What were you thinking?”
That question usually came to me from a parent who was very upset with my recent behavior — for example, throwing a baseball and breaking the neighbor’s …
What were you thinking?”
That question usually came to me from a parent who was very upset with my recent behavior — for example, throwing a baseball and breaking the neighbor’s window. You see, if it had been our window, we could patch it with cardboard. But we had to replace the neighbor’s window with the same kind of glass that had been broken.
When I responded “I dunno,” my mom would say, “Well, I tell you — you weren’t thinking at all!” Busted!
Do you give serious thought about the issues impacting your life? Schooling, vocation, marriage, parenting, buy or rent. I should have given these things more thought than I did.
“Well, it looks like it worked out OK” might be a good friend’s assessment. And that is true, BUT the “worked out” part could have been a lot less stressful, costly, painful, etc. Now let’s move to our Christian life.
The Bible teaches us to think. Faith has a sure and certain basis, i.e. the whole counsel of God. We are to live by faith as a daily routine. So the Lord instructs us to know thoroughly the precepts of his word. If this is a new idea, but you want to embrace it, begin setting a little time aside each day to get started. Pick a subject that interests you and search the scriptures for any nugget it may reveal. (I’m sure a friend who has spent more time with the scriptures would be delighted to share some insights.)
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom. Knowledge is good but wisdom means you can apply the information to a specific circumstance or problem. Rubbing shoulders with others is an important way the Holy Spirit uses to impart valuable insight. So have at least one friend who listens and critiques, but having several people to whom you are accountable is even better.
Now certain other things are obvious and I’ll only mention them: prayer, attending church gatherings that nurture growth, serving in ways that help others — all of these provide experiences that engage your brain in good mental exercise. I want to say a few words about what may be a dying art: meditation.
Simply stated, meditation is to think thoroughly about something, deeply ponder or carefully consider.
We are commanded in God’s word to meditate, so that alone makes it important. You may say, “I’m too busy.” Well, Joshua got this order when he was about to lead Israel into the Promised Land, Joshua 1.
Now do you really think you are busier than he was? David blessed us with many psalms simply because he mused about the heavens, Psalm 8. Mary, the mother of Jesus “pondered” the things told her, Luke 2. I can certainly believe this made her a better mother.
Let me encourage you to begin with small steps. Just ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of all the things going on around you. Jesus said “consider” the lilies. He then gave relevant instruction to us based on his meditation. He did the same with birds and seeds. Be in touch with your surroundings and God will supply many things for you to engage your brain in more than a casual or surface manner. It is also good to deliberately set aside time for this specific purpose. One of the Puritans said “it is better to hear one sermon and meditate on it than to hear two and meditate on neither.”
So since Sunday is the Lord’s day (not the Lord’s hour), use some of this special time to thoroughly think about what you have heard earlier that day. (Don’t tell your pastor you are doing this; no need for him to have a heart attack!)
Bonus! God declares you will be successful if you take meditation of his word seriously. Psalm 1, Joshua 1 and 1 Timothy 4:15 are examples.
I remember a line from someone who was talking to Christian students entering college for the first time: “Don’t check your brain at the door.” I believe the whole world needs the wise influence of God’s people, so please “don’t check your brain at the door!”
(Don Rushing is the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Powell.)