Sunday, April 09, 2006

Why is it important to think about...?

The other evening, I read to my girls from Philippians 4. Rejoice in the Lord always... Let your gentleness be evident to all... Be anxious for nothing.... Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute -- if anything is excellent or worthy of praise -- think about these things.

And so the older teen asked why it was important to think about them. I should have asked her what she thought, but instead I started answering...

If we think about these things, it is harder to be ungrateful, bitter, envious, or resentful.

If we think about these things, our speech and actions will tend to reflect them. Some years back, I noticed in 1 Timothy 6 that slaves "should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered." (NIV) It says "should consider their masters worthy of respect"; it doesn't say "should treat them with respect". Because if I don't consider you worthy of respect, my disrespect will leak out. As Jesus said, "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Luke 6:46). And Micah tells us that those who scheme iniquity at night carry it out in the morning (2:1).

So this morning, as I walked the dog, I made a little mental list
  • Adequate, Able, Available -- God is able to accomplish what concerns me today, he's always available, he's adequate to carry me through whatever I might face
  • Benevolent, Bold -- He blesses the world, and he doesn't take a piecemeal approach
  • Care - He cares for you and me. And he cares about our joys and sorrows
  • Delight - He delights in us and wants us to delight in him, and he will give us the desires of our hearts
  • ... you get the idea
As I thought of these things, it also occurred to me that I don't always remember to remember these; that my life does not (yet) reflect many of these; that I do not always do what I know. What do I delight in? What do I care about? Who do I care about? What are my priorities?

These questions in themselves provide an answer to...

Another question

When I was very young, I looked up "think" (or "thought"?) in the encyclopedia, and it said that people think when they have a problem. If I come into the house, thirsty on a hot day, and there's a cold drink for me on the table, I don't have to think; I just drink. But if there's nothing on the table and nothing in the 'fridge, if there are no cups within reach, then I have a problem and I have to think about it.

So when we are told to "think about these things", or when the psalmist says the law "is my meditation all the day," or when the songwriter says, "I think of my blessed redeemer / I think of him all the day long," what is the problem they are dealing with? Or was the encyclopedia wrong?

Maybe it was wrong, maybe it wasn't. But one problem is what I wrote a couple of paragraphs back -- I am not like him; I am not as I would be. And we do not yet see him fully -- we don't understand everything he does. "Now we see through a glass, darkly"

But we know that when he (Jesus) appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him (whose hope is fixed on him) purifies him/herself, just as he is pure.

May this be so in my life. And also in yours.

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