During Lent we spend time talking about sin, and examining its effect on our lives. Sin brings pleasure, true, but also bondage.
Jesus [said], “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. (John 8:34)
No one wants to be enslaved, yet we find our hearts betraying us. How?
Tim Keller observes:
the true god of your heart is what your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention. What do you enjoy daydreaming about? What occupies your mind when you have nothing else to think about? Do you develop potential scenarios about career advancement? Or material goods such as a dream home? Or a relationship with a particular person? One or two daydreams are not an indication of idolatry. Ask rather, what do you habitually think about to get joy and comfort in the privacy of your heart? — Counterfeit Gods, p.168
Choosing what we think about is one of the most basic and powerful things we can do. If our hearts are to be fully set free from the burdensome entanglements of our self-centeredness, we must choose carefully, relentlessly what we allow our minds to dwell upon.
But the habits of our hearts and minds are turned only slowly, and only through the power of the Holy Spirit. It has been rightly said no one becomes a saint in a day!
Try this today: Notice where your thoughts drift when you have a few moments alone. Don’t fix, just notice. Notice what you drift to repeatedly. This may take several days of being aware of your thoughts for you to be able to discern a pattern.
As you begin to notice where you drift, ask the Holy Spirit, “So what’s going on here? Why do I love this? Why do I feel like I this?”
After you notice and ask, listen. The Spirit loves to teach our hearts.
Pastor Mark loves his wife and grown children, the Word of God, and words. And coffee,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6–7)
Christchurch Evangelical Covenant • 1900 Congress Street • Portland, Maine 04102 • 207-775-1900 • firstname.lastname@example.org