Just a thought…
Is there such a thing as ‘just’ a thought, don’t they lead to feelings and actions?
Believers would probably all agree that being more like Jesus is desirable. The thing is though, what do we mean by being like Jesus?
If we don’t soak ourselves in the gospels we can miss out on the true picture of what he is like.
Often we speed off into the letters of the New Testament and we can fill our thoughts with structures of ideas which may seem accurate and logical to us, but if we spent time in those life stories of Jesus we might find the thinking we have built needs to be adjusted a little.
Our ideas can be neatly sorted, covering all eventualities, and then he comes along and starts to undo our tidy thinking. When this happens we need to get our heads down and see what is said of him in those gospel accounts.
What does he look like really?
One of the best ways to do this is to start to engage with scripture slowly and deeply, letting the words build pictures as you hear them in your mind. As I’ve said before, memorising portions of the bible is valuable, beyond anything you’d imagine.
And, just in case you think this is simply the ramblings of someone who needs to get a life, listen to Dallas Willard, someone oh so very much wiser than me!
In Renovation of The Heart he says:
‘Now there are no easy formulas in the spiritual life…
…Just because we want to, we cannot transform the ideas and images, or the information and thought patterns we currently have.
But if we train ourselves, adopt certain disciplines, we will, in due course and increasingly be able to do that.
The most obvious thing we can do is to memorise and turn over in our minds key portions of scripture.
This is the primary discipline for the thought life. And not just odd verses, but longer passages.
We need to know them like the back of our hand.
And if you think this is impossible for you, think again. You can remember all sorts of things, and you can remember scripture too.
As you do, your mind will be filled with light, and your life will be orientated around God, because you are choosing to focus on him and are spending time and effort on this permanently worthwhile activity.’
Ann Voskamp has a section on her blog, A Holy Experience, that deals with exactly this. She has a free print out of the Sermon on the Mount.. Matthew 5-7, yes, shocking isn’t it to think she has memorised all of that! But when she got to the end of the year it took her to learn it, she said to her husband that she didn’t want it to end.
You see, once you get into the rhythm of letting scripture soak into you, it does become something you love, really it does.