What I Learned From Wild Blackberries
Written by Gabriella Kroska
Weeding my mom’s raised garden beds was a lot more challenging than I expected. As I got started, I realized that a wild blackberry patch had infiltrated the garden beds!
Wild blackberries are sneaky. They reproduce through rhizomes (modified stems that grow underground) that send out roots and shoots. Thus, blackberry plants can spread great distances underground before ever being noticed. That is, until they send up shoots.
Because of how fast they can spread, as well as the sharp thorns that they grow, they can be quite difficult to control and even more so to remove. In some areas, certain species are even considered invasive!
The roots of sin
Likewise, negative thoughts contrary to God’s way are prevalent in our society and can be very dangerous if we allow them to enter our minds. Satan is intent on distracting us and tempting us at every opportunity.
We must constantly be on guard against Satan’s influence on our thoughts and not give him a place in our mind (Ephesians 4:27). He uses many ways to do that, such as media and even our friends. We have to be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that what is around us can’t affect us.
By analogy, even though the blackberry thicket was outside the garden fence, the roots had already spread into the garden.
The first garden bed I was weeding wasn’t too difficult. There weren’t a lot of roots to tear up and pull out. But as I got closer to the edge of the fence where the blackberries were, it became a lot harder to dig out the roots because they were much thicker and stronger. In some cases, new blackberry shoots had already started to come up.
In his epistle James tells us that a person is tempted when he is “drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:14-15).
Just as it is with blackberries, it’s a lot easier to pull sin out at its root—temptation—before it becomes fully formed than it is when that temptation has been allowed to grow into a thick, sinful habit!
It’s important that we vigilantly remove tempting thoughts as soon as we think of them. Philippians 4:8 provides many things to think about in place of tempting thoughts.
After successfully weeding the garden, I moved on to cutting back the blackberry patch that had overtaken the area surrounding the garden. That was even harder! Full-grown blackberries are very resistant to being removed and are covered in sharp thorns that can easily cut through skin.
Just as I couldn’t pull out blackberry branches by hand, but rather needed tools like a shovel, shears, etc., so we need spiritual tools to help us remove sin. The tools God gives us include prayer, Bible study, meditation, fasting and the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20).
The tools that God gives us will help us bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Through regular use of these spiritual tools with a spirit of real repentance, we can protect our hearts and minds from both the roots and the full-grown sins.
Get rid of those spiritual blackberries!
To learn more about the spiritual tools God has given us, read “Put on the Armor of God.”