Our Sunday School class has been studying through a Max Lucado series. Sunday's lesson was the title of today's blog (Thanks, Max!) In his book, Just Like Jesus, Max wrote, "If the heart is a greenhouse and our thoughts are seeds, shouldn't we be careful about what we sow? Shouldn't we be selective about the seeds we allow to come into the greenhouse? Shouldn't there be a sentry at the door? Isn' t guarding the heart a strategic task?"
Continuing the thoughts from Saturday's blog, it SO very important the thoughts that we allow to take root in our minds. As Max says, we must be selective of the seeds we allow in our garden. As we used to tell our kids "Garbage in, garbage out". If we feed on the things which lead to discontentment, bitterness, anger, greed, and a critical spirit, those are the very things we will find ourselves living with.
How do you feed on those things, you ask? Start with what you watch on TV. There is not much healthy fare there any more...at least not on the prime time networks. Either you will be feasting on sitcoms which are filled with sex, homosexuality, ungodly attitudes toward husbands and wives, children and everyone else in general, and are void of any morals whatsoever or you can watch news broadcasts and documentaries such as 48 Hours, 20/20, etc. which are so filled with bad news and alarming stories that you come away filled with fear and anxiety! Now I'm not suggesting that we live with our heads buried in the sand. Yes we need to know what is going on in the world, but we do not need to SATURATE ourselves with it. A little dab will do ya! However, I will not say that everything on TV is bad. Quite the contrary. There is much good on television, too. Cooking shows, shows to teach you how to organize your home, how to decorate, how to prepare your home for sale, how to landscape your yard, how to quilt, sew or paint and much more. There is the history channel which many people love. I enjoy the travel channel from time to time, seeing places in the world that I will probably never travel to. There are lots of old movies that are wonderful! But it is all about being SELECTIVE!
What do you read? Do you read racy romance novels or magazines? Maybe you just like novels or biographies, home improvement or gardening magazines. What you are filling your mind with is very important. If what you are reading is not immoral, it can still be dangerous if it makes you covet what someone else has or makes you discontent with what you have. Or if you are spending so much time reading these that you never have time to read God's word, then there is not a balance. Again, being SELECTIVE is key!
Who do you spend time with? If you find that you are spending time with people who are negative and critical, who never see anything but what is wrong with someone, then maybe you need to find a new group of friends. Negative people, critical people are draining. I once heard a story told by Florence Littaur, Christian author and speaker. She and her son were driving down the expressway. In the center between the two sides was planted a wide stretch of wild flowers. Florence pointed them out to her son with great excitement because of their beauty. Her son quickly pointed out a solitary weed in the center of the expanse of beauty. They rode in silence for a few moments when the son said,
"Mom, why do I do that?"
"Do what?" Florence asked.
"Always see the weeds, when everyone else sees the flowers?"
Some people's personality type is such that they are prone to see the weeds instead of the flowers. But I truly believe that if we ask the Lord to help us see the flowers more often that we see the weeds, He will do that.
We live in a world that is tainted by sin and it will be that way til Jesus comes back. But we do not have to plant weeds. We can plant flowers of joy, goodness, mercy and grace. We can look for the flowers in others, instead of looking for the weeds. Believe me, if you look for the weeds you can find them! None of us are perfect. No matter how hard we try, we will NEVER be perfect this side of Heaven. We are "trophies of God's grace", however, and we should be willing to extend grace to others.
Today I urge you to begin to plant seeds, seeds of beauty and not weeds. Listen to yourself. The next time you find yourself being critical, pointing out all of someone's faults or all the things wrong with your job or your church or your spouse....STOP! Ask yourself what kind of seeds are you sowing. Try instead to see the good, the beautiful, the miraculous things around you. Paul put it this way:
"Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatosever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report....focus on these things!" Phil 4: 8.
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