OUR MINDS SEEM so feeble, so weak, so finite and even at times BLANK! How can we consistently think aright unless God blesses us with the right thoughts? The first step, of course, is to DESIRE the right thoughts, and that must also be of God and His grace. But if He gives us that desire, can we not expect Him to fill that desire to a good measure? Indeed we can! But what about to a FULL and extreme measure?
It says in Ecclesiastes 12: 13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” The word “duty” is in italics in the Bible, meaning that it was added by the translators, not being in the original manuscripts. So it would otherwise simply read, “This is the WHOLE of man.” Yea, what else matters? This encompasses life and eternity. This expresses God’s will and His purpose for us as His children.
Emphasizing this, Jesus said that the first of all commandments is, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy mind, and with ALL thy strength.”
In our recent booklet, “Filled with God Versus Filled with Self,” it came to me that when Jesus says He wants something FILLED, He means for it to completely filled, with no room for anything else, just as the servants at the wedding feast where He performed His first miracles took Him to mean. The servants did as Mary told them, to DO WHAT JESUS said, so evidently He meant for them to fill those waterpots to the very brim! That is what He means when He wants something FILLED. So when He recounts the greatest and first commandment, and as the Triune God in the flesh says to love God with ALL your heart, soul, mind and strength, He must mean ALL in the same way that He means for “filled” to be full to the brim. In both cases, the consequence is that His will is that there is no room left for anything else but what He has ordered! That is a profound, and I might say a PROPER thought!
But is this at all POSSIBLE? Is it not true that such as this will occur only to perfection in our glorified state? Yes, that is true, but that does NOT change God’s standard. When He says that there are 36 inches in a yardstick, He does not mean that we can get by with counting just 35. He does not reduce His standard on account of our inability. His standard is still perfection, FILLED, and ALL for Him. We have NO RIGHT to lower the standard even for ourselves.
Our sin is when we DO lower the standard! In fact that is one definition of SIN—falling short of the mark! We know what the goal is; we should not let anything detract us from that goal or lessen our striving!
If you begin to think you are somewhat satisfied with your level of growth, with your level of spirituality, then read after some really spiritual men of God. Read their biographies and you will be humbled. You will realize, by the grace of God, that you should never be self-satisfied. You will realize that God means what He says when He says that even if we have done all we are supposed to do, then we are still just unprofitable servants, for we only did what was our duty to do,—even if we were to reach perfection or near perfection. No room for pride here! Not ever. No way!
Furthermore, we are not to compare ourselves with ourselves, and become satisfied with ourselves just because OTHERS fall short too. We are to measure ourselves by God perfect standard. Having made that clear, it is still true that holy and spiritual men of God can challenge us and inspire us to reach higher, to be even more diligent, and to strive with all our might. Some deny this need to struggle and fight to obtain, but Paul spoke of it and the word of God teaches it. To deny the challenge is to cater to the flesh. I think of men like Thomas a Kempis and Brother Lawrence, and so many others who regularly spent five hours or more every day in real prayer. What a challenge! I fall so far short of even that.
With such thoughts that I trust ARE “proper” thoughts, let us look also at the matter of the meditations of our heart.” And still, after all I have said that I can find to say, I myself find my mind often BLANK when it should be FULL! And I cry out, “Oh for PROPER THOUGHTS.” Oh for glorious, sweet and very worshipful thoughts of God, toward God, even coming from a heart filled with God! Yes, Lord, give me PROPER THOUGHTS.
“Let the words of my mouth, and the medi-tation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)
Again, the goal is that ALL my meditation be godly and acceptable in His sight. This means there is no room for evil, unholy thoughts, even foolish jesting with no good and righteous purpose. It means to do away with ill-will, with thoughts of unkindness and unwise judgments. It means living by Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest,, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsosoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Then look at 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do ALL to the glory of God.”
There we see that word again—”ALL.” Do ALL to the glory of God. What a high standard! But what a plain teaching showing us God’s will for His redeemed saints.
Finally, here is another “proper thought” in itself: If we find our mind running on low fuel, with out tank on empty, we can simply go to God’s word and read and meditate in order to refuel, and get a “tankful” of “proper thoughts.” Even a TANKFUL of THANKFUL thoughts!
Some we know will object to this message, saying it is not grace teaching. But they are so wrong. It is all grace and we can do nothing without grace. But some imagine that if it requires effort, or struggle, or the exhortation to diligence, then it is not grace. We pray that they will see what real grace, joy and Christian living is all about,—BY GOD’S GRACE.
Finally, taking all into account, contemplating how you spend your time and strength, your heart affections, and how you use the power of your mind, think on this too:
“Awake thou that sleepest . . .
See then that ye walk circumspectly,
not as fools, but as wise,
redeeming the time,
because the days are evil.”