I have come to the understanding that all action begins with thoughts. Every evil deed, every amazing and magnanimous action has stemmed from a thought. Even the very words of our mouths begin with a thought, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaketh.” Our very character is formed by the thoughts we think. There cannot be enough emphasis on the importance of taking control of our thoughts and bringing them under the authority of the Lord. I have believed in the past that this is an area that could be mine alone. That I should have the freedom and ability to think what I like and that my thoughts would not bring harm to anyone else. This could not be more incorrect. Our thoughts are the very wellspring of our being. They shape who we are. “Finally brothers, 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 on these things” (Phil 4). THESE are the things that will give us true joy and help us to see and know God. We cannot truly desire to follow the Lord without bringing even our thoughts under the authority of His kingship. We must give him EVERYTHING.
The act of giving every thought to the Lord can take on a different meaning in each person’s life. To one person this may mean allowing the Lord to reshape critical thoughts of others. To another it may take a change in thoughts that are complaining about people or situations in life. Some may just need to be more purposeful in thoughts, to bring questions, ponderings, thoughts before the Lord and allow Him to form their very musings. Still others may be need to give up their “right” to impure thoughts that consume their thought life. I have heard it said, and found it to be true in my own life, that sinful thoughts can begin small, but take on a much larger dimension and scope the more I give myself to them. Earlier in life, before finding out about the importance of thoughts, I would spending increasingly more time on thoughts that were not pleasing to God. Does it become any surprise when our lives lose the joy and luster that God intends for us? Our very thought lives can bring glory to God, because out of our thoughts, actions and words come. Oh Lord! Help us to realize the importance of our thoughts. Help us to bring everything to you and allow you to shape and mold us according to your image even in the very thoughts we think.
When we give ourselves up to Him and allow Him to form the very thoughts in our heads, He begins to do amazing things. He enlarges our character slowly, in small increments, so that we can begin to understand even more of His character. He grows our capacity to know Him. As we grow in our capacity, He is faithful to fill us with even more of Him. As He continues in this process, we find ourselves able to hear thoughts that are given from the Lord about many various subjects. I have heard it said that prayer without ceasing is like having an “inward orientation towards God”. Such can be accomplished through our thoughts. To have our thoughts constantly oriented towards our Lord is such an awesome privilege. What better way to live life!!! To allow our precious Lord to teach us how to think about ourselves, those around us, our neighborhoods, His Word, our everyday circumstances, and any number of other subjects is such joy! It opens our eyes and reveals a world around us that we could completely miss if we aren’t constantly holding our thoughts up to Him. It is no wonder our Lord tells to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Cor. 10: 5). He is not doing this to be mean, spiteful or a pleasure killer. He commands us to do this because He knows that the thoughts from him are so much bigger and so much better than anything we can think on our own. Oh Lord, help us to submit every thought to You, not because you want to rob us of joy, but because You want to give us so much MORE joy than anything we can imagine.
The following thoughts are the result of a deep desire to allow the Lord to form His thoughts in me about many various subject matters. May the Lord be glorified.
Perfection is arrogance. Who am I to think that I can even gain anything close to perfection? And who am I to think that I even have an understanding of what determines “perfection”? Lord, I am embarrassed that my prayer has, at times, been, “Forgive me for being so far from perfection in this area.” I am embarrassed that I would be so hard on myself if I was not “perfect” in some way. My prayer has now become, “FORGIVE ME, Lord, for even trying to be perfect. For only you know what perfection looks like. Forgive me for trying to impose MY idea of perfection on myself instead of allowing YOU to determine what you would have me to become. Help me to remember that “your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways are not my ways” and that you know the idea you had for me before you had even created me. Help me to remember you’re your “perfection” might call for the very things I think of as “imperfect”. Please help me to kneel before you and allow you to mould me as you wish. I love you.”
(T)Enjoying God: The ocean is such a wonderful picture of God. “Great and mighty is the Lord. Mightier than the ocean, Mightier than the great breakers of the sea”. I am struck by His might and His greatness as I stand and watch the waves crash and thunder toward the shore. I am also made aware of how very small I am beside that great expanse of water. It is amazing that my God should care for me at all. “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”
As I watch and enjoy the waves during my long walk on the shore, I am also struck at how the ocean is enjoyed so differently by each person. Some love to sit by the ocean and listen to the beauty of the pounding waves (my mother). Others love to walk beside it and ponder the wonder of it all (me). Still others love to chase each wave as it comes in and out and/or make elaborate sand castles (my daughters). My young son loves to just sit and feel (and eat) sand for hours on end. My husband loves having a refreshing swim amongst the waves. And numerous others enjoy it by painting it, surfing in it, catching fish, swimming in its depths, parasailing, boating, studying the animal and/or plant life, traveling to islands surrounded by it, studying its currents and movement, and numerous other activities.
Could this not give us a picture of you, Lord? You are so vast, so immense that there is no way to completely comprehend You. And yet, you invite us to experience and enjoy your presence in many ways. And You will open our eyes to more and more ways to enjoy and experience who You are. You are untame-able, mighty, vast, immense, powerful, ever-changing, life-giving and glorious. There is no way to completely understand You. And yet, to love You is to enjoy You and be awed as we walk along the shore of Your presence.