Weeds are bad habits. Flowers are good habits. If you want more flowers, you have to dig up the weeds. But you then have an empty space where the weed was. To prevent a weed going back in, you have to plant more flowers.
We have to be intentional about our time in order to not lapse into bad habits. The New Year is coming, and plenty of people have resolutions. Sadly, the resolutions last at most a month for many people. Who wants to start going to the gym when it is cold and dark outside? Good habits shouldn’t be so hard to start.
But that is the very best time to do anything – when it is hard. It is easy to quit abusing substances when things are going well. It is when things are going poorly that the old habit will come back. You have to have a different thing to do to fill space. Otherwise, that bad habit “weed” will take up residency again. It might even be worse than before.
Jesus tells us about how dangerous it is to not have good practices in place in Matthew 12:43-45. He talks about when a bad spirit leaves a person, it wanders around looking for a place to rest. Not finding anywhere, it decides to return to the person it came out of. When it gets there, it finds the person “swept clean” and goes and gets seven other spirits that are even worse than it is and they all settle in him. The person who had gotten rid of that bad spirit now has even more trouble than before.
The bad habit, whatever it is, is like an unclean spirit. When you get rid of it, if you don’t have a good habit in the place – if you are “swept clean” – it will sneak back in and bring reinforcements.