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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Vallejo

Weeds or Seeds?

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.


Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’ To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by do doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Romans 12:9-21 ESV


As a Children’s Minister I have the honor of spending time with kiddos through the week and on Sunday mornings. I love sharing time with our 5th graders as they are about to move on to our middle school ministry and are preparing for that next phase of life. They are full of excitement, and fun and LOTS of energy.


Spending time with these amazing 11- and 12-year-olds on Sunday mornings keeps me on my toes. They ask lots of questions, and it’s not always the ones you think they are going to ask. Humility is the name of the game. Keeping it real and being truthful about the fact I am not perfect. As a grown adult with grown college-age children, I still do not have it all together. I am constantly learning, constantly growing.


Last weekend, our 5th grade group took a dive into Romans 12. We talked about what the Bible provides in terms of tools to change. Not surface level change or behavior modification, but rather deep, intentional, life-long changes of the heart that impact our relationships with God and people. God not only gives us the “do not do this” instructions, but also gives the healthy good that ought to replace the bad.


All of us have thoughts and behaviors that are not aligned with God's will for us. That is a given. They are like weeds in a garden that will grow and choke out desirable plants unless the good replaces the bad. Replacing weeds with the deep roots of desirable plants is key to helping keep the weeds at bay. All this gardening of the heart requires intentionality and pulling our "weeds" on a regular basis.


Scripture names weeds in need of pulling, and in turn describes the desirable seeds in need of planting.


Our 5th grade deep dive into Romans 12:9-21 is a great example of how scripture describes the evil (weed) we want to eradicate from our heart and the desirable good (seed) to replace it with. For children, asking them to not do something is more effective when we ask them to replace it with something else. God knows this is a feature of humanity, he put us together and responds to our needs for instruction and training.


As adults we find change hard, this is not news to God. When we are looking to replace a significant heart issue (laziness, hate, cursing, revenge, bitterness, anger, pride, selfishness, hardness of heart, impatience, lack of generosity, etc…) with a seed of something good (love, kindness, gentleness, self-control, zeal, mercy, prayer, hospitality, generosity, humility, peace, joy, etc..) it takes an intentional look at what is holding us back. What do we value more than the change itself? Pulling weeds can be hard back-breaking work. Do I value my own comfort over the Word of God? Do I value my own pride or my need to repay one bad act for another over my relationships with people?

Romans 12 tells us love needs to be genuine, and we are to abhor evil. It goes on to say we ought not to be "slothful in zeal" but instead "fervent in spirit." Sloth is the weed, fervent is the healthy plant to replace the sloth in our hearts. "Bless those who persecute you" replaces cursing those who hurt you, and "associate with the lowly" is the good to replace pride and the "haughty" spirit. Do not seek revenge, instead replace it with living honorably and in peace with others as much as it depends on you.

Children look to adults in their lives to model how best to clean up our hearts and free ourselves of the weeds choking off the desirable fruit God wants for our souls. We do not have to exhibit perfection, just progress. Actively, zealously, seeking how to change our hearts to be more like the scriptures we love is a life-long process and one best shared in community. God's Word is vast and incredibly timeless and gives us all the tools we need, in every age and stage. I'm beyond grateful we get to share in this journey together and help each other along the way.

Our lives often do not proceed exactly as we plan. But, we carry our souls with us where ever we go and no matter who we end up with. The work of heart change is never done - from young children to grown adults. There is always opportunity to replace the weeds with healthy seeds and watch them grow. And that is absolutely amazing.

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