May 6, 2008

What matters most?

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Proverbs 23:7


We know that we are to take our thoughts captive and think on truth but we also have to be careful about what we focus on because wherever we focus our attention or energy, those things can and will develop in our words or actions. Basically, whatever we focus on, we become.

When I get a craving for cheesecake, it does not take long for me to pursue that desire and I end up at Target picking up a Cheesecake Factory cheesecake. Our thoughts stir our desires and emotions and lead us to make choices, good or bad, where we must decide whether we will follow through with them. If we find ourselves only focusing on the negative in our situations, lives or relationships then we become negative and develop a critical spirit. Our conversations and actions become negative and it begins to consume us to the point that we lose the joy that God has placed in our lives. To think that we can lose our joy based on one negative thought.

When trouble arises in our lives it is important that we evaluate where it came from because most of the time, we create our own drama based on our focus and thought life. When we feel depressed or discouraged and cannot quite put a finger on where it is coming from, we should examine our thoughts and find what it is that is fueling our emotions. It is so important that we keep a reign on our minds and feelings. We can choose whether to think the worst or best in our life and in our relationships. Scripture says that we are always to think on what is true, right, good, lovely, noble and pure which means we are to think the best in our lives and of people. We should focus on God's grace, mercy and love and not on the things we do not have. I saw a quote once that said, "As you wander through life, brother, whatever be your goal, keep your eye upon the donut and not upon the hole." It is somewhat corny but there is a lot of truth to it. Too many of us focus on what is not there, what we do not have or what is not right.

How often do we talk negative about the things God has given us? I live in a neighborhood that has homes that were built by a Christian builder. He told us once that he prayed over this neighborhood before it was built asking that it would be filled with families that loved the Lord. God heard his prayer because there are four families alone that all attend the same church and have a desire to obey the Lord. What breaks my heart is knowing that there are people who complain about what flowers are planted at the entrance of the neighborhood or how something in our home was cheaply done. God has blessed our families in this neighborhood with beautiful homes and wonderful neighbors who care for one another but sometimes people focus on the negative and allow Satan to devalue what God has so graciously given to each of us. These are the very things that shape our character and speak to the condition of our heart. (Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23) What is it that really matters in our lives? Is it Him? I cannot help but hear the words to this hymn while writing this post.


"O soul are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There's light for a look at the Savior,

And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace."


Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Helen H. Lemmel-1922


Our happiness and direction in life are decided by our thought life and this is a powerful thing because our thoughts are not just something that passes through our minds and are then gone. We have to remember that our mind is like a battlefield. Satan is always looking for the opportunity to find his way in and take our focus off Christ. It does not matter how well we live our life if our thoughts are not true or right and especially if they are not pure. We must focus on the things that have eternal value and stay clear of those things that will lead us down a path of discouragement and unhappiness because are we truly happy when we're complaining?


"Father, keep my eyes turned and focused on You. Forgive me for the times that I allow my thoughts to focus on the things that are not pleasing to You. Help me to keep my mind filled with Your truth so that my focus is on what is true, right and pure. May all that I do bring honor and glory to You."

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