Foolish Thoughts

Have we come to regard the nonsense of our age as normal?

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind...

  - Romans 12.2

Shame on my thoughts, how they stray from me!.../They run - not a course of great wisdom - near, far: Following paths of foolishness they reach their home.

  - Anonymous, "On the Flightiness of Thought" (Irish, 8th-9th century)

The natural, unbridled course of our thoughts is to run to foolishness and waste. This is so for two reasons.

First, the unbelieving world around us continually asaults our thinking with notions frivolous, self-indulgent, and shallow. Pop culture, advertizing, our daily conversations, the media - we are beseiged by inanity and mere sensuality, so much so that we are in danger of adopting a mindset which regards the nonsense of our age as normal.

Second, there is a law of sin within us which works like an evil air traffic controller to guide inane, foolish thoughts to a safe landing in our souls. We will not be free of this inward folly magnet for as long as we live. So, unless we are at all times vigilant against its contrivances, we may find that the majority of our conscious thoughts are of no Kingdom consequence whatsoever.

Paul warns us against letting our minds stray along a course which leads to something other than the wisdom of God. We must exercise daily diligence in focusing our minds on the things that are above, where Christ is seated in heavenly places (Col. 3.1-3). Only as we cultivate the mind of Christ, which we have by grace through faith (1 Cor. 2.16), will we be able to see the world like Jesus, think and plan as He did, make decisions on the basis of His values and priorities, and follow the path of righteousness His mind led Him to walk.

This is a daily struggle, and if we do not engage it, we will not make progress in the life of faith. Here is a call for discipline. We should pray with our anonymous poet, "O beloved, truly chaste Christ, to whom every eye is clear, may the grace of the sevenfold Spirit come to keep [my thoughts], to hold them in check."

Begin each day in God's Word. Look for something you can mediate on throughout the day. Work on memorizing Scripture. Learn to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs within your soul. Talk with fellow Christians about spiritual things. Take time during the day for the Spirit to search your thoughts and lead you back to Christ and His Word. Make every decision and choice with a view to furthering the righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit of the Kingdom of God.

The alternative to such diligence is to be diverted from seeking the Kingdom to wallowing and becoming mired in the inanity, triviality, and iniquity of our age in flight from God.

When the Lord returns to call for an accounting of our thoughts, we will want to be well prepared. And that is a preparation we must engage in every day of our lives.

There is glory to know in thinking the thoughts of Christ. But it's a glory we must diligently seek if we would enjoy it now, and forever.

T. M. Moore, Principal

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How familiar are you with the overall narrative of Scripture? How confident are you that your approach to Scripture is adequate to help you mine its true spiritual treasures? Enroll in the course, BT 1 Getting God's Word, and you can improve your knowledge and use of Scripture for a renewed mind in just a few short week. Are you challenging the men you know to seek the Lord more diligently in prayer? Order some copies of If Men Will Pray, and let us do the persuading for you.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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