Manitoba maple trees produce thousands of seeds every year. They fly everywhere. The seeds germinate easily. So yesterday I went out to remove them from my privet hedge at the back.

The job multiplied. When you start pulling out one “weed” you find more. As we read in Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses [who have borne testimony to the Truth], let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us” (Amplified Bible).

Manitoba maple leaf and keys

So down on my knees I pulled out many different weeds and trees from the hedge. My hands and arms got scratched and cut. I damaged one finger as the nail got pulled back. The wheelbarrow was soon so full I had to put my jacket over it and the long-handled shears on top to hold the rubbish on while I wheeled it away.

Is that why people are afraid to admit the sin which “clings to and entangles us”? Sad that for fear we will find out how much we need God’s forgiveness and the Saviour Jesus we ignore sin. Better to be right, look righteous, than submit to the only One who can help us in “the race that is set before us”.

Saul (whom we know as St. Paul) had to get knocked to his knees (literally and figuratively) and blinded (literally and figuratively) before he saw the true spiritual truths of the God he thought he served and stand up for the right way to serve God rather than the “official” way (Acts 9:1-8).

“Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses” the real way to follow the real God isn’t so hard to find. Like Paul we find it, not in tradition or institutional religion, but in a personal transformation (change of thinking) by the Spirit (Paraclete). “Brothers and sisters, in view of all we have just shared about God’s compassion, I encourage you to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, dedicated to God and pleasing to him. This kind of worship is appropriate for you. Don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants—what is good, pleasing, and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2 God’s Word).

So, the time has come to get down on your knees and weed out your hedge. God’s wheelbarrow can hold it all. His wounded hands prove it.