Flowers look beautiful, but its only when we get up close that we notice how great they smell. In that sense flowers are a little like God. Many people know that God is loving and God is good, but to experience all the blessings he has to offer we have to get up right close to Him. We need to have an intimate relationship with Him.

A spring bouquet is special because it is so colourful and because all the flowers have such different shapes. They’re a lot like people in the Body of Christ. Some are gifted artists, others are gifted in hospitality and friendliness. Some are good leaders, some are quiet prayer warriors but God makes us all. God wants variety in His garden. He has given each one of us our unique characteristics for a good reason. Comparing ourselves with one another will only make us wither. God wants us to blossom where we are planted.

Bees and butterflies are responsible for carrying the pollen of a flower from one part of the garden to another. That way beautiful flowers are created in spots where they were not planted. Bees and butterflies are a little like us people. Just like they are responsible to spread the pretty blooms of gardens, we are responsible to spread the Good News of the Gospel. Each time we witness about Jesus we are spreading His love somewhere new.

We’ve all probably seen wild and overgrown gardens which haven’t been tended. The flowers have no room to blossom because the weeds have taken over. Weeding is hard work, but necessary. If you’ve ever tried to pull up a dandelion you will have discovered that it is incredibly easy to leave the root in the ground. When this happens, it quickly springs up again. So often in our lives we deal with the problem that has come to the surface rather than the underlying issue. We focus on the wrong behaviours rather than the thinking and the attitudes behind them so that, too soon they raise their ugly head again. So how do we get to the root of the matter. How do we tend to the garden of our minds?

The Apostle Paul shares one way in which he did this type of spiritual gardening. In 2 Corinthians 10 v5 he speaks of how he took “every thought captive to obey Christ”. Paul recognised that the thoughts which grew in his mind were not always good, helpful or Godly. Like unwelcome weeds they had to be pulled or captured and then replace with thoughts which were in line with God’s word and His Will.

We tend the gardens of our minds when we take every thought captive to obey Christ but there is another lovely way for us to be good gardeners. We can plant seeds of praise in the garden of our minds. A genuinely thankful Christian is as beautiful as any flower in a garden. Their fragrance is sweet and attractive. Praise can also help suppress certain sins from taking root in our hearts. Just as the weedkiller used by gardeners inhibits the growth of garden nasties like dockens, thistles and dandelions, so praise suppresses some of the spiritual nasties which want to take root in our hearts. Self pity, self centredness, pride, complaining and grumbling will find it very hard to take root in the heart of a grateful Christian.

So how does a spirit of praise not only take root, but flower in our lives? It tells us in Philippians 4 v8 we need to think about whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- anything that is excellent or praiseworthy. When we think like this we are planting good seed in the garden of our minds. Flowers rather than weeds are likely to be the outcome.

Nell Foreman (from PW evening with Nicola Russell).