Thoughts - what do you do with yours? 'R' ~ Ruminate on this. T.H.R.I.V.E., #19
The quality of your life as you re-enter life following Covid-19 will be greatly determined by your thinking. "Nurture great thoughts, for you will never go higher than your thoughts." Benjamin Disraeli. Why? "Because your thinking is the lid to your potential." I had to google the remark to remember I had logged it into my brain after reading John Maxwell's leadership book many years ago, Thinking for a Change.1 Reminded me that what we look at, what we take into your minds will make its home in the recesses of our minds, sometimes recalled at just the right moment, sometimes at a most unfortunate one. hmmm. Thinking, good thinking. It is strange to me that teachers and preachers talk so much about giving our hearts to God, but talk so little about giving our thoughts to God. Are we not the sum total of our thoughts? We can experience the sweetness of time spent with God or some meaningful shared worship experience and then leave that space and find ourselves feeling cut adrift, alone in a world filled with arrows aimed at our minds, vying for our attention in so many ways. An email request from a colleague, a phone call from the school regarding our student, a just-opened bill stamped overdue, the nagging thought that we have not worked out in three days or an unreturned voicemail we see on our phones... instantly, our thoughts go first here, then there. Our minds exhaust us. Wait, what happened to the sweet space with God 30 minutes ago? Where did that 'feeling' of peace go? Do you ever stop and think about what you think about? As you walk along the way, what is running through your mind? As you drive down the road, how many different trails will your thoughts take? Aye...~ YOUR THOUGHTS ~ are they more likely to be ... good or something far less than good? positive or pessimistic? valuable or destructive? empowering or deflating? holy or depraved? hopeful or despairing? joyful or worried? noble or cowardly? confident or fearful? contented or never satisfied? pure or corrupt? purposeful or a wasteland? lovely or ugly? humble or prideful? admirable or ignoble? life-giving or critical? Indeed if all of your thoughts from the last week were projected on a white wall, what would they resemble ... a minefield? a cesspool? a swamp? or a garden, where good things have the ability to flourish? You see, how we think and what we think about is important to God. How we think and what we think about is critical to our own well being, and how we think impacts our ability to discern the voice of God, and to sift God's voice from all the other voices in our head. You see, right thinking matters . . . especially as Jesus followers, longing to be in communion with him. It is the heart of God that our minds would thrive with that which is good and life giving; Paul summed it up beautifully, "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things."1 Every once in a while, it is good to take stock of our lives-- our thinking and behavioral habits, attitudes, relationships and so on. And then too I like to think of God's stocktaking of these same arenas in my life: what would he like to heal? what would God want me to allow him to transform or simply cut off? what fruit of the Spirit is lacking in my life, and so on? Upon looking a little more closely, it seems ground zero is our thinking. So, about what would you say you spend most of your time thinking? _____________________________________________ What thoughts do you have that are pleasing to God?___________________ _______________________________________________________ Which thoughts are not? ______________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Paul said, "Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that . . ." Look up Romans 12.2. and fill in the rest: ( you'll be so glad you did) "_____________________________________________________________________." We must give not just our hearts to God, but our minds as well, so that through his power in us, we can begin to take charge of our thinking, rather than our thoughts running amok controlling us. Christine 1 - Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work, John C. Maxwell 2 - Philippians 4.8 3 - question: why do you think Paul follows Philippians 4, verses six and seven with the content about thinking in verse eight??