Important Questions

Life is filled with so many “important” questions, like:
“Paper or Plastic?”
“Any hazardous materials, perishable goods, or lithium batteries?”
“What the last four digits of your social?”
What substantive questions has your soul been pondering these days?  What enthralling thoughts occupy the stage of your attention?  Ralph Waldo Emerson claimed, "A man is what he thinks about all day."  His words are, of course, essentially a re-casting of the sage's biblical aphorism, "As he thinks within himself, so he is" (Proverbs 23:7 ISV).  St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the abbot of a Cistercian house (1115 AD), mined in the same vein of truth and  came to believe, "That which we love, we grow to resemble."

The Scottish poet and playwright, Carol Ann Duffy, has an amazing line (question) in her famous poem, “Snow.” She is a professor of contemporary poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University and was appointed Poet Laureate in May 2009. The very last line of this poem challenges us with a prophetic question:
“What will you do now with the gift of your left life?"
These words can be haunting for those who brood in dark themes and distress (as though answering the question, “What will you do now that your health and family and love have been torn from you?”). The question is really posing the same idea that was stated by poet Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild, precious life?” Where our minds travel and linger is the best indication of how we will spend our lives, and what will shape who we become.

Could it be true after all, that we really are what we eat?  That all that nourishes us, in body, soul, mind, and spirit, ultimately forms us? Just who or what is in charge of watching over me and all that I am becoming? Does not the human heart have a remarkable propensity of surrendering willingly to that which captivates the eye and panders to our social, emotional, and physical yearnings? Sounds like we need a little help at the front gate! And yes, what about this soon-to-be-worn-out modern favorite: "Garbage in - garbage out?"  Have the sages of computer programming been reading their Bibles?

So, what are you thinking about these days?  What are the deep and hidden longings of your soul? Chances are good they are taking you on a journey of which you may not even be aware. Chances are good you are held captive to the hope and vision they cast, either for the better or for the worse. Christian leadership author, John Maxwell, says, "Your life today is a result of your thinking yesterday. Your life tomorrow will be determined by what you think today."  That's why the Apostle Paul was so adamant when he said, "Finally my brethren, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things" (Philippians 4:8).
Our minds and thoughts about life matter. We are commanded by God to “Meditate on it [the Bible] day and night” (Joshua 1:8 NIV). How I long for the day when my every waking thought will be consumed by the desire to, "dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple" (Psalm 27:4). How I long for the day when my eyes will not see a cultural fare of products and services to consume, but a rich and diverse field of cherished people awaiting the presence of laborers and harvesters from the Kingdom.

In his famous Christian classic book, “Your Mind Matters,” author John Stott says, “It is not enough to know what we should be, however. We must go further and set our mind upon it. The battle is nearly always won in the mind. It is by the renewal of our mind that our character and behavior become transformed. So, Scripture calls us again and again to mental discipline in this respect.”

May our life of devoted discipline before, and unto, our Lord, be a sign of our Master’s mental marquee, the stellar and exemplary way in which we use our thoughts to love God and serve others.
“We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB
Pastor David 😊

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