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.