When you are alone with your thoughts, what inner voice do you hear? What are the private thoughts of your quiet moments? Even in this age of constant media bombardment, people have times when the only thing they hear are their own thoughts. You can tell a lot about your relationship with God through what goes through your mind.
I live in a rural setting on a small farm. There is a quality to farm work that gives you a lot of “think time.” I like to work outside. Sometimes I’m alone when I work and sometimes I am with my wife or children. The times that I am working alone provide especially good time to talk with God and meditate on His Word. Sadly, I don’t always take advantage of that time. Other thoughts creep into my mind. It can be hard to put down those other thoughts.
In the movie Beyond the Next Mountain, Chawnga came to faith in Christ through the efforts of a British Missionary. Although the missionary’s time with the Hmar people was short, he did leave them with God’s Word. (Chawnga was the father of Rochnga Pudaite who translated the Bible into the Hmar people’s language.) I mention the movie, because Chawnga would go to a field on the mountainside to pray. He would kneel downhill, which put his head as low as possible before God and seek the Lord. The fruit of his life is a testament to how faithful God is to talk with His children and answer prayer. He not only used his time to seek God but sought time and place to do this!
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; — Ephesians 5:15-20 (KJV)
In Ephesians, Chapter 5, Paul teaches us about “speaking to yourself.” He begins by telling us to walk in such a way as to be watchful on all sides. We are told this so that we will go through life as wise people and not as fools. He tells us to be “redeeming the time” as we walk through life. Redeeming is an interesting word. It means to pay a ransom. Another way to put it is to provide a payment equivalent to that which you are suffering. When this ransom is paid, you are delivered from that which has held you in bondage. Paul wants you to redeem your time so that you are no longer in bondage to evil.
So much time is wasted on wrong thoughts and activities. Paul likens it to a drunkard. A drunkard will spend his life seeking drunkenness. At the worst end of the spectrum, the drunkard will forsake even his family and own life to be drunk. I have seen alcoholic bums come into the drug store where I worked as a teenager, to buy rubbing alcohol to drink even though it is killing them. (Don’t worry, we would refuse the sale.) What activities do you occupy your time and mind with that numb your life in a way like the drunkard?
Our Lord Jesus Christ also warns us.
And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. — Luke 21:34 (KJV)
Paul tells us to not be drunk, “but be filled with the Spirit.” Then he gives us the key.
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; — Ephesians 5:19-20(KJV)
My daughters give a great example of doing this. They sing while they work. They sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” It is a joy to hear them! What kind of songs go through your head? What melodies occupy you mind? I know that I struggle with all the bad songs I put into my head as a youth. I know the words and the tunes to these songs, but struggle to recall “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” The damage I did is truly catastrophic!
I am concerned for the children of today. Try this sometime. Walk through the toy section of a store. What images are our boys getting from most of the toys? What I see there is evil. What images are our girls getting from most of the the toys? What I see there is materialism and prostitution. It is not even subtle anymore! (I haven’t even mentioned television, video games, books, and music.) If you are a parent, you must take care to control the influences that your children are exposed to. It will shape their thinking! They will have horrible and evil images in their “quiet thoughts” and these will haunt them for all their life. The worst of it will be if they grow up and don’t even consider these thoughts to be wrong.
“Giving thanks always” is a key thought-activity, too. How easy is it to fall into a thankless attitude! When things don’t go as you planned, do you thank God? When a tragedy happens in your life, do you thank God? When something wonderful happens, do you thank God? Paul teaches us to be “giving thanks always for all things.” It is the heart attitude of thankfulness that God wants us to have.
I encourage you to be like Chawnga. Live your life following God’s word. Make it possible to have a mind for the Lord. Use your time wisely. Don’t waste it on the cares and evil of the world. Pray and give thanks always. Have songs in your heart that worship the Lord.
God bless, Mike