Saturday, March 15, 2014

Reading Your Mail - Lenten Journey Day 9



May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 9:14)

During my job pursuit I have been reaching out to various people in my network.  Just recently I was speaking with an elected official I know and I shot him an email to follow-up on our conversation.  I’m the first to admit, I’m pretty obnoxious about following-up, so when I didn’t hear back I called his administration to make sure he had received my message and it  hadn’t fallen into his junk mailbox. 
“Oh yes,” his administrator responded “I saw that email today and forwarded it on to him.”
I found that interesting so I inquired further.  Turns out, she intercepts all his messages and then passes them on to him.  So much for privacy, huh? 
“Good thing I was on my best behavior,” I said jokingly.  However, the whole idea of someone unknown reading my message rattled around in my mind for some strange reason. 
After I hung up I began to ponder that.  Our behavior naturally changes when we know it has an audience.  The more important the person, the more carefully we choose our words. I’m probably not the only one who is glad there isn’t an amplifier connected to my mind.  Could you imagine a tape (I’m dating myself….mp3?) of your thoughts being played back at prominent event attended by individuals you highly respected?
Awkward.
Whew!…..glad that couldn’t happen.  Super embarrassing.  Right?

Not so fast…
“….You know my thoughts even when I’m far away….You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD” (Psalm 139:2,4)

Someone is reading your mind’s mail, and it is none other than your Heavenly Father and the King of Kings.
So what was He reading in your mail today? 

Was it thoughts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gratitude, helping others?  Or would He have read a whole lot of junk mail?

The scripture encourages us to take control of our thought life.  Paul tells us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  Whether you like it or not, your thoughts ARE on display.  But, even more importantly than that, your thoughts and what you choose to focus on determines your destiny. 

Have you ever met individuals who seriously struggle with hypochondria?  They worry themselves so much about becoming ill that you know what happens? Eventually they become sick.  Our thoughts have life in them.
For as a man thinks within himself, so he is“ (Proverbs 23:7)

Even knowing this, there have been moments in my life when I struggled with thoughts I knew God wouldn’t be pleased with.  My mind and I would get in this think-o-war where I would fight my own thoughts.  It went sort of like this….

“don’tthinkaboutit.stopthinkingaboutitdon’tthinkaboutitstopthinkingaboutitstopthinkingaboutit”

And you know what that caused me to do? Focus on the very thing I was trying to push out of my mind.  Think about it.  If I tell myself I’m not going to eat chocolate and all I do is walk around saying “don’t eat chocolate”, I’m going to eventually talk myself into eating it.  You don’t have to “arm wrestle” your thoughts , you just need to point them in the right direction.

So what should we be thinking about?

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8)

As you fill your mind with God’s truth, you leave less room for those other thoughts.

How do we do that?

Spend time reflecting on God’s word, by hearing it, reading it, and speaking it.  David proclaimed, “Oh, how I love your instructions! I think about them all day long” (Psalm 119:97).  If anyone knew the consequences of letting your thought life run free, it was David.  It eventually led to murder, adultery, and him losing his son. He found shelter by returning to God’s word. 

Be careful what you let in.  Proverbs insist that you are to “guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23).  It’s naïve to think that we can watch, read, listen to, and surround ourselves with worldly and fleshly things and come out unscathed.  David knew that he had to stop unrighteousness in its tracks when he said, “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me” (Psalm 101:3). 

What we expose ourselves to plants seeds.  You can’t eat a horrendous diet and expect a clean bill of health from the doctor.  Neither can you feed your mind whatever you please and be surprised when the thoughts produced are out of alignment with God. 

Now that you know God is reading your mail, let it be full of love letters, from you to Him.  Thoughts that make Daddy proud.

Additional Scriptures: Mark 7:21, Luke 6:45, Galatians 5:16-26, Philippians 2:2-8, Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 1:13

Suggested Reading: Battlefield of the Mind, Joyce Meyer


Let’s pray:  In the name of Jesus, I take authority over my thought life.  I refuse any ideas and thoughts and lofty thing that try to rise up against the true knowledge of God in my life; and I lead every thought and purpose into captivity and into the obedience of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  With all of my being I will bless the Lord with every thought and purpose in life. My mind will not wander out of the presence of God. My life shall glorify the Father — spirit, mind, and body. Any thoughts that are unlike You God - worry, sin, fear, excuses, negativity – hold no place in my thought life. I choose to believe the best of every person, including myself. I will protect my mind, and keep it set on what is above — the higher things — not on the things that are on the world.  Whatever is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and worthy of praise— I will fix my mind on them. I declare that I have the mind of Christ.  Amen

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