(An excerpt from Cultivating Love and Renewal by Dr Ken McGill)
It all starts right here…with the soil. If anything is going to grow it begins with the energy that is available in the soil to begin the transformation. We will grow something.
Biblical Insight: Transformation begins with the 3 things not created by Man, but of God: The Soil, The Light and The Water (John 1:3,4; John 9:5; John 4:13,14; Matt. 13:23).
Yes we will grow something. The question is how will you use your energy and what will you grow? I use the word energy purposefully because the “word picture” of our English word “energy” is seen in the picture above — freshly plowed land. New opportunity, new possibilities. Think of the potential you have within you to nurse a new thought into a new belief and then a new belief into a new behavior. Think of all of the possibilities that are within you due to the neuroplasticity of your brain and due to the renewal going on in your heart. As the soil is rich with minerals, nutrients and life giving energy to facilitate the transformation of any seed, think of all of the energy that comes from your Higher Power, to change, heal and grow anything you put your mind to. The one challenge? Determining how we will use our energy. As reflected in our passion, our energy could be sorely misplaced resulting in behaviors we never thought we would engage in. Today, just for today, reflect on how you will reclaim and repurpose your energy to grow something good.
Biblical Insight: In this stage of growth and transformation the soil is full of energy (the Holy Spirit — John 14: 16, 17). At this point the role of the Spirit is three-fold. First, His role is to dwell within us and in so doing, He prepares us by providing aid, encouragement, help, comfort, counsel and empowerment regarding how to best “impact the soil and seeds” (our heart and our thoughts) within us. Second, His role is “to come along our side” (like the soil does with the seed) to aid and provide fuel to the invisible and often hidden process of renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 10:5). Third, the role of the Holy Spirit is to teach and guide us into understanding and applying the truth (John 14:17, 26) which simply means becoming free from living in a lethal manner. Truth is a combination of the words “a” [no, not] + lethes [lethal]. Reframing what Jesus said to a woman who seriously erred in her behavior (John 8:1–11), hear Him say “I do not condemn you, but go and learn how to live.” The eventual and mature result(s) in our lives as we partner with the Holy Spirit in this work is Love, as evidenced by Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control (Galatians 5:22, 23).
Whatever seed you use will point to what you will eventually harvest. If the seed is good then the eventual matured product will be good. If the seed is bad, then the outcome will be neither healthy nor edifying. If we wish to reap love then the “basic” seeds we will plant that are transformed with our energy are called love, respect, esteem, acceptance, honor, cherish, favor, prize, and devotion. Could you imagine how healthy you and others in your sphere of influence would be if you planted these characteristics in your mind and worked to cultivate them on a daily basis? Two things for your consideration: First, as with any seed, expect it to struggle as it breaks through its own shell (old exterior/behavior). In addition, just because you don’t see the pod breaking through the surface of the soil does not mean the new behaviors (seeds) planted within you are not growing. Remember that our Higher Power usually does the greatest work in us in the darkest moments of our lives. I encourage you to learn how to “quiet your mind” and protect your garden so the focus of your energy will be on growing and maturing the good seed versus the bad.
Biblical Insight: The question is “What seeds will you plant in the soil of your mind?” The seeds to produce love are the new thoughts and behaviors (Philippians 4:8–9) for us to practice (and to practice them as if we will not finish doing them) to counter the insanity that comes with the “I want what I want when I want it” mentality. We are challenged with this paradox: In order to grow love, we must die to the old schema(s), conceptions and behaviors connected with our incomplete understanding of what love is. To mature, as a seed does in this process of transformation, as well as to mature the seeds that will produce love, calls for us to surrender. It is difficult to surrender — to fall from the tree (John 12:24–25), open up, be vulnerable to, yield to and trust in God’s plan of growth and change. Refusing to grow could be detrimental and hints of denial, cognitive distortion and a lack of awareness regarding the realization and fulfillment of your true purpose (2 Corinthians 5:14–18; I Corinthians 13:4–8a). Without the death of the old self and the burial of ourselves in the proper place on certain issues of life, your transformation could be compromised (Philippians 3:7–11). What do you need to die to, perhaps on a daily basis, in order to see short/long-term growth in your personal and relational life issues (Ephesians 5: 8–11)?