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My Best Thinking

My Best Thinking

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9

When I was in chemical dependency treatment, one of the counselors used a puppet to articulate the self-destructive thoughts of the addict. At first, it seemed a little patronizing and childish, until I realized exactly what was happening. Verbalizing, with a puppet, the corrupt thoughts of the addict revealed the profound stupidity of addictive thinking. I deserve this. I can have just one drink. I won’t get caught. I’m not addicted, and I don’t need to change.

Seen from the outside, it’s easy to see the stupidity of corrupt thoughts. From the inside, in the moment though, my thoughts and feelings are always right. When I’m angry, it makes sense to lash out. When I’m hungry, it makes sense to eat whatever I want. When I desire something, I impulsively pursue it, because what I want is what is right, in the moment. Deep down, I may know a thing to be wrong, but when my preferences rule my behavior, my best thinking leads to disaster.

Most of us have been here. Looking back at some destructive choice, we can easily see how ridiculous our thoughts were, but we also must admit how much our choices seemed to make sense, in that moment. I deserve this. I don’t care about the consequences. I know it’s wrong, but I want it. I don’t have a problem. You’re the problem.

If we have grown tired of our self-destructive thoughts, we must daily choose the humility of today’s passage, which reveals the inadequacy of our own thinking. In the passage, God says that as high as the heavens are above the earth, so his thoughts are above ours. If we want to abandon the corruption of our path, then we must daily turn from that path to pursue God’s. We must daily read, pray and meditate, filling ourselves with his thoughts. This is the only defense we have against the self-destruction of our own best thinking.

 

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