What's on your mind? Christmas shopping? Politics? Figuring a way to cut a few pounds after Thanksgiving and before Christmas?
Have you ever stopped to think about what you think about?
Mental inventory is important, especially during this busy time of year. It is so easy to operate on "auto pilot," without realizing we haven't taken any time for maintenance in our thought process.
We need to discipline our minds just as we do our bodies. We can drift away from the Lord and others by simply not taking the time to think properly.
In Philippians 4:8, we are told to think about the right things. The word used for "think" in that passage literally means to "take an inventory." It means to take time to think about what you think about.
Proverbs 4:23 says we are to "Above all else guard your heart (intellect), for it is the wellspring of life."
Sooner or later the way we think translates into actions. Often we wonder, "how we could I have said or done something so foolish?" Usually it is the product of an undisciplined thought life. Unwholesome thinking is the doorway to many regrets.
Conversely, what we force ourselves to think about will determine how we feel. The psalmist said, "I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes." (Psalm 119:59)
That verse is the key to discipline in our thought lives. The One who designed us also wrote the operation manual. His Word is meant to be a gauge by which we can make the proper adjustments in our attitudes.
Hebrews 4:12 says his words are "... living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."
One of the reasons our devotion to God's Word is so important is because of the importance and honesty of the "surgery" it performs in our lives. Each of us needs correction from time to time, and it is the conviction brought on by an openness and obedience to Scripture that makes us aware of how we have drifted.
2 Corinthians 10:5 challenges us to, "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." As we do that, two things will happen: First we will become more like him. That has been his desire all along.
Secondly, we will see others as he sees them. That is an attitude sorely lacking even among Christians today.
Philippians chapter two is one of the most powerful passages in the Bible that deals with Christ's life and sacrifice for us. In verse five of that chapter, we are told our attitude should be the same as his. That is a tall order, but it is possible.
As the Christmas season approaches, may I suggest an addition to your busy schedule? Take time to do a mental inventory. Are there changes you need to make? Are there relationships that need to be restored?
As we remember the birth of our Savior, let's remember, too, that he came so we could follow his example. One of the greatest gifts we could give to our loved ones and others around us is a changed life because of a changed heart. What's on your mind?
Phil Reemtsma is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church at 208 Lawton Drive in Kenai.
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