You know as a kid I did some pretty dumb things. Ok, so I’ve done some dumb things as an adult too, but you’ll have to ask my wife about those – she’ll be glad to fill you in.
I remember a time shortly after July 4th that a friend and I thought it would be a good idea to take a bunch of firecrackers, dismantle them by extracting the fuse and the powder, and putting all the powder into a 35mm film canister. After filling the canister halfway with powder, we packed in all the fuses. Next, needing a way to light this much larger firecracker, we took more fuses, twisted them together, drilled a hole through the lid and fed the long fuse in. Finally, we used electrical tape to seal everything together.
We had made the perfect firecracker, one that would sound like what we just heard at Crawford County’s Fireworks Show. We took it out, lit it and ran for the hills. We waited for what seemed like forever for a big kaboom!
Bummed that it didn’t work, I started walking towards it and got just a few steps away when it decided nothing was going to be SOMETHING!
I recall my ears ringing for a few minutes, but what I sticks out most is that I was about to pick this thing up. What I didn’t realize was that I had no clue when the firecracker was going to explode and how mcuh damage it would cause. In place of the firecracker was now a good sized hole in the ground. Had I picked it up moments before, that hole would have been in my hand or worse, my face.
Thoughts are like this firecracker. We don’t consider thoughts hurting others, after all, they remain in our minds only, right? Um…well…yes and no. When we choose to dwell on something long enough, whatever emotions are connected with those thoughts will find there way from the mind and thought process to the heart. Let’s see what Jesus had to say about the heart.
The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Luke 6:45
Choosing to dwell on unhealthy thoughts remind me of my experience with the really big firecracker – at some point the unhealthy thoughts will explode verbally, through actions, or both. And the damage that results will be much worse than just a hole in the ground or even in my hand.
Unhealthy thoughts can hurt just as bad, if not worse, than a firecracker exploding in someones hands.
Proverbs tells us to,
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Proverbs 4:23
According to the KM Hebrew Dictionary the heart is the inner person, self, the seat of thought and emotion, conscience, courage, mind, and understanding. The heart is the seat and the source of the choices we make. Guard it well indeed for it will determine your course!
Paul tells us how we can guard our heart/thoughts.
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
Taking every thought captive. Hmm. This sounds like war to me! I mean, along with building firecrackers we played war as kids and took the enemy captive.
Paul uses war terminology for a specific purpose. It is war – a spiritual one – that wages every day. If the heart/mind/thoughts are the seat and source of choices we make (i.e. what we choose to dwell on) then it makes good sense to choose wisely and take each thought captive under the obedience of Christ and let Him guide. And if the thought is true, is honorable, is right, is pure, is lovely, is of good repute, is excellent and worthy of praise, then by all means dwell on it! (Paraphrased from Philippians 4:8)
God has given us His Spirit to guide us. While we cannot control the thoughts that seem to “pop” into our heads, we CAN CONTROl and CHOOSE what we DWELL on with the help of the Holy Spirit.
You know, when we played war as kids, after we took enemy territory, we’d take a flag that we’d made, stick it in the ground, and declare that area ours. We conquered it. This week, why not do the same in your mind. When the enemy comes rushing in with thoughts, take them captive to Christ and if they go against His teaching, then stick a flag of victory there and declare victory in that area. It now belongs to Christ!