Monday, October 31, 2011

Foolish Thoughts as Companions

I'm reading a book on Spiritual Disciplines. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney.

It seems as though I'm learning the hard way that many areas of my life need discipline.
For one, the discipline of meditating on scripture. Not just reading scripture, but truly meditating on God's Word.

It's no coincidence that in the midst of my evaluation of my own spiritual discipline, my mind would come under attack. My mind. It's always been a source of a great war in my spiritual life. The Lord warns of our thoughts, so perhaps I'm not alone. Perhaps it's a war zone for everyone. I analyze. I doubt. I remember sins. I harbor grudges. I daydream. I re-live the past. I judge. I write my own gospels.

If I practiced the discipline of meditating on scripture, I'd win more of these battles.
I'm mentally lazy. Dangerous road to walk.
Sin finds a vast playground in the mind.

Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Take every thought---hold it up against God's word---discard that which is sinful---think on the things of Him.

That is so simple.
If you have no thoughts.

I should have practiced this verse yesterday morning. I had just been thinking on the practice of capturing my thoughts and making them obedient to Christ. I'm not sure why I must fail at all of these principles before I truly believe they work. Just once, I'd like to do it right the first time.

My sinful mind failed the moment I opened my eyes.
Sometime between 5:30 and 6:00 a.m., as I was wrestling with my alarm clock, someone from my past walked through my mind. Five more minutes of sleep. Just five more minutes. She walked through my mind during those minutes. In hindsight, I should have just got out of bed.

I woke up with just a thought. One thought. This thought threatened to leave. I threatened to take the thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

I reconsidered. Come back little thought. Too many years have passed for me to think of this person daily. If I let her go this time, I might forget to think on her again. I might forget some of those things that I want to remember. I better talk just for a minute. I'm strong enough. Enough time as passed. I've grown so much since then.

So I invited her to stay. In fact, I spent the morning with her. She reigned in my mind. We talked, we argued, we pleaded our causes to each other, we re-lived the past. I told my side of the story. She told hers. I'm pretty sure I'm still right. I puffed up a bit with pride. I'm still right.

I should have taken those thoughts captive.

God pulled me out of this dialogue in my mind sometime around lunchtime.

So I've been wondering since then, who really was the fool yesterday morning?
The tugging of the Holy Spirit reminds me that I chose the wrong way to think on such things.
I focused on the ugliness of the past. I forgot God's faithfulness.
I thought on the failures. I forgot how God how been glorified.

I couldn't help the first thought.
By His grace, I could have taken the next thoughts captive.
I could have praised Him immediately.
I could have thanked Him for His faithfulness.
I could have remembered His great love all morning.
I'd like to have that morning back.

An unguarded mind gives birth to sin.
My companions this morning were my foolish thoughts.
What a waste of a morning.

My mind was exhausted after I let the conversation go, I'd been impatient with my children, and I'd solved nothing. The past was still the past. No amount of talking had changed anything. There was still no resolution. There can be no pretty bow on a package of sin. Only the blood of Jesus washes that away. I should have spent the morning at the foot of the cross. My anxious thoughts would have grown strangely dim in the light of Him.

A companion of fools comes to ruin. (Proverbs 13:20)
Our thoughts become our companions.
We are careful to warn our children about their choice of friends.
Our thoughts walk with us too.
They speak to us.
They can build us up in the Lord.
They can also tear us down.
They can be wise.
They can be foolish.

Today...I'm going to take that thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

Come back, Yesterday Morning, I'd like to do you differently.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Ruined Life

Big tears ran down her cheeks.
"You've ruined my life!"

I suppose the first time hurts the most.
I've never heard that statement before.
I thought they were a little young to blame me for everything they hate about themselves.
I thought I had a little more time to save for their therapy.

We were in the middle of a reading lesson. The same lesson we've been working on for two weeks. I thought I was being patient.

I did not see it coming.
She's four. Four. I thought she still adored me.
Who could have guessed?

We were reading the extent of ten words on the page. We'd been sounding them out for twenty minutes. She knew not one. Not one. I might have gone into that squeaky voice just for a second. THE WORD IS "THAT." It was "THAT" five seconds ago when we sounded it out the first time. The letters haven't changed. It's still "that"!

And then the dreaded crocodile tears...followed by a little whimpering...the chin quiver...
"I actually knew that word, Mom. YOU'VE RUINED MY LIFE. I could have sounded that out on my own."

How was I to know that all-of-the-sudden---in the midst of the phonetic struggle---that she had figured out that word.

I'm thinking about NOT teaching her to read.
That ought to ruin her life, don't you think?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Consider This...

My friend, Heather, sent me a quote this morning from the book, The Darkness and the Glory, by Greg Harris.

Just in case we think we are above any sin...

Anyone doubting the extent of Satan's power to tempt should consider this: holy angels in God's holy presence, surrounded by the majesty and the glory of the Godhead and their dwelling place, still were deceived by empty promises and enticements from the evil one.

She reminded me that "One third of the angels fell with Satan." ONE THIRD OF THE ANGELS FELL WITH SATAN. They were surrounded by God's holiness and they were still deceived. We are not "safe from temptation."

Our ability to be tempted and to sin should drive us to the foot of the cross in humility.

But by God's grace, go I...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Any Sin?

Any believer is capable of ANY sin.
If you don't believe that, you don't know the human heart.
True believers repent.
False believers stay in their sin.
(Pastor Bret Capranica, Oct. 2, 2011)

Do you believe you are capable of any sin?
Do I believe I'm capable of any sin?
Any sin? Murder? No way.
Adultery? Not happening.
Violence? Nope, not me.
I couldn't do that. I wouldn't do that. Never.

I know I can steal, cheat, and lie.
I know I can dishonor my parents.
I know I can covet what someone else has.
I know I have idols.
I'll admit the above.
Not guilty.

And then God gently rebukes...
Have you hated?
I have hated with every ounce of energy in my body.
Have your mind and heart always belonged solely to your husband? comment.

It's possible to have never taken a human life, yet murdered a thousand times in hate.
It's possible to be a virgin with the heart of a harlot.
"If any of you is without sin, cast the first stone." (John 8:7)
I'd have to drop my stone every time.

God knows my heart.
I'm guilty of great sin.
I'm capable of any sin.

God in His graciousness shows us the secret darkness bound up in our hearts.
It's all there. The potential for every sin.
It's waiting for opportunity, weakness, and desire to coincide.
It's waiting for the chance to rear its ugly head to devour.
I've seen it in my life.
I've seen it in the lives of others.
I'll never say "I'll never do that" because I've done some of the things that I knew I'd never do.
I'm the wretch the song is talking about. He "saved a wretch like me."
God knew our need for a Savior.
And He sent One for us before we asked.
He sent His Son to save us from the sins we "knew" we'd never commit.
He saved us before we wanted to be saved.

Our ability to sin is not a barometer by which to judge our salvation.
Believers can fall. True believers can fall.
But...true believers repent. True believers repent.
That's the difference.
Repentance is the difference between life and death. Eternally.