Today’s Passage -Psalms 90 – 95
Second Milers also read – Matthew 7 – 8; Psalms 16 – 20; Proverbs 4
“In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.” – (Psalm 94:19)
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” – (Proverbs 23:7)
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – (Philippians 4:8)
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – (2 Corinthians 10:5)
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about thinking lately. I am discovering that our thought processes have a great deal of impact on our overall happiness. In our reading passage today, in Psalm 94, David is confronted with all of the negatives that life could dish out. He had many enemies that were trying to destroy him, and he had his critics that seem to always know how the job could be done better. Yet, David chose not to dwell on all of these discouraging factors. Instead, his thoughts turned to God. David was pretty good at this. Remember when the Amelekites took David’s family captive, and the families of all his men? His men were so upset with David that they spake of stoning him. What did David do? Well, he eventually went out and got his friends and family back, but first he got encouragement from God. How did he do that? He remembered God’s promises. He thought about his relationship with God, and chose to think about what God had done for him in the past, as well as what God said he would do for him in his future; and this thought process caused David to take action. But it all started with a thought process. David’s circumstances did not change at all before his encouragement came. His encouragement came simply from looking at his circumstances from a higher perspective; and then the actions that resulted from the encouragement changed his circumstances, which, of course, encouraged him more.
Many people I know, are constantly living in a state of discouragement. Their minds are a playground of negativity, which results in a defeated attitude. This further causes them to live in defeat, blaming everything and everybody for their problems and failures. The Bible says that we need to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. These negative thoughts attack what we believe to be true about God and our relationship with Him, which makes God’s image and power appear smaller in our mind. We are supposed to magnify the Lord, not make him smaller.
As I have observed people through the years, I have noticed two root causes for negativity and discouragement in God’s people:
The first reason for their discouragement is that they are not busy enough. They have too much time on their hands to think, and the direction of their thoughts is often about their circumstances. Instead of taking the appropriate actions necessary to improve their situation, they wallow in self-pity, waiting for somebody to come along and fix the problem for them; and when he never comes, they go into an even deeper discouragement with blame and criticism added to it directed toward the people that should have cared enough to help. Busy people, however, tend to not have time to dwell on anything. They are too busy. Their minds are active, and are constantly being used to solve problems, rather than dwell on them. Did you ever notice in the Psalms written by David, that he never looks to anybody but God to solve his problems.
The second cause for discouragement is that when people do have time to think, they let their thoughts control them, rather than choosing and controlling the thought pattern. The Bible commands us to “cast down”, and to “think on these things”. These two imperatives make it clear that what we think about is, at least to some degree, a matter of our own choosing. I ask again – what are you thinking about? Is your mind filled with criticism and complaint about other people? Is it polluted with corruption and filth from sin? God wants you to think about good things. God wants you to control what you think about. Think about Him; read His Word; memorize passages of Scripture; sing the songs of God; spend some time remembering God’s promises, and praising Him for what He has done in the past.
If you and I could stay busy, and then when we do have time to think, control the direction of our thoughts, we could then encourage ourselves like David did, and then we could get up and do something, which will make our lives, and the lives of others better, which then makes us feel even better.
Just a thought.
By the way – Happy Birthday America!
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.