Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
Essentially, we tend to be shaped by what our minds think about most often. If you always think about yourself, you'll probably become an egotist. If you thing about material things all the time, you'll most likely become materialistic. If you dwell on your fears, doubtless you'll grow paranoid; if on others' wrongs, you'll become bitter. But imagine - just imagine - what would happen if your thoughts
focused not on bitterness but on the forgiveness of Christ... not on your fears but on the hope you have in Christ... not on selfish accumulation of things but on the unselfishness of the Savior... not on exalted thoughts of yourself but on His lowliness. May I lift the shade of your personal thoughts and take a peek? What clutters your cranium? Work? Worries? Why not have a garage sale and get rid of some of that junk - and rearrange your mental furniture around Jesus (Heb. 12:1-3)? (The Foundation Stones, p. 68)
This is deep stuff... Almost too deep for me to write about... I used to get my kicks rearranging furniture in my dorm room... I would get bored with the way things were--and bored with academic material I couldn't understand--so I would take the night off and rearrange my room. It really did give me a new perspective--it made me feel fresh. (Maybe it's time to rearrange this house!)
I had a lot of things flash through my mind while I was reading this paragraph. What do I spend my time thinking about, and what is that causing me to become? What impact is it having on the way that I treat other people? Sometimes it's hard for me to see. Sometimes something that seems good can be so subtlely destructive! I have all this money! I can do this, this, this, and this for this person and that person! But in doing that, I forget the person's humanity and need for closeness. I am doing good: I'm doing this, this, and this for this cause and that cause. But I'm hurting people by treating them as objects to be fixed instead of people to be loved. These are fairly common examples in society, and I struggle with them from time to time. Sometimes people have said to me, "Do you hear me?" "Is that how you think of me?" And it makes me stop and realize that maybe I have been sending a message without meaning to--and if so, then I need to stop my rat race and all my "doing good" and humble myself and examine my own thoughts and priorities.
Something to chew on today...