Your Mind is a Garden
Did you ever hear this little rhyme? “You mind is a garden, and your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.”
I’m pretty sure that most of you have heard this verse from the bible; It’s Philippians 4, verse 8; “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” In other words, keep busy growing flowers, not weeds. If you stay busy enough growing flowers, you won’t have time to grow any weeds.
We’ve been having a lot of construction done at our house this summer, and several parts of the lawn got torn up from all the equipment going back and forth, and so there was just dirt left, and no grass in those areas. And I didn’t even try to plant any grass seed there, because the equipment would’ve just torn it up again. But since nothing good got planted there, guess what started to grow? Weeds! I don’t know who planted those weeds, but I do know, that if you leave that a patch of dirt empty for very long, and don’t plant anything good there, the weeds are going to grow.
And you know, the bible says, it’s that way with people too. If a person isn’t filled up enough with good, then it’s like an invitation for things that aren’t so good.
Do you remember this parable that Jesus told in Luke chapter 11, about evil spirits inhabiting a man? Jesus introduces the parable with these words from verse 23; “Whoever is not with Me, is against me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters.” In other words, there’s really no middle ground. Just like Jesus said, you’re either in partnership with Him, or you’re against Him. And you and I, all of us, get to choose which side we want to be on.
Now I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of this verse as being connected to the parable that Jesus is about to tell, but to y way of thinking, it must be. I mean, the verse has to be connected with something! I’m sure Jesus didn’t just throw those words in there with no connection to anything that He was talking about.
I’m going to back up here, to verses 14 thru 22, so we can get the context of what Jesus had been talking about. So let me read those verses. Luke 11, beginning with verse 14; “Now He was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. But some of them said; He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven.” (They thought that by demanding another miracle, it could be proven if Jesus really was a sent from God) (as if healing the mute man, and everything else that Jesus had done wasn’t enough)
“But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them; Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided house, cannot stand. And if satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.” (in other words, that right there proves your accusation wrong!)
“But if it is by the finger of God, that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Maybe you remember these two verses; Luke 17, verses 20 & 21 “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them; The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed.” (in other words, it’s not going to be like a physical, with the physical things that you can see, that go along with it) “Nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
“I’m the king, and I’m right here in our midst!” And the kingdom is a spiritual kingdom, not a physical one. So don’t waste your time looking here or there for any physical kingdom, because you won’t find one. It’s already “in your midst”.
So once again, Jesus says in Luke 11, verse 20; “But if it is by the finger of God, that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God, has come upon you.” The exact same thought as in chapter 17, verse 21.
Now Jesus continues.. Luke 11, verses 21 & 22; “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; But when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoil.”
So then, what’s the main point in that passage? Isn’t it the fact that Jesus is indeed the one sent by God? That His works prove that fact! Jesus is in fact the long awaited Messiah, the Christ, and His kingdom is right there in their midst. The Christ has come!
But now verse 23; “Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me, scatters.” I am the Christ, and My kingdom is has come “upon you” and it is in fact “in the midst of you”, and if you want to be a part of it, you’d better be on My side! You had better be WITH Me! There’s no middle ground. If you’re not for Me, you automatically stand against Me!
And then Jesus tells this little parable about the man who was cleansed of a demon, but took no stand afterward. He didn’t join himself to Christ. He didn’t plan any flowers in his garden, and as a result, the weeds took over, and his last condition was worse than his first!
Jesus, is growing flowers. What are you going to grow?
It’s like that piece of bare ground; Either you fill it with flowers (or grass, or whatever the case may be) or it will fill itself with weeds! And that’s the way Jesus describes the man, in the short parable that I’m going to read here.
So Jesus says, in Luke 11, verses 24 thru 27; “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, (we’ve now got a person, who’s just like that piece of bare ground. Nothing in it; Nothing good, and nothing bad. For the moment that is) So then.. “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ (that spirit is going to return to the person from which it came. Now remember, this is only a parable; It’s not a real life story. It’s an analogy, about filling yourself up with what’s good.
So the unclean spirit (the weed, if you would) says to itself.. ‘I will return to my house from which I came. And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order.” In other words, it finds bare ground, just waiting for something, “to be planted” so to speak. “Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
It’s never just one weed that sprouts up, is it? No it’s lots of weeds! Where do they all come from?
So let’s think again about that rhyme that we started with; “Your mind is a garden, and your thoughts are the seed. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.”
If you DON’T stay busy growing flowers, like it or not, you’re gonna to grow weeds!
Hers’s a saying that you’ve no doubt heard.. “An idle mind, is the devil’s workshop.” Or maybe you’ve heard it this way.. “An idle mind, is the devil’s playground.”
If we don’t fill our minds, with those “good thoughts”, (remember our earlier scripture.. “..whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
If we don’t fill our minds with those thoughts, then a lot of not-so-good thoughts are likely to come. Lot’s of weeds. Not just one, but lots of ’em!
So, how is “an idle mind”, equated with the devil’s workshop” ? Well, here’s a verse of scripture that’s similar to that saying; It’s Proverbs 16, verse 27. And it says; “A worthless man digs up evil, While his words are like scorching fire.”
Some versions say.. “An ungodly man” Now, an ungodly man (or an ungodly person) is rather worthless, isn’t he? He doesn’t really have any value to anyone. So would “an idle” man, or “an idle” mind, necessarily be an ungodly, or a worthless man, or mind? Is the a similarity there?
Actually, the word “idle” as use in the scriptures, doesn’t simply mean.. “sitting still’ or ‘doing nothing”. But rather, it means “slothful”, and “negligent”.