The Antidote for Self-Centric Thinking

How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God!

Ps.139:17 ESV

Let the unrighteous man [forsake] his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon… For my thoughts are not your thoughts…declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are… my thoughts than your thoughts.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does… We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. … “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,…he made himself nothing…[and] humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death…

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

… Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! 

Is.55:7-9 ESV; II Cor.10:3, 5 NIV; Rom 8:5-6 ESV; I Cor.2:11-12, 16 ESV; Phil.2:5-7 ESV; II Cor. 4:5 ESV; Ps.139:17, 23-24 ESV

I think one of the greatest reliefs of Heaven will be self-forgetfulness. I was never designed to be pre-occupied with myself, but with God and His glory. Even now, because God’s vast encircling thoughts have got me covered–from before conception through all eternity (see Ps.139!) I am released from the burden of looking out for my best good, freed to pursue what pleases my Creator, freed to live a life driven by love of God and others rather than love of me!  The One who knows me best, sees my worst, and loves me most has got me covered. Living for His glory is the only response that makes sense.

Self-love can’t compare to this.  Self-help is futile.

One of my prayerful hopes this year is to grow in self-forgetfulness, to be delivered from caring so very much what people around me are thinking of me. Here is the perfect antidote:

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

If I comprehend God’s love for me and relish His thoughts above my own flawed impressions and fallen thought patterns…If I believe His Words and let His desires give shape to my agenda…how can I stay tangled for long in the morass of self-centric thinking?!

I will never win the war with self by resolve and mind-control strategies, be they a sanctified form of eastern meditation or a rigorous self-help prescription.  But with the Lord as my shepherd I have everything that I need.  He has given me His Word.  He leads me by His Spirit.  This is the only path to life and peace.  The mind set anywhere else is death!

The Spirit of the Living God resides in those who trust in Christ as Saviour, conditioning us for the epic day when we shall see His Glory as we only now imagine it. This will be a view unobstructed by selfie sticks. For this Jesus prayed:

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world….I have made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.

John 17:24 ESV

In this will be our greatest Joy. In the meantime, may we learn to prize His thoughts above all others, because in the end they are the only ones that matter.

The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD endures forever.  Do not forsake the work of your hands. 

Ps.138:8 ESV


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