Summary: Paul is helping us understand how our thought process can dominate our actions and how to address recurring idle thoughts.
What are you looking at?
Where do you return when your mind is not occupied by some current demand? Our thought process is dominated, isn’t it? We tend to think about a pet project, a pet peeve, a lingering hurt, some secret desire that we keep coming back to (even though we know it is self-destructive) and the like.
Our reading addresses this situation: “let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” V 6-7. Look at that closely – the peace of God WILL guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Nothing ambiguous about that, is there?
I just don’t think we pay enough attention to our idle thoughts. Somehow, we shrug them off but we return to them with great regularity. Paul is saying for us to rejoice and let our gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. V 4-5.
It hasn’t been that long ago when an incident happened in South Florida that ended the life of a young man and grabbed the attention of the entire country. The young man, Trayvon Martin was walking home late at night from a visit to the local convenience store to buy some “Skittles and Iced Tea”. The Neighborhood Watch guy somehow thought this was suspicious.
Before I continue, let me just add a little caveat here. I wasn’t there, I do not pretend to know all the facts and so offer NO personal opinion or make any judgment.
On with the example. George Zimmerman was the neighborhood watch guy and began to follow Trayvon closely. At some point, Trayvon turned around and asked Zimmerman, “what are you looking at? Have you got a problem?” I don’t recall Zimmerman’s response but from the next comment, assume it came forth as him saying in effect that he didn’t have a problem. At this point, the discussion became very confrontational and it is alleged that Trayvon said, you well have a problem now and a physical battle began.
At some point, Zimmerman produced a gun and shot Trayvon which resulted in his death.
Neighborhood watch volunteers are never to make contact with individuals, even under very suspicious circumstances. The procedure is to call local police to investigate.
I share this to say, what was Zimmerman’s thought process. I DO NOT PRETEND TO KNOW! Was he thinking about being a hero of some kind? Was he exercising some assumed authority to make him feel important? At this point, all we know is tragedy and loss of life.
What might the outcome have been if Zimmerman had in any way “Let gentleness be known to ALL men”? v 5
Our thoughts can dominate our actions.
So, what are we to do? Paul is telling us to go after things that are just, pure, lovely and of good report and meditate on whatever is of virtue and praiseworthy v 8. Can you not think of some of those things right now? The news broadcasts are full of negatives. However, I just saw a trailer that referred to a ten-year-old lad that spends his spare time earning money to help people in need of hearing aids. Now that’s worth thinking about! We read and hear praise reports during intercessory prayer time and rejoice in thanksgiving. BUT, do we revisit those positives at other times? How would it be if we find ourselves drifting in thought and filled that process with thanksgiving for the positives that we received this week. We will find God very pleased and quick to bestow us with that peace, that inner peace. I want that, do you?
Let us pray