Alone with My Thoughts and Resentments
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 2 Timothy 2:7
I’ve got a fair amount of drive time built into my schedule now, which is good thinking time. I blog daily, which, as you know, revolves around the daily Bible passage. Writing about a passage requires that I spend a significant amount of time pondering it before I publish every morning. As I’m driving though, when I should be meditating, I’ve found that it’s not natural for me to use my time to think about the daily verse. It’s far more natural for my mind just to wander and my natural inclinations aren’t always healthy.
For instance, if I’ve had some recent conflict or frustration at work, I’m prone to indulging in my resentments. I’ll work myself into quite a state of agitation because of something that didn’t go the way I thought it should. If I go far enough, I can even begin to imagine offenses that never even happened. Then I start to fantasize about how I could retaliate. This is where my mind goes naturally, but natural is often far from healthy.
So, when my mind wanders into unhealthy territory – or even before it starts – I must purposefully choose to direct it towards something more productive. This is where I’ve found my daily Bible passage to be profoundly helpful. Every morning I read a passage and have it loaded in my brain. Whenever I have downtime, I turn my mind towards those words, meditating on them. I’m not perfect at it, but when my mind wanders into unhealthy or self-destructive territory, I must choose to redirect my thinking. It does no good just to tell myself to stop thinking about something bad. I must have something good to replace the destructive thought if I want to abandon it.
In today’s passage, Paul instructed Timothy to think over his teachings. Paul promised that in meditating on them, God would provide understanding. Timothy wasn’t inherently blessed with all knowledge and wisdom, but rather had to purposefully exercise his mind, meditating on that which was healthy and productive. In doing so, God transformed his thoughts.
The same is true for us. Just as we must practice at running if we want to be faster, we must practice at thinking – or meditating – if we want to transform our minds. We don’t often naturally drift towards healthy thoughts. So, daily, if we want to pursue God, we must choose to read and then meditate on his word. In practicing this discipline, we’ll find that God transforms our thoughts, growing in us the life for which we were made.