Friday, January 22, 2010


I know what you're THINKING! Uh Oh! What's he fixing to write about now? Well, I've been duly challenged by recent blogs by my daughters, and this coupled with my spiritual and physical preparations for my trip to Israel in March, has me doing some personal soul-searching to make sure my mental processes are where our Lord wants them to be. And taking a page from my fellow-blogger cousin's preps for the same trip, I'm going to try to include you in my pc pilgrimage.

This first day's attempt is focusing on my THINKING. Have you ever thought about what you THINK? I mean, the what, when, and why of what goes through your mind in the midst of every day's myriad of information, of happenings, of temptations, of cries for your attention and participation in an even more numerous array of needs outside your awareness? It's enough to make one's head spin. In fact, don't we usually become so overwhelmed by the barrage that we take the route of the proverbial monkeys who are shown covering their eyes, ears, and mouth in a display of willful ignorance? After all, if I close off all outside communications, I won't be overwhelmed and I can get some peace. Right? WRONG!
THINKING is the basis of knowledge. What I see and hear gives my mind the fodder for discovering what the mouth should say, where the feet should go, what the hands should apply themslves to do. The problem is that THINKING comes in two varieties. There is that which can be referred to as Holy or right THINKING, which leads to Holy and right actions. There is also that which some have poetically called "Stinkin' THINKIN'" that leads in quite the opposite direction. Frankly, despite my attempts to stay in the former channel, I am constantly pulled to take the latter route and when I yield to it, the result is missing the signposts of affirmation and blessing that line the Holy but narrow road.
The apostle Paul writes of his own battle with "Stinkin' THINKIN'" in his letter to the Romans. "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (7:22-24) If Paul found it a struggle to pursue Holy THINKING, we surely cannot expect it to be an easy fight for us. I certainly don't.
THINKING! A friend of mine named Greg Frizzell has written a book called RETURN TO HOLINESS, and in it he writes of 7 categories of cleansing one's life of daily sin. The first category is Sins of Thought. A logical beginning. Indeed, sin begins in our minds as we yield to the frequent temptations which Satan throws our way. If we "catch" and linger enough on those "stones" he throws, they will weight us so far down, reaching the heights of Holy thought will be more and more impossible to accomplish. Enough weight long enough will begin to set the tone of our character in the wrong direction.
My THINKING, Lord, of what nature and character does it speak? Greg has posed questions for one to ask about this category. Three stated are these: 1. Is your mind filled with thoughts of Christ or consumed with earthly issues? 2. Do you think far more about work or recreation than spiritual growth and serving Christ? 3. Are you plagued with fearful or angry thoughts? His counsel is to write down any sinful thought pattern God brings to your attention and then ask God for forgiveness for each one and trust Him to renew your mind. II Corinthians 10:5 is cited as a key verse for consideration and application. "Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
This day, Lord, and each day, I seek your searching Spirit to convict me of any THINKING that does not point to You and Your Holy THOUGHT and purpose for my knowledge, reflection and action. You lead me to THINK upon what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue, of praise. (Philippians 4:8)


Ray Edwards said...

Great words, James. I remember a Psychology prof at Bolivar say to us students, "You're not what you think you are... but what you think, you are. May we experience the Mind of Christ in all our thinking


Mich said...

Love you, dad!

Tiffani said...

This was so timely for me Jim-Dad, thank you!

Goodness, I was JUST thinking on this very subject the other day, how deep in the recesses of my mind are the toughest places to spit out and surrender to God...whether that's for healing, conviction, trust, love, peace...some of those thoughts do "war" with the rest of me and it's ding dang exhausting!!

I will have to check that book out!

I love the passage from Romans, so perfect.

I also love when God gives words to someone and they affect me so perfectly.

Much love to you, Jim-Dad!


Amber said...

Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Good Stuff.

Love you incredibly much.