Buddhists describe the mind as a monkey, always chattering and leaping around. Buddhists practice meditation to silence the monkey mind. They achieve peace through stilling the mind and emptying it of thoughts.
Are thoughts really so bad? Are they inevitably destructive to the spiritual life?
Our monkey-thoughts are a manifestation of our fallenness. We have lost touch with God, He no longer walks with us in the “cool of the evening”, as He did with Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:8). So to keep ourselves from being overwhelmed with emptiness, we turn on our “mental TV” as it were, and fill the awful void with our own yammering thoughts.
But thinking in itself is not destructive, but rather is the ultimate constructive and creative activity. The words God spoke at each stage of Creation (“Let there be …”) expressed His thoughts, which were then embodied in physical form (“and it was so”).
The universe is filled with God’s thoughts:
Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; and Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order. If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered (Psalm 40:5, NKJV)The problem lies not in that we are thinking, but in that our thoughts have no life. We need to populate our minds with “living” thoughts, just as God populated His creation with life (Genesis 1:20,24). However, in our case this mental population requires that we first remove “trashy” thoughts, to make our minds ready for their proper inhabitants:
O LORD, how great are Your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this. (Psalm 92:5-6, NKJV)
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You. (Ps. 139: 17-18, NKJV)
The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts. (Ps. 10:4, NKJV)For God’s thoughts, Christians look to the Scriptures – but there is more to God’s thought than the Scriptures, just as there is more to calculus than can be found in a calculus textbook. The Scriptures are suggestive and instructive, but they are not all-inclusive (John 21:25).
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto Jehovah, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:7-9, ASV)
Let us untether our minds and cast loose into the current of God’s thoughts, which are subtly and continuously expressed all around us. At this very moment the heavens declare His glory (Psalm 19:1); and the stones cry out in praise of Him (Luke 19:40).
Lord Jesus, You are the Word of God, You are the light-giver and life-breather.
Please speak to us, enlighten our minds, and give life to our thoughts.
Only You can give bring our thinking from death to life, for You are the
One who rose from death.
Copyright © 2002 CrossPollen
Last Revised: October 27, 2002
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