A Closer Look

23Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

(Psalm 139:23-24)


It’s amazing the things you miss until you take a closer look. Last week we finally completed our raised gardens. It was a day of much labor but worth it. Each morning I go out with my coffee and inspect the gardens. A couple days ago I was looking at the gardens and saw a few weeds popping up and thought “that’s not many, I’ll have to pull them soon” as they weren’t very big. However, bending down and getting on my knees, I was now able to see the truth…there were MANY little weeds popping up all over the garden. I then checked the other two gardens and it was the same. It wasn’t easy to see them when I was standing up, but upon closer inspection, I was now able to see them. The funny part is now that I was able to see them kneeling down, once I got up, they were more visible to me, as small as they were, because I now knew they were there.

This Psalm is about God’s widespread presence and how no matter where we go, God knows where we are. We can’t hide from Him, nor are our sins hidden from Him. Even when we don’t see those sins, He does. The Psalmist, David, knew this. He knew God was the one who created him and therefore God knew every part of Him. David asked God to search his heart to see if there was anything offensive within him. We should do the same. Just like with the weeds, sometimes we may not see the little sins beginning to pop up within us. We may have spent time cleaning ourselves up and working with God to remove the big stuff, and on occasion, upon inspection see some viewable ones that need to go. But it isn’t until we get on our knees and upon closer inspection, that we will see the tiny ones popping through. It isn’t until we get on our knees before the Lord and inspect ourselves further, asking Him to examine us, that we will be shown the smaller sins popping up. If we have cleaned ourselves up, how can we possibly have more “weeds” pop up? Because we are human and it’s a never ending process. We sin because of something that dwells in our flesh. Jesus knew this and tells the disciples in Matthew 26:41:

Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak

Though our spirit is willing, our flesh is weak. We see in Romans 7:14-20 that Paul was not beyond struggling with the flesh as well:

14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

No one is exempt from being sinful, even when they do what is right. This is because our flesh is weak and can cause us to stumble and sometimes fall. This is why we must go before the Lord and ask Him to examine our heart and expose any small or hidden sins (weeds) that need to go. But praise God, we have a Savior who is on our side and will come to our rescue! In verses 21-25 as Paul continues on about the flesh, He acknowledges his hope in his deliverance through Christ!

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

We must never lose hope when our flesh overcomes us. We must seek the Lord and confess, repent (turn away from sin), and continue moving forward. We must not think because we do good works, are a good person, or think good thoughts that we are “ok”. As with the small weeds in my garden that I couldn’t see until closer inspection, the same goes with sin. We may not see those small ones popping up or that are already there and growing. Distraction is one way we don’t see them. Sometimes we get distracted by worldly things or events and let our time with God fall by the wayside. By doing so, we allow the ways of the world in and soon, our thoughts begin to change as will our actions. We may find little bits of anger, jealousy, pride, self-righteousness, insecurities, criticism, and the like begin to grow within us without realizing it. When this happens, our vision becomes distorted and our focus is off Christ and on worldly things. These things can eventually lead to worry, fear, anxiety, and/or depression. If we allow the distraction to continue, in no time, those hidden or small sins will grow and choke out the good within us and overcome us.

Take some time today to spend with the Lord and ask Him to search your heart and expose any hidden or small “weeds” that are there and need to go. Surrender them to Him and ask Him to remove them by the root. Then work with Him to gain ground in removing each one.