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Posts Tagged ‘taking thoughts captive’

Keeping His Servants Clean

November 8th, 2012

Keeping His Servants Clean

Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there…and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.

Mark 11:15-16

We are taught in the Word that we believers are God’s temple today: “for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple” (1 Cor. 3:17). Just as Christ cleansed the temple during His earthly ministry, so we need His Spirit to cleanse us. Just as Christ kept the temple clean by not allowing people to carry things through the courts, so we need Him to stand watch over our souls, as we stand watch with Him, to avoid our hearts from being re-polluted.

Once Christ drove out the money changers of the temple, He stood guard as well, that nothing impure should re-enter the temple. The word translated “merchandise” in the NIV is translated “vessel” in the KJV; “vessel” seems to be the better word and was used in 2 Tim. 2:20 for the vessels of a house. Christ not only chased the money-changers away, but He stood guard so that the temple would not be re-polluted. Then He ministered to the blind and the lame and healed them.

The temple was to be respected as a place of worship, as a temple that instructed people of how they may be right with God. People were not allowed to use the temple grounds as a shortcut to where they wanted to go, and if they did it was considered an act of irreverence. The temple was a special place, set apart by God for His purposes. The temple proclaimed the holiness of God, the blessings that He desired to bestow on people, and the means by which people may approach Him, namely through a fitting sacrifice. Ultimately the temple, the furnishings, and the sacrifices all pointed to Christ, to His sacrifice on Calvary and to the blessings He seeks to accomplish in our lives. It demanded to be respected as a building of first importance.

The purpose of our lives, like the temple, is to bring glory to God. Someone using the temple grounds as a mere shortcut, treading across the temple complex just because it saved them a few steps, committed an act of irreverence. Christ guarded the temple not just from being re-polluted but from being disrespected as well. We should guard our hearts also from trespasses of the world, from the world walking across our temple with its agendas and demands.

There are some things we are prone to carry across the temple that is our hearts. We believers in Christ have become a temple; our lives are to be set aside for Christ, our hearts are to be His throne, and we are to hold always in them the memory of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. If we do not discipline our minds, unholy thoughts can trespass across our thoughts and pollute the temple of God or distract us from Him.

The imagery of the temple furnishings are instructive in our own lives. The showbread symbolized Christ as our bread of life; the menorah symbolized Christ as the light of our world; the altar of incense that symbolize the place of prayer in our lives; the holy of holies that symbolized the very heart of God that invites us to know Him intimately, and that holds the treasured blessings that God has done for us in the past and all the hopes of what He will do for us in the future. We are to apply these to our own hearts and lives. We are to see the altar of burnt offerings and always honor Christ in our hearts, and live for Him daily as the One who loves us and gave Himself for us.

This warns us of the danger of letting the vessels and those who carry them in our daily life trespass across our thoughts, of letting distractions that ultimately lead to compromise in our hearts tread across our minds and defile our consciences. A vessel is used for carrying something and if we allow all thoughts to tread across our minds, something unholy may spill out on the fresh clean work of God – in fact it is likely to in this world. A picture that tempts us to lust, a concern that causes us to worry, a conversation that tempts us toward pride and toward judging and gossiping about others, anything that is impure and unclean should be kept in its place and out of our lives.

The priests could come and go from the temple or the tabernacle as they wished, provided that they would cleanse themselves always before re-entering (Exod. 40:30-32). We must be careful not to let the impurities of the world tread across the inner sanctum of our heart. For there in the inner man is where worship is done and where we are established in our faith, where the center of our lives is established and from which the circumference of everything else is drawn.

Peter wrote, “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this in gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience…” (1 Peter 3:15-16). As you lay down tonight set apart Christ as your Lord. Bar the doors of your heart that no impure thought will trespass and tread across its inner sanctum. When you arise and go about the day, do the same. We cannot stop every conversation that happens around us, but we can avoid some, and for those we cannot avoid, we can stop them at our heart’s door from entering our innermost thoughts.

Do not allow someone carrying an impure vessel to trespass across your mind that is now considered to be God’s temple.

Evening Devotionals ,

Guarding Your Heart

February 28th, 2011

Above all else, guard your heart,
   for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 23:7

 

Perhaps the most common mistake the average Christian makes is overestimating his ability to throw off worldly influences that he places before his senses, and that eventually seep into his thinking. Really, if we are honest, these impure thoughts are already in our hearts – “We are tempted by our own desires that drag us off and trap us” (James 1:14) – and we will either feed the thoughts of God or the thoughts of the flesh, of the world, and of the evil one. Feeding the thoughts of God means daily coming to Him in prayer and devotion, daily reading and meditating on His Word, contemplating the writings of Christian authors, confessing sins, receiving the filling of the Spirit.

 

I have lately come to know a few Christians who disagree with this, who decry the thoughts of having daily devotionals as mere legalism, insisting that they are free from those types of rules. But consider the daily influences of the world that we let into our minds – some of which we have little choice, such as the foul language of co-workers or the advertisements of the world that often cross the barrier of a Christian’s conscience. We need to counteract this daily, and not encourage it, by shutting out of our minds those impure thoughts we can control, and letting in, locking in, the thoughts of God. The problem is more often the simple combination of lust and pride: our lusts that want to see and think about what we should not, and our blinding pride that says we can get away with it without an effect on our souls.

 

This principle is impossible to ignore and remain growing in our devotion, pure in our thoughts, and fruitful in our service. James Allen wrote in his essay, “As a Man Thinketh.”[1]

 

Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,

And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes

The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,

Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: —

He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:

Environment is but his looking-glass.

 

We think “in secret,” imagining that these are private affairs, and to the degree that prying into someone’s private life is inappropriate, that is true, but thoughts that take root in our minds do not remain only in our minds – they “come to pass,” that is, we act them out. Someway our thoughts, especially our secret thoughts, will determine our actions. Then, if we would have productive lives, if we would walk in joy, in peace, and in love, we should focus our thoughts, especially our secret thoughts, on God.

 

Jesus said,

 

Your eyes are the lamp for your body. When your eyes are good, you have all the light you need. But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. So be sure that your light isn’t darkness. If you have light, and nothing is dark, then light will be everywhere, as when a lamp shines brightly on you.

Luke 11:34-36

 

We cannot walk down a path without fixing our eyes on the path. If our eyes dart back and forth, if we look up in the sky, or around behind us, or far off the path, we will in variably stumble. We need the light of the truth of God to illuminate our path, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet…” (Psalm 119:105).

 

Guard your thoughts. Treasure your mind as the great asset it is. Lock out impurities. Lock in the truth.

 

We live in this world, but we don’t act like its people or fight our battles with the weapons of this world. Instead, we use God’s power that can destroy fortresses. We destroy arguments and every bit of pride that keeps anyone from knowing God. We capture people’s thoughts and make them obey Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

 

Prayer:

 

Lord, destroy our pride and take our thoughts captive. Create in our hearts a hunger and a thirst for Your truth. Guard our thoughts this day and this night. Amen.


[1] James Allen, As a Man Thinketh, http://jamesallen.wwwhubs.com/think.htm

Evening Devotionals , ,