial rather than harmful to your spiritual condition? Will you stop and remember the terrible nails that pierced the hands and feet of the Lord Jesus Christ as He allowed at His death? This was the price He paid for you to be free to follow Him but you must be willing to truly follow Him. It is the way of death to the flesh. It is a way that hurts. It is a narrow and difficult way but it is a way to hearing His voice and eternal life with Him also.
Moving on now to the thatch layer of dead matter. This also prevents nutrients reaching the roots of the grass and seems to me rather like leaving lots of false doctrines and practices in our lives. They can build up into a layer of mental and spiritual resistance that leads ultimately to spiritual death. This thatch layer can prevent the good, true bible teaching and the still small voice of the Lord penetrating our minds and hearts. There is just too much dead matter blocking the pathways. The only solution is quite as brutal as was the back-breaking work of scarifying my lawn this spring with a metal rake. As I was doing such work I was thinking along these lines. Will I allow the Lord to rake out of my life, beliefs and practices all that is dead and hindering healthy new spiritual growth? I dared to put such thoughts into a prayer, knowing that scarification has to go deep to pull out the dead matter; knowing that such a spiritual process would be rather uncomfortable, even painful; knowing that without asking and allowing the Lord to do so would keep me from growing as a healthy plant.
I have started to wonder at all the things that have hindered my walk with the Lord and have come to realise that even my going to church has been such a hinderance for me. I have felt constrained and repressed and unable to speak the truth to people, never mind speaking the truth in love. In fact even speaking at all has been severely limited, particularly because I am a woman. I hope you too will consider if going to such meetings is helping or hindering you. I would urge you to pray and seek the Lord about this matter as well as asking Him to show you EVERYTHING that blocks your sweet fellowship with the Lord.
Then too, there are the weeds that are rather like sins that we don’t attend to as they crop up. Such sins can grow and become quite deep-rooted. One year I had a few little weeds amongst my grass, then this year I had a veritable infestation of giant, ugly weeds! If we become complacent about little sins then the end result is likewise, our consciences become seared, and then bigger sins can take root and get a hold of us. The solution here is drastic too! Strong chemical killers and sharp digging tools were required. Planting new good seeds and feeding those was also part of the plan. Please ask the Lord’s help if you are struggling with any sins. Please ask Him to reveal to you if you have grown complacent over any small sins too. Please know that He always wants to help His people in this life-long battle of our flesh versus the Spirit. Living one way leads to death but the other leads to life. Please don’t coast along toying with sin or your life will end up worse than my garden, and that wasn’t a pretty sight!
So now to the Moss problem. Moss is a spore producing plant that can take over the lawn if left unchecked and this also made me think of how sin can permeate a person’s life in an underhand, underground kind of way. I was shocked to see just how much of my lawn had in fact turned to moss, if I am honest. It wasn’t even visible from a distance, as it is green in colour and could mimic the lawn grasses until closer inspection. I think this is how corruption in our spiritual lives can be also. Other people can’t always tell the true state of our “walk with the Lord” can they? All looks fine and the grass looks green.
I have found that in biology,
“a spore is a reproductive structure that is adapted for dispersion and surviving for extended periods of time in unfavourable conditions”.
So, moss is quite a nasty character! It is a deceiver, breeding spores, reaching out tentacles of death to grass! This reminded me of the hidden sins, perhaps our motivations of our flesh-like hearts. From a distance, our lives may look fine and Christian but God is the one who looks into our hearts and He knows the truth, that sometimes we even deny to ourselves. Will we ask God to search the depths of our hearts to weed out the deadly spores that contaminate us in His sight? This is a matter of life or death. Our flesh is weak but God is strong. So always remember that He is willing and able to help you if you seek Him and truly mean business with Him.
I finally used feed products and re-seeded the lawn totally in order to encourage good, strong, healthy regrowth to occur. In our spiritual lives, I think this is like spending time with the Lord, reading the bible and praying for Him to change us into the people that He wants us to be. It’s no good just digging out the bad stuff, we need to put some good stuff back in. But we do still have to dig out the rubbish in order that the good stuff can reach the necessary places. I have known some Christians who only look for food on Sunday mornings, and even then they are often disappointed with sawdust and diet food instead of fresh bread from heaven. I prefer to go directly to the bible and ask the Lord to lead me in teaching and feeding me. As I am no longer a “babe in Christ” needing to be spoon-fed but I am a mature Christian who can feed myself directly from the Lord, I feel this is the better way. Remember the scripture that says,
“ But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” 1 John 2:27
So “all flesh is as grass” certainly was a message for me this year. It has been the year of helping the grass grow in my garden. But in doing so I have learnt a lot from the Lord. Hope you have learnt a little too and that you can weed and feed your spiritual life in a way that causes new growth, pleasing unto the Lord God Almighty.
“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”
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