Former Secretary to the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold, once said, "You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal; play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth; play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn't reserve a plot for weeds." That last line grabbed me because I understand weeds. When the little marauders invade my yard I become General Patton. I'll map a strategy to defeat my enemies and then I'll counterattack! Chemical weapons or old-fashioned hand-to-hand combat; it doesn't matter to me.  I will do everything within my power to eradicate the pesky intruders that are attempting to lay claim to my turf. In short, I want a tidy garden.

I wonder sometimes if I am as vigilant when it comes to the weeds that threaten my soul. I'm talking about the thoughts and images that slowly creep into my consciousness: bitterness, pride, lust, resentment, dishonesty, jealousy, selfishness. It can be a tough fight keeping those enemies at bay! The good news is that God offers a solution. I like to think of it as spiritual Weed-B-Gone.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

I know that weeds pose a less serious threat when my grass is healthy. In the same way, when the garden of my mind is green, when my thoughts are "true, and honorable, and right" there is less room for weeds to appear.

It is not easy to keep a lawn clean and green. It requires vigilance. The same can be said of keeping a tidy mind. When Paul wrote "think about things"he was encouraging us to make pure thoughts a daily habit. Spending regular time in God's word is the best way to start. We can also read the biographies of great people. We can delete from our iPods music that promotes promiscuity by cleverly wrapping it in a beautiful melody. We can enter into conversations that stretch us and make us think!

Remember: "He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn't reserve a plot for weeds."

STAY FOCUSED TODAY:Are there weeds growing in your thought life? What do you need to "pull" and what do you need to "plant" to keep your mind clean and green?