Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Garden of My Mind

On my knees in the soft ground of my perennial garden, I pushed my trowel down deep to uproot each thriving weed, removing the entire unwanted growth. Looking back over the ground I had covered, I admired my work. It would be so rewarding to have a garden free of weeds (at least for a few days)!

But as gardeners know, early in the season it can be hard to tell which are weeds and which are new perennials just starting to show. The cunning weeds often sprout near similar-looking plants, camouflaging themselves and crowding out the more desirable plant species.

Rather than risk pulling out something that I want, I find it safer to let the young plant be until it has grown enough to know for sure what I am uprooting. (I once pulled out my lemon thyme ... until I smelled the fresh lemony fragrance on my hands and quickly replanted it!) I started to think that I should study weeds so that I could accurately identify what needs to stay and what needs to go.

I quickly decided against that, remembering what I had learned about how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police train "the Mounties" in anti-counterfeiting work. Instead of studying the counterfeit, they carefully study the "real deal" -- a genuine twenty-dollar bill -- so that if a counterfeit appears, they immediately recognize that it does not measure up.

So it is in the garden of life. I focus on what I want to grow, not on what I don't want to grow. In the same way, I prefer to study God, not the enemy. If what I see does not measure up to God and His Word, I know it is not of God. The weeds in my life (superficial things that "pose" as authentic and significant) can be just as cunning as the weeds in my garden. How they can grow and spread before I recognize they are not the quality I desire. And if I'm not careful, they will crowd out the more beautiful things I want to grow.

Rather than dwelling on the enemy or what he might be doing, I choose to focus on what God is doing. I focus on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and/or praiseworthy! (Phil 4:8 NIV)

These are the things I want growing in the garden of my mind.

Lord, You are all good and my eyes are on You. Lead me in Your truth. Let me not waste a moment in distraction.

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