By Anita C. Jarman
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” – Proverbs 14:12 (NKJV)
After reading this divine proverb, it becomes noticeable how often I knowingly engage in the battle of the mind throughout a given day – I could begin with how many times I should snooze and give valid premises as to why. This may seem like a small thought, but once engaged I’ve set the mood for the morning and maybe even the day. What then am I to wear?
Personally, mind battles have always ended putting me in one of two places: a place of peace or a place of worry. In my 27 years, interestingly, the latter place has allowed me to experience the “If I could do it all again” learning experiences – I refuse to call them regrets. For instance, I know I go through a battle every time I hear gossip about someone I might not value being in their presence. Someone comes to tell me the latest – the bullets get loaded! I add my “Are you serious?” – the finger is on the trigger! And then, I find my target. Next thing you know, I’m firing away with “Well, let me tell you what I heard.”
In the interim, here’s what’s happening:
I’m using insecurities that I may have about myself toward that person, that person’s obvious faults, trying to increase the likability between myself and whomever I’m engaging in the gossip with, or a combination of all three in order to concern myself with something that is absolutely unproductive and may be detrimental to my mental well being. I then begin to worry about a number of things: what if this person hears that I was speaking ill of them? What if whomever I talk to is telling me a complete lie and they are just trying to get info out of me? What if they are talking about me just the same? What is my excuse if I get blamed for the demise of someone’s character? There is absolute room for worry.
God said, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you…thoughts of peace and not of evil…” (Jeremiah 29:11). There is absolute room for peace when we think about the thoughts God has for us. Well, what are His thoughts for us? He gave us the entire Bible to search for them and even told us, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). I’ve learned to use this concept of understanding how God’s thoughts will impact me as a tool to weigh my thoughts in the battle. Is what I’m about to say derived in peace? Will it bring peace? Here’s what it comes down to: God is love. He instructed me to love and if what I say does not bring about room for love or the fruit of love, keep my lips sealed. Christ said, “…what is exalted and highly thought of among men is detestable and abhorrent in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15 AMP). What is considered contributable input, that doesn’t reflect the values of God, is praised in our society. But according to this scripture, God abhors these thoughts.
I’ve only covered one area that I struggle with in my mind – that is the wounding world of gossip. The ammunition enters the chambers of the mind and the firing of the weapon sprays the bullets of killer words. We all know the power of the tongue – but it first starts with the thoughts of the mind. The Proverb mentioned shows me that the contemplation of action can bring about the path to death – without even taking any physical or verbal action. My thoughts must be analyzed, measured and ruled by the Word, God’s thoughts, before I begin to act in faith.