Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Your mind is like a garden

In the "Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church" Sunday School track last week the topic was "Why Learn in the Church?" In the course of the conversation the class discussed the command to love God with our minds (Mark 12:30) and Don Whitney’s analogy of the mind as a garden (in Spiritual Disciplines Within the Church [Moody, 1996]): pp. 183-84):

Loving God with all your mind means loving Him with what you mentally initiate. Your mind is like a garden. The things you mentally initiate are the plants you purposely put in your garden, the things that you go out of your way to bring into your mind. A wise person will turn to the place where Holy Scripture is proclaimed so that the truth can be planted in his mental furrows. Further, you can receive not only biblical teaching from godly men and women within the church, but also experience counsel on seeding your mind with Christian biography, theology, spiritual classics, tapes, music, etc.

You also express love for God with your mind by what you mentally cultivate. Both weeds and good plants will grow in your thought-patch. If you want a successful garden you must learn to cultivate the right plants. Otherwise you’ll have a tangled overgrown confusion.

One way to till the right plants, that is, to develop the thoughts and thought-patterns that grow in God-loving ways, is to learn in a place that continually cultivates Godward thoughts. The church does that…. If you aren’t learning in the church you are certainly cultivating mental weeds that choke out love for God.

Third, you love God with you mind by what you mentally tolerate. You don’t want to permit anything and everything that wanders or sneaks into the garden of your gray matter to remain. Just as you’d try to keep certain birds, rabbits, and other animals out of your backyard garden, so you shouldn’t tolerate harmful things in your mind. You show your love for God by what you refuse to think about as well as by what you do think about. The truth of Scripture learned in the church will stand guard against those enemies that would ruin your garden…. God wants us to devote our minds to things that increase the harvest of our love for Him, and learning in the church helps us do that.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Note: Evangel article for 5.19.09.

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