Self control in your thinking-part five

Well, I must admit as the week goes on and I write about controlling our thinking, a lot has come to mind. Sometimes it is hard to put into words what we want to say in one short post but these last several posts, have helped me feel more confident that if we can control our thinking, we are closer to living a more righteous life. That is, compared to just trying to live a righteous life while our thoughts run wild.

Today’s post will continue to look at things that try to captivate our thoughts and our imagination, things that will in some way lead us away from serving God which is, as Solomon put it, the whole duty of man. (Eccl 12:13) We have looked at our own desires as a pull away from God, we have looked at the tugging influence from others (Satan and so called friends) and even at the fearful thoughts as something that restrains us from doing as we ought. I would like to suggest that one last type of thought, which pulls us so easily away, is discontentment.

Ahab, who was not well known for serving God in the first place, serves as a good example of the problem of discontentment.

And it came to pass after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel, next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near, next to my house; and for it I will give you a vineyard better than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money.” But Naboth said to Ahab, “The LORD forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!” So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food. (1Ki 21:1-4)

Not satisfied with what he did have, he only looked at the convenience of Naboth’s vineyard. Maybe he had to ride in his chariot a little further to get to his own vineyards but rather than be content, he pouted. Then his wife Jezebel had Naboth killed and suddenly! all was right in the world, the sun was shining and the birds singing! What wickedness his discontentment led to.

Perhaps we do not act as extremely as Ahab and Jezebel did but discontentment will expresses itself in many ways. Let’s suppose that a spouse decides that the purchase of new clothes or a set of golf clubs would be a good idea. The purchase gets made without the knowledge of their mate. To sooth the conscience, the purchase is hidden for a few months. Then when pulled out and the mate observes “Oh, is that new?” The spouse is able to say: “Oh no….I have had this for a long time!”

“So wrong” on so many levels and yet we strive to justify things like this all the time. If you have to hide it from your spouse, it is  an admission that you are more concerned about satisfying a selfish want then being honest and upfront. Your discontent with the clothes or clubs you already have, and the fever that results in a buying frenzy, leads you away from a path that God would have you on….and it all starts with your thoughts.

We forget the words of Paul:

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. (1Ti 6:6-8)

You never see a U-haul following a hearse! He who dies with the most toys….still dies!

Why was it that Jesus was able to resist the temptations of Satan in Matthew 4? It was because, at the heart of it, He was content with what God had provided to Him at that point. He didn’t need bread, though he surely wanted it. He didn’t need fame and honor and the kingdoms of the world, even though they soon would be His (as God has given them to Him). He didn’t feel dissatisfied, he knew God would take care of Him.

We need to realize that God will provide all we need and Matthew 6:25-34 makes that point very well. If God provides what we need, all we need to think about is how to please Him.

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About Steven Sarff

If I were to offer any one piece of advice to one wishing to serve God, it would be to put Hebrews 11:6 and Acts 17:11 into action and let God guide you to grow in the grace and knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ.

Posted on May 17, 2012, in Christianity, Faith and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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