Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Don't Let Your Thoughts Lead You to Destruction

"Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life." Proverbs 4:23

I was running, keeping a steady pace, training my body to run further and further. My heart was pumping and my feet were beating out the rhythm of the music I had pulsing through my ears. I felt great. Well, I felt great physically. My heart felt a little heavy. I was motivated to run, but there was no passion; it was just "get through this run, get through this run." It wasn't until I was on the "walk cycle" that I realized what the problem was. My thoughts were not pure. You see, I chose a "Workout Station" on Pandora, in hopes that it would give me upbeat music that would help motivate me to keep up a pace. And although it did help me keep pace, the words were making my heart heavy. All the songs coming through my ear buds were laden with words and behavior that is not part of my lifestyle. At first I thought the feelings were because I didn't know the songs, so I wasn't able to sing along in my head. Then I started listening to the words as I running. The talk was all about who someone was going to "hook up with" or how much that person was going to party until they didn't remember a thing. And so on. It was NOT my cup of tea. But I kept running, and I kept listening.

When I switched over to my "Sovereign Grace" station near the end of my run, I honestly felt a peace. Not even kidding; it was as if a weight was lifted from my shoulders. My thoughts began to focus on the beauty of the early morning. I was able to think, clearly, about things I needed to do that day, and my heart was reminded of people I needed to pray for. I recognized, in that moment, that the words of the songs in the "Workout" station had my heart going down the wrong path. Proverbs 4 is FULL of warnings about making sure wisdom leads you. Verse 27 says, "Don't turn off the road of goodness; keep away from evil paths." I, essentially, turned off the road of goodness by allowing the music direct my thoughts. I could have kicked myself for letting worldly things distract me from enjoying a morning a jog to its fullness.

As I was turning the last corner {and, at that point, the dog was dragging me home}, Philippians 4:8 came to mind. "Brothers and Sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected."  God was giving me that gentle nudge back onto the right path. The peace that filled my heart, the burden that was lifted, it was all orchestrated by Him, the one who can give peace and joy. Would that "workout" music have made me into a sinful heathen thrown far, far away from God? Most likely not, but it would have taken my eyes off Christ, even for just 30 minutes. And my desire is to keep my eyes on Him. I know now that when I go on my jog, the music I let push me that extra mile needs to be filled with words that are going to lift me up, bring me closer to Him, and set me on a better path for the rest of the day.

What things in your life, whether innocent or intentional, pull you off the path? Have you been on the road of goodness long enough to recognize you are heading down a dangerous area? It is never, NEVER too late to stop and enjoy the freshness and joy and peace that comes with going down the right path. You've got to just "switch stations" and plan in the future to keep it there. Don't let the temptations of the world trick you into a path that may be full of struggles.

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