Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Happy Thoughts

What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted. -- Proverbs 10:24

This is just a quick thought for the day.  There are people who will read this verse backwards.  The wicked cannot get out of something by not thinking about it.  Job echoes the proverb, “For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me” (Job 3:25).  Consequently some will say that Job brought disaster upon himself by his fear and dread.  Yet anyone who has read the first two chapters knows that Job and his integrity was the point of contention between the Lord and the Accuser.  Satan said Job served God only for the benefits he received.  If that were true then fear of loss might have been the motivation for Job’s goodness.  God, however, says it is not true.  I’m going with God on this one. 

Thoughts, actions, and character are all connected and related.  They are like the threefold cord that cannot be broken.  Does good character produce good thoughts, or do good thoughts produce good character?  Yes.  Actions arise from thoughts and character, and character becomes defined and refined by actions.   People can compartmentalize, self-justify, project, and rationalize such that they separate what they claim to believe from how they live, becoming “actors on the stage of life, playing the role of something which [they] are not.”  That’s how Kenneth Wuest translated the word “hypocrites” in Matthew 23.  

There are some situations where I am more likely to be hypocritical, where I work to justify the inconsistency of my behavior and allowing exceptions for myself.  My personal excuses are usually related to time.  That’s how I excuse my anger.  I’ve got so much to do.

Often times my rationalizations are meant to push away the dread I feel.  When I’m doing something I know is wrong, behaving and thinking contrary to my beliefs, I naturally expect to face the consequences of that.  Even the least self-aware among us knows.  We know.  We know it is coming, so we try to think it away.  The wicked are working in opposition to truth and reality, while the righteous work in harmony with the divine, unbreakable laws of the cosmos.  My dread will go away, not because I start thinking happy, positive thoughts, but because I turn away from the old fleshly mind and accept the mind of Christ.  My thoughts will be happier and more positive, but it’s because I have a mind renewed by the Spirit. 

We can reason things out honestly.  That can lead us to recognizing that something is wrong and lead us to repentance.  Thinking can change our actions.  Thinking can change us -- but only when it connects to the absolute, the real, the holy, and the perfect.  Thoughts and character are intertwined.  Our problem, apart from Christ, is that we can't bootstrap our flawed reasoning from our own flawed and fallen mind.  We need to, as it were, boot up off a mind that works properly.



John Lien said...

Thoughts, character, action.

Another one of them thar trinities. I'm on the lookout for trinities these days. I blame OC.

mushroom said...

Yes, the same thing struck me as I was writing -- how often it is three.