The Thought Life

What we claim to know won’t influence our lives as much as what we regularly think about. The saying, “What you don’t know won’t hurt you,” comes from the fact that knowledge holds a person accountable for what they know. The Word of God is rich on the subject of the thought life: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”; “Set your mind on things above, not on things below”; “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”; “Search me, O God, and know my heart—try me and know my anxious thoughts”; “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent, and praiseworthy, let your mind dwell on these things”. That we ever feel “safe” within a cynical line of thinking, as if our thoughts have no real affect on us or on others, will prove wrong every time, as the attitude it feeds becomes very real. “For as a man thinks, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

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Confidence in Him, Not in Ourselves

Humiliation is bread and butter to a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, but to anyone who has their thoughts cut out in the pattern of the world, it is poison. It is an old saying, “Pride is the original sin.” In renovation a great stripping away is necessary to acquire newness, and a real ugliness is present for a time in this process when everything is dirty, broken down and chaotic. To stop at this part of the process is a shame; it prevents the new from coming in. If humiliation means that we own up to the mess when it is a mess so that the work can continue, so be it. This is the disciple’s point of view. However, if we become morbidly dismayed by the ugliness when we see it, there will be no end of delays to the regeneration process; pride will deceive a heart into a state of paralysis. Ironically, the more wrong we are in a worldly mindset, the more unwilling we are to be forgiven. Humility frees us to have right relationship with God and others, i.e., to “get it right next time.”

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The Moment that Lasts a Lifetime

Lust can disguise its haste and carelessness under loads of reasoning, but eventually renders the best offerings of life uncontainable. The opposite of lust isn’t love; love has no opposite. The opposite of lust is patience. To think something through to its end can take only a moment. To do this with an attitude of concern for others and a heart sincerely reconciliatory towards putting its own desires under, the cost to any momentary loss of happiness will be steadily eclipsed by future joys, not just for one, but also for all. As lust wears the presence of a fog or of darkness as a cloak for its thoughts and deeds, faith utilizes it as a gauge for how bright the light will be when all thoughts and deeds are revealed.

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Intercessory Feelings

As disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we know that our feelings are not to rule us, but do we understand what part they play, as our lives become the will of the Lord? Whenever we are burdened with feelings that we either cannot, or can only roughly connect with something we are going through, we need to cut the introspection short. If we submit to the natural instinct to over-analyze the origin of the feelings, we will miss the opportunity to intercede. Apart from the fact that Christians are not perfect, these feelings should never be confused with things we have committed to the Lord. Rather, it should be a profound indication that it’s time to pray for someone else. The Holy Spirit will press upon our human emotions to lead us into specific intercessions. Sadness, lust, fears, anxiety or despair may fill our knowledge beyond our personal experience, and it is a burden-bearer’s job to take it to prayer. Sometimes we know for whom we are specifically interceding, sometimes we don’t. But Satan’s kingdom takes its hardest hits from intuitive, intercessory prayer.

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Shifting Dreams, Steadfast Faith

Everything in life starts one way, and then develops into another. The process of growth regarding our purpose should grow and change as our human lives do. The embryo is unrecognizable as the initial manifestation of the fully developed human body, but at every stage, it is the same life, changing shape. So should our youthful revelations be. We call them “lofty” upon reminiscence, remembering feelings of passion and hope, and are saddened when we realize we don’t feel the same way after the years we have spent traveling through life. Our purpose hasn’t diminished; our perception of it hasn’t grown with us. It’s the argument for faith. Faith is the seed of all dreams. If our idea of what the seed will grow into is different than what is realized, we might despair, harden our hearts, and say that dreams don’t come true. However, if our seed of faith – at any stage – is handed over to the One Who created all things, we will see His working in our lives all along.

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The Redemptive Cross

It’s amazing how so many people approach the cross of Christ and then leave essentially unchanged, except for a heightened sense of personal morality. Jesus didn’t shed His blood so we could feel better about ourselves. He died so we could receive His death; the unrivaled cure for our disease of Sin. The only way we can bring honor to the sacrifice Christ made for us is to die to the decrepit idea that we can produce goodness alone. All our efforts to be morally correct and charitably driven will find us empty-handed before Him. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matt. 7:22,23) Paul told us in Galatians that the law of Christ is to bear one another’s burdens—yet how many people walk away from the redemptive cross puffed up with principles of moral refinement rather than emptied out vessels for His Spirit to fill? The Church is Christ’s redeemed Bride, not a creation of men. The gifts of the Spirit are given in different and varied areas according to the wisdom of God, not according to what is impressive or needful in this world. If the meaning of success is that we all end up cookie-cutter clones of one another, and that a set of rules, not personal relationship, is the outcome of believing in God, than Phariseeism is alive and well; Wash the outside of your cup, never allow your principles to be altered, tithe your “mint and dill”—and crucify the Lord of Glory.

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