Proverbs 23:7 is worth pondering for a few minutes:
As a man thinks so he is.
Our thoughts are truly a reflection of who we are. People ask me why it is so important to study and meditate on God’s Word. Primarily we do so to renew our minds allowing us to align with the mind of Christ. Our minds are prone to wander and often the wandering leads us away from God not towards Him. Our thought life is an indicator of how close we are to Jesus. Paul writes:
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Think on these things…. Sometimes this is a tall order. Sometimes I want to think on other things such as:
You treated me unfairly.
Why is life so difficult?
Why do my choices matter so much?
Who do you think you are?
Ok so my thought life is up and down and if you are honest so is yours. I want us to consider Paul’s words to focus on what is excellent, noble and admirable. The more I read the Word and focus on the Word, the more my mind moves into the realm known as noble.
As a man thinks so he is.
Paul had a solution to our thought life running amuck and this was to dedicate our minds to renewal.
Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2)
Paul continues to unpack how mind renewal aids us in being able to align with God’s will.
Be transformed by the renewing of your mind SO THAT you will be able to prove God’s will.
So why are our thoughts sometimes like a runaway train? I have come to the conclusion that conforming to the world is the culprit. If we are citizens of another kingdom– God’s kingdom– then our time, efforts, purpose, destiny, money, relationships, all need to be centered on Jesus. Conforming to Jesus is the answer to not having our minds run off the tracks.
I don’t know about you, but I have been tested over and over again as I have tried to fit in and conform to a world that consistently rejects me if I do not conform. In our culture today, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to find a safe place to hide with one foot in the world and one in the kingdom. So what to do?
Here is what I have found that helps me navigate an increasingly hostile world. I am learning to listen and to love from a place of desiring the interests of others above my own. Kicking self off the throne daily is a royal battle I might add! I have tried to enter into the world, but not be of the world because my citizenship is not here, but the people the Lord calls me to love ARE here. So staying in our “holy huddles” is not the answer to Paul’s exhortation to not conform to the world, actually entering into the world with a renewed mind is the answer.
This past week, I had the opportunity to meet with several people who described themselves as lost. They each described themselves as empty, void of purpose and hope. I told them about the proverb describing the importance of our minds not being a trash depository for all the unfair challenges in which we live, but instead to be a repository of thoughts renewed by God’s Word.
Friends, our charge is to be light of the world to those around us. But first, we must be intentional to keep guard of our thought life so that what we have to offer others is noble, admirable and praiseworthy.
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