Recently my wife and I noticed small moths in our home. They mostly appear in the evenings while we’re trying to watch important television shows like America’s Got Talent.
They seem to have arisen out of nowhere. I suspect the basement. When one flits in front of me, I try to grab it or clap my hands to crush it. If they don’t go away soon, I’ll have to try see where they’re coming from, though I don’t look forward to sorting through the bins in the basement.
Have you ever wondered where our thoughts come from? Sometimes it seems they arise out of nowhere, like my moths. Have you ever said Now where did that thought come from when some bizarre thought popped into your head? Have you ever suddenly caught yourself drifting along some train of thought and realized you didn’t want to be going there? Where do these thoughts come from? In Monday’s post we examined where our words come from. Our thoughts come from the same place. Proverbs 4:23 says:
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Thoughts arise from our hearts, so we must be vigilant to keep watch over them. Why? Because what comes out of our hearts affects our life. If our heart is polluted, our life will be. If our thoughts about God are wrong, we’ll suffer for it. If out thoughts are saturated with God’s word, we’ll be blessed.
What kinds of thoughts about God have been rising out of your heart lately?
Consider what these thoughts reveal about what you believe about God: I can’t believe this is happening to me. Oh, this is just great. Wow does this stink. Why does this always have to happen to me? Why is it that every time things start to go good for me something bad happens.
In his book Spiritual Depression, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says:
The main trouble in this whole matter of spiritual depression in a sense is this, that we allow our self to talk to us instead of talking to our self.... Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning. You have not originated them, but they start talking to you, they bring back the problem of yesterday, etc. Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Your self is talking to you. Now this man’s treatment [in Psalm 42] was this; instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul?’ he asks. His soul had been repressing him, crushing him. So he stands up and says: ‘Self, listen for a moment, I will speak to you....’
…You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: ‘Why art thou cast down’–what business have you to be disquieted? You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself… exhort yourself, and say to yourself: ‘Hope thou in God’–instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: ‘I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God’.
After hearing this years ago I began to try to build a habit in my life of giving thanks as soon as I wake up, saying things like, “Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of sleep. Thank you for allowing me to wake up this morning. Thank you for your protection during the night. Thank you that your mercies are new every morning. Thank you that your steadfast love never ceases.” And as I stagger toward the kitchen, “Thank you for coffee.”
All of us suffer. That’s when we must really fight in our thought life. We must pray and fight to keep asserting Biblical truth in our thoughts. Keep talking to yourself instead of listening to yourself. Continually give thanks to the Lord, for example: Thank you Jesus, that you have promised to never turn away from doing good to me. Thank you that you are causing all things to work together for good. Thank you that you are sovereign, wise, good and loving. Thank you that you have promised to never leave me nor forsake me.
So keep watch over your thoughts today…. Hey, there goes another moth. Gotta go.
Mark Altrogge serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church. Find out more at The Blazing Center.
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Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter.
Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.