What to Do with Wayward Thoughts
By: Joe McKeever
“We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” – 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Everyone has errant thoughts from time to time. If we handle them well and send them on their way, in no way should we feel shame or guilt.
Martin Luther said, “You cannot keep the birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from building nests in your hair.” You thought that line was original with your grandma? I have a hunch Luther didn’t make it up either, but was quoting something he had heard all his life. No telling where it originated. But it’s the solid truth.
Thoughts of all kinds flit through our minds. We reject the bad ones and go forward. But we should not feel guilty that they appeared, if only momentarily. Only had we welcomed them inside and let them entertain us with their juicy (scary!) scenarios should we feel that we have done wrong.
No one should ever rationalize that “Well, it was just a thought and thoughts are harmless.”
They are not harmless. The thought is the preparation for the act.
Every wrong deed begins with a wrong thought. And seriously wrong deeds are almost always preceded by a full-scale onslaught of impure thinking, planning and daydreaming.
As serious disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we fill our minds with thoughts proper and healthy, godly and edifying. “Whatsoever things are true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things”(Philippians 4:8).
This is not a new idea, but consistently taught throughout Scripture…
“His delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in that Law doth he meditate day and night”(Psalm 1:2).
“Thy word have I treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11).
“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).
Never mind the television commercial that asks, “What’s in your wallet?” Better to ask, “What’s on your mind?” What are you thinking about? What are you dwelling upon? Where does your mind go to rest and when it settles down? What is it feasting upon?
“A man may not be what he thinks he is, but what he thinks, he is.” –Anonymous and true.
“Blessed are the pure in heart” (Matthew 5:8).