Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thoughtful Thursday - The Battle for My Thoughts (Part Two)

Previously posted at Rubies Like Ruth for their February 2012 study

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“Okay,” I breathed decidedly, “What do You say about our thoughts?” I thumbed through the pages of the concordance until I reached “th.” My eyes quickly scanned page after page until thoughts glared up at me. I grabbed a notebook and pen and settled on my bed.

Genesis 6:5 – And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

“Wow, wicked thoughts have been a problem since the beginning.”

1 Chronicles 28:9 – And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek Him, He will be found of thee; but if thou forsake Him, He will cast thee off for ever.
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I paused for a moment. “Even if I don’t understand all my thoughts, God does. I guess that means that He knows where they all come from. Where do they come from, I wonder?” And here my thoughts raced. Movies, books, conversations, posters, adds, emails, letters . . . everything that I see, hear, and ingest are food for thought. I shuddered. It was scary to realize it. I pulled away from my thoughts and looked through the next few verses.

Psalm 10:4 – The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.

This time, I completely stopped with my heart pounding. “God is not in all his thoughts!” In the course of a day, how often did my thoughts turn to daydreams, stories, movies, or plans? How often did they turn to God? I felt hopeless again.

“Lord, I don’t want to simply be a Sunday-morning Christian, thinking of You only when I read my Bible or go to church! I don’t want to be wicked without You in my thoughts! But how do I keep you in my thoughts?” I waited for a moment. Maybe another verse would have the answer. I kept going. When I flipped to Psalm 119, my eyes immediately fell on a heavily marked verse.

Psalm 119:9 – Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to Thy word.

“That’s it!!” I exclaimed. My voice bounced off the walls and I smiled sheepishly. I read the verse again. “How does one cleanse his ways? By listening to God’s Word: living it and doing it.” Impure thoughts were simply filth in my life that needed to be cleansed and renewed.

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I knew from sermons I heard that when we take something out of our lives, it must be replaced with something good, but I had never applied it to my thoughts. “I can’t simply take out my impure thoughts,” I mused, twisting my pen. I looked back down at my Bible.

Psalm 119:11 – Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.

I grinned again. The answer was so clear: memorize God’s Word!! My grin quickly turned to a thoughtful frown. What should I memorize? There are so many wonderful verses in God’s Word!

“Well,” I said testily, “I guess if I’m struggling with my thoughts . . . maybe I should memorize a verse about my thoughts.” I looked through the concordance again.

Isaiah 55:7-9 – Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

I read the verse several times, the realization sobering me. I had always read the verse, thinking, “Of course God’s thoughts are higher than mine – He is God!” But I had always neglected the command to forsake my thoughts and turn to God. It was a command – not just a suggestion.

Again, I took a deep breath. Three verses would not be so bad to start off with. I quickly bowed my head, “Thank You, Father, for leading me today. I know that I have sinned by dwelling on my impure thoughts, but thank You for showing me a way out. I ask for You to help me purify my thoughts because I know that I cannot do it on my own. Thank you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Though this is a fictional story, much of it is gleaned from glimpses of my own life. Are our thoughts really where they need to be? Or are we simply ignoring the need to cleanse our thoughts? May God help us all to cleanse and purify our minds so we can better serve Him!

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