Christianity 201

June 21, 2011

Thought Monitoring

Recovering alcoholics use the phrase “one day a time” as a reminder that progress, to be successful, has to take place on a daily level; and resultant sobriety is measured in weeks, months and finally annual celebrations.

When it comes to controlling our thought life however, our progress can rise or fall in minutes, or even within the seconds of a single minute.  However, as long as we understand that, we won’t be defeated when unwanted thoughts creep into our heads.  We can say, “Okay, my mind may have been going down the wrong path that past few seconds, but I can now get back track for the next few seconds.”

Falling asleep and waking up are probably the toughest times for me.  As in any professional sports match, I can be more effective when I run a good defense.  For myself, I find in those minutes I can slam dunk some of those thoughts simply by reciting the phrases of the Lord’s Prayer. 

Of course, in the morning, simply getting up and starting the day a few minutes earlier also solves the problem.  I remember Larry Tomczak saying years ago that “most Christians are defeated between the bed and the breakfast table.” 

So if the AA program can claim the phrase, “one day a time;” I propose that we appropriate the phrase, “minute by minute.” 

II Cor 10:5 in the KJV contains the phrase, “Bringing every thought into captivity.”  Here’s how the NLT renders that passage:

 3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. 5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. 6 And after you have become fully obedient, we will punish everyone who remains disobedient.

In verse 5 Paul personifies our thoughts and writes that we teach our thoughts to obey Christ. In The Message read how Eugene Peterson looks at this:

3-6The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.

Note the phrase, “fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.”  Yes, there are going to be “loose thoughts,” but we redirect them. 

Last year I wrote on this subject for three consecutive days, and if you want to continue reading here are the links on this vital topic:

We can also help each other by praying for specific people God brings to mind and asking for His help for them to keep their thought life focused on things that are pure, lovely, praiseworthy, containing good news and virtuous.  You pray for me, and I will pray for you.

~Paul Wilkinson

1 Comment »

  1. > “It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair” –
    That reminds me of the well known illustration of the two equally powerful fighting dogs. If one dog was fed and the other starved, the fed one would be victorious. Which ever of the two natures fighting within us is fed WILL be victorious. If we do not feed on the Word and communion with our Lord, the flesh will become victorious, but praise God the opposite is also true.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds — June 22, 2011 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

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