I love analogies. They help paint pictures in our minds that stick and can be applied to all kinds of situations, especially spiritual or Biblical concepts. The online dictionary defines analogy as: “a comparison between two things, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification.”
There are many analogies found when working in a garden. There are many analogies found in the parables of the Bible. The parable of the weeds found in Matthew 13:24-30 comes to mind when I look at this picture.
I sowed good corn seed in my garden. I feel like these weeds came up overnight and were sown by some unseen enemy, like the parable describes. I have weeded the corn beside the weed-infested row and those stalks have grown bigger and stronger than the row choked with weeds, just like when we weed sin out of our lives, we grow stronger and spiritually healthier.
Should I pull the weeds out? I have been trying, but many times the weeds are so intertwined with the roots that I destroy the corn, trying to pull out the weeds. Jesus gave his disciples the advice to not pull up the weeds, because you will root up the wheat (corn) along with them. (see Matthew 13:29)
The weeds not only choke out the corn and make it grow smaller, the morning glories wrap around the stalks and pull them down, keeping them from growing as big as the stalks in the weeded rows. This brings to mind the scriptures about the friends you choose. (see 1 Corinthians 15:33, Proverbs 13:20, Proverbs 12:26, Proverbs 22:24-25) The last reference includes words like “snare” and “entangle”, depending on your version. It makes the picture very clear in your mind when you are trying to pull morning glory vines off a corn stalk without tearing it down.
In Matthew 13:36-43, Jesus explained the parable of the “wheat and tares” found in Matthew 13:24-30. He said the field is the world, The good seed (corn/wheat) are the children of God’s kingdom. The bad seed (weeds/tares) are sown by the enemy (Satan). They stay together until the end of the world (harvest), because pulling the bad plants out damages the good plants. So, until Jesus comes, there will always be evil in the world.
In 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Paul is telling the believers to judge the people within the church while God will judge the ones “without” meaning, outside the church, the ones in the world. Believers judge sin within the church and work on weeding it out, God judges the sin in the world and He is the ultimate gardner. The corn row in the picture that was cleaned free of weeds (sin) has grown taller and stronger and so does the church when sin is not allowed to invade. The row choked by weeds is dying and so will a church choked by sin.
We will grow stronger when we pull our own weeds (sin) out of our lives. This allows our relationship with God to strengthen, as it removes the barriers for open communication between you and God. (See Isaiah 59:2, Hebrews 10:26-31, Galatians 5:19-21, 1 John 1:9)
My husband recently shared an analogy with me about stale milk. It took me a long time to stop laughing, but it was a really good analogy once I had gotten over the funny part and saw the serious side.
So… this is what he told me.
There are some situations in life that are like stale milk.
You come in the house thirsty, and the only thing you have is stale milk. You are so thirsty that it seems good at first as you gulp it down, but then your stomach starts to hurt, and you feel a little sick, and if you continue to drink, you will have bad consequences. (The funny part.)
The serious part is that, many times, we accept situations because our hearts are thirsty for a little love, attention, or spiritual connections. But, over time, because those situations were not good for us, they become like stale milk and make us sick. We need to stop drinking from that carton.
Good picture, huh?
The last analogy I want to share is one that a preacher shared at a church we attended many years ago. It’s a great analogy and it really stuck with me.
He said that when he and his sister were little, their parents would take them for drives on Sunday afternoons. They would drive and sometimes find a nice mountain stream and their parents would let them take their clothes off and go wading and swim in their underwear. After all, they were young and innocent and no harm done, right? They played and splashed each other and their laughter spread through the nearby trees.
If while they were wading and his mom and dad were watching over them, some old man pulled up in a car beside them and he took off his clothes and come into the water in his underwear with the children and started laughing and playing with them, his mom would have set off the alarm. “Harold, get the kids out of the water!”
That is a funny image to me. I always picture an old wrinkled man trying to get in the water and jump and splash like a child, but its not so funny when you compare it to the scripture that talks about maturing as a Christian.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11KJV
“I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh…” 1 Corinthians 3 2-3a ESV
“…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ.” Ephesians 4:14-15 ESV
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 5″12-14 ESV
Even Paul used milk for his analogies;)
The picture of an immature Christian, the one that never reads their Bible and always depends on someone else to tell them what it says, becomes as disgusting as the man playing in his underwear. The ones that constantly do the wrong thing because they will not study the Bible enough to know what right things they should be doing, can become disturbing to us. But if we are mature, we will have forbearance (because the Bible tells us to) and we will not let ourselves be offended (because the Bible tells us not to be) and we will speak the truth in love (because the Bible tells us so).
So, on a personal level, we all need to grow up spiritually, pull the weeds out of our lives and stop drinking stale milk!
What is your favorite analogy?