April Motl is a pastor’s wife who loves to laugh, loves her man, loves to talk on the phone entirely too long and most of all, loves her Lord. Collaborating with the efforts of her husband Eric, the two of them share a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Word into the everyday lives of married couples, men and women. April has been privileged through her own church and ministry outside her local body to share God's Word with women ranging in ages and stages, across denominations, and walks of life. April is a graduate from Southern California Seminary and has written for Just Between Us Magazine, Dayspring's (In)courage, and The Secret Place and also writes regularly for crosswalk.com, iBelieve.com and Women's Ministry Tools. For more information, visit Motl Ministries at: www.MotlMinistries.com
Ask any bride-to-be what fills her schedule and the conversation quickly centers around wedding details. There’s the bridesmaid dresses, the flower girl’s hairpiece, the photographer, his parents, her parents, the little table favors! All that to say, a bride has a one tracked mind-the big day!
If we are the bride of Christ then our minds should be focused too! Far too often I find that my mind is very distracted by pressing needs and deadlines.
I want my mind to be captivated with my Lord’s goodness, but the traffic, the schedule, the finances pull at the corners of my mind. If it isn’t the tyranny of the daily that fills my thoughts it might just be good stuff; like having friends and family over to dinner, scrapbooking, a vacation or some other fun. When teaching our old youth group, my hubby would always use his enjoyment of video games as an example. Not a bad thing, but not necessarily a good one if blown out of proportion. E-bay surfing, Facebook, even talking on the phone can fill up the space in your mind so that there isn’t much room left for God.
What fills your thoughts and time?
The Lord uses the example of a husband and wife, lovers, to illustrate His desire to have a close relationship with you. He thinks about you more times than there is sand on the sea (Psalm 139:18)! He lavishes His love on you! Lovers think about each other constantly. Our minds should be distracted because we are thinking about God, not distracted away from God. Consider what fills your thoughts as you read these verses:
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
It is easy to think that our thoughts are private and because they are just thoughts, they must be quite harmless, right? We might be tempted to think the sins we have to watch out for are the ones everyone sees. I’ve known married women who think, “It’s OK to dream about that man who is not my husband and has a smile that could make any girls’ knees weak--as long as I don’t do anything about it--right?!” (In case you were wondering, no, it’s not OK. Check out Matthew 5:28 and this goes for us gals too!) Or we might say to our self, “What does it matter if I replay her nasty comment over and over? I am ‘righteously angry!’” Yeah... not quite on target either. Maybe it’s just thinking constantly about the piling up of the bills, past blunders or the worrying over what others are thinking about you. The truth is, our thoughts shape our lives!
Our preoccupation with present concerns can consume our thoughts, but equally nagging can be the haunting of our past. Paul warns us about regrets and memories. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” Philippians 3:13-14. The right direction is forward. Make amends where you can, ask for forgiveness and simply press into what God has for you.
Our minds are like a room. They can only hold so much stuff. So concentrate on being purposeful about what you allow to fill your mind. If you have kids or have babysat, you know how quickly a little one can demolish a clean room. Sometimes, I am like that three year old that can make a mess in two seconds flat. I ask God to come in and clean out my mind of all the junk, only to find I am lost under the chaotic mess of my thoughts once again. Just like dishes and laundry that always need doing, our thoughts always need cleaning! Spend some time in prayer cleaning out the closets of your thoughts with your loving heavenly Father right now.
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