“I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.” Proverbs 24: 30-31
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6: 45
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1: 21
Well, “growing season” is here– delightful for those gardeners amongst us, perhaps not so much so for allergy-sufferers. I personally lack a green thumb (just ask any houseplant I’ve ever tried to keep alive!), though I always aspire to plant more flowers in my yard this time of year.
We find many examples of plant growth (or the lack thereof) throughout Scripture. What has spoken to me recently is the importance of getting rid of “weeds” that manage to take root in my heart alongside the healthy green shoots of compassion and Christlikeness. Some examples of weeds? Resentment, pride, self-centeredness, judgmental thoughts, worry, materialism, etc. Since truly following Christ and bearing fruit necessarily starts with the condition of my heart, I need to not let my negative thoughts go unchecked; rather, they need to be uprooted (anybody else besides me cringing yet?!). It’s not enough to guard my words and behavior. I need to guard my thoughts; then and only then can my life truly be in service and praise of God.
If you’ve read my devotionals before, you know how much I enjoy sharing relevant quotes from theologians– saints who have gone before us, whose words really inspire and enlighten my faith. So today I offer TWO quotes, if you’ll indulge me…
“The true acceptance of the Word requires that we do not let it lie only on the surface of our minds, nor be satisfied only to have it penetrate a little deeper and take root in our emotions, or let competing desires grow up unchecked. Instead, we must cherish the word of truth in our deepest hearts, guard it against foes, let it rule there, and mold our conduct to its principles… If we do that we shall be fruitful, because His Word will bear fruit in us” Alexander Maclaren
“It is a natural tendency of the human heart to reduce its religious life to an outward and literal obedience, while its thoughts continue unhampered. In the life of true holiness, everything depends on the control of the thoughts. ‘For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come.’ (Mark 7: 21)” F. B. Meyer
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Please bless my efforts to weed out negative and ungodly thoughts, that my heart may be a beautiful garden and that my life may bear fruit. In Jesus name, Amen