Imagine a garden, or a yard, or a field. If you are trying to successfully plant and grow something, the first step would be to prepare the ground. This could involve breaking up or evening the soil, but almost always requires the pulling of at least a few weeds. Only then, once all this is done, can you start to plant new seeds and watch them flourish.
Consider the comparison of such a garden to our minds. Because of the natural man within us, undesirable “weeds” will inevitably show up in our thought patterns due to no effort or fault of our own. The responsibility is ours, as the gardener, to cast out these weeds and maintain the soil of our minds so that good seeds can take root and grow. How do we do this? Those with experience in gardening/lawn care will testify that the weeds never seem to cease sprouting, no matter what is done. The key is to continually fill our minds with good, so that the evil cannot exist with it.
Why must we do this? Captain Moroni implores in Alma 60,
22 Yea, will ye sit in idleness while ye are surrounded with thousands of those, yea, and tens of thousands, who do also sit in idleness, while there are thousands round about in the borders of the land who are falling by the sword, yea, wounded and bleeding?
7 Can you think to sit upon your thrones in a state of thoughtless stupor, while your enemies are spreading the work of death around you?
It is necessary to intentionally and repetitively place things of the Spirit upon the stage of our thoughts, so that we may outlaw the constant attempts of the enemy to “leadeth away carefully” (2 Nephi 28:21) our focus. It’s as if we’re playing in the most important game of our lives, and the opposing team is drugging our Gatorade. This is unfair and debilitating, yet happens to everybody everyday without us noticing most of the time.
Several tactics have proven to work for me in my quest to look unto the Lord in every thought (D&C 6:36). I never imagined what the power of scripture/words of prophets/revelation written on a 3×5 card and reviewed daily could do for me. However, every gardener has their own tools that work for their own garden.
“Mental discipline may entail looking the other way, reading good literature and filling our minds with worthy insights, listening to inspirational music or general conference, and pleading that the God Almighty will in general help us to stand bravely above the rising tide of immorality, secularism, and cynicism. Keeping our thoughts clean and our minds pure is a lifetime pursuit. We may begin to develop a deeper appreciation for quiet moments and come to treasure silence. We begin to develop a reverence for life” (Robert L. Millet).
Through doing this, I testify that the powers of Heaven are unlocked and continually flowing through our hearts and minds. May the hope of his glory and of eternal life rest in your mind forever, and may the grace of God abide with you forever (Moroni 9: 25-26).