Deceptive Mind

Journal Entry // May 31, 2021

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

Proverbs 28:26 ESV

This statement in Proverbs cut me deeply this morning. There have been several good passages this past week that pricked my heart, but I was not faithful in my reflections and meditating so they did not get captured. There is this tendency in my heart to trust my mind. I find it rather easy to contemplate and think deeply about my desires and I am learning that my mind is both deceptive and easily deceived.

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Altered Perception

Journal Entry // December 25, 2022

Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me! (ESV)

Job 19:21

In this early part of Job 19, we can see the inner turmoil that adversity and suffering have caused in the mind of Job. He speaks first of a wall that has been built up around him. Not the wall of protection that he had prior to his suffering, but a wall that keeps him hedged into his troubles. On top of this, Job exposes his inner thinking as he recounts how all of his relationships have been affected by his suffering. He shares the depth of his perceived isolation and the skewed understanding of how he is viewed by everyone around him. It may be true that what he is relaying about these broken relationships has a ring of truth in the social circles of the culture at the time, but it is also reasonable that Job is merely unable to rightly view and understand this new dynamic in his depressed state of mind. As I read through this section of Job and I see his anguish over lost relationships and the perceived hurt and disdain that he is receiving from those closest to him, I see my own thoughts of hurt and pain. I remember my own isolation and how it affected my view and outlook on all of my relationships.

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Unreasoning Animals

Journal Entry // December 4, 2022

But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. (ESV)

Jude 10

This passage in Jude always catches my attention when it comes along in my yearly reading plan. I say that, because I don’t remember hearing any preaching/teaching on this passage or the letter of Jude very often. Even though this letter is only 25 verses there is a lot of helpful and challenging rebukes and exhortations. This one in verse 10 always makes me stop and contemplate how I, like the ungodly, am behaving and living as an unreasoning animal. It’s a vivid picture of a life based on basic instincts and feelings flowing out of a heart that is devoid of understanding the truth of God’s word. A life that blasphemes, belittles, or marginalizes the truth of God’s word and commandments. Like a wild animal, the person Jude is describing lives their life based solely on their feelings and their own understanding.  They may even have a basic knowledge of God’s word that shapes their own personal level of morality, but it is not rooted and informed by the gospel. It is processed and filtered through their own instinctual and emotional internal systems that distort God’s truth into their own individual personal version of truth and morality. Seemingly living their life as their own master and god.

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Holy Mindset

Journal Entry // July 16, 2022

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (ESV)

Romans 12:12

This morning was one of those Bible reading times where I came across a verse that made me completely stop everything else and simply focus on what I just read. Eleven simple words that pretty much sums up the antidote to my current malaise. I have been struggling for quite a while with a lot of self-doubt, a lot of worry, a lot of guilt, a lot of anger, a lot of fear, a lot of shame, a lot of despair. It’s like my mind is stuck in this rut that I simply cannot get out of and the same patterns keep occurring and weighing me down. I lose hope and depression sinks in. But this verse challenged me this morning and is a great reminder of the power of Christ in my life.

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Wrong Comparisons

Journal Entry // July 5, 2022

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV)

Romans 8:18

Comparison is a dangerously deceptive mindset that is all too easy to find ourselves stuck in as we continue on this journey throughout life. The message of the gospel and the message from the beginning of creation has always been the same when dealing with comparison in your life… There is no room for comparison in the life of following Christ. Yet, I find it so easy to compare myself and my situation to others. Jealousy and covetousness find easy pathways to my heart more often than I would like or care to admit. But really, there is one true deep comparison that has taken root within me. That is the comparison of my current life to that life that my mind creates and builds up within me. This “secret” alternate life that is constantly forcing me to compare my current situation against this mythical alternate reality that blooms inside my head.

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Life of Humility

Journal Enry // April 3, 2022

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.

1 Peter 3:8 ESV

This verse is a good reminder to me of what I am aiming for in my quiet time of reflection after reading God’s word. In this verse there is a call to engage my heart, soul, mind, and strength to love both my God and my neighbor. At the center of this verse is humility. And humility is the singular concept that the Lord has been beating into my head for the past couple of years. That probably sounds a bit harsh, but I feel it is definitely true. It’s true because of my extremely think head and heart. My mind and my heart continually rebel against this pattern of life. A life filled with humility is so contrary to the world and my very own nature. Yet, humility is what I need to embrace if I want to be like Jesus. He is my model of humility and if I want true joy and happiness in Him, then I will be humble in all areas of my life.

Unity of mind calls me, in humility, not to uniformity of thinking but to cooperation in the midst of diversity. In humbleness, I am to be mindful of other’s thoughts and opinions and work together with those who may differ from me in matters of how things are to be done. The how is not nearly as important as the what and the why. Humbleness calls me to value my fellow believer’s opinions and convictions, even when I do not agree with them completely. We can work together for the building up of God’s kingdom.

Sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart. These are all the outworking of a humble heart. A heart that places others ahead of itself. With unity of mind, I will have sympathy. With a humble heart, I will have brotherly love. And a tender heart always places the needs of others as a priority. I love the thought of a tender heart and this is the phrase I most often associate with Jesus. As I read the gospels, the tenderness of his heart just leaps off the page at me. I want this! I want to be known as a tender hearted person. This starts with humility.

If I am going to be humble, it must be in my heart but it must be in my mind as well. My thoughts inform my heart and my heart informs my thoughts. As I review the thoughts in my mind from yesterday or even last week, I realize that I have a long road ahead of me toward humbleness. Such a long road. My heart and mind crave to be the priority. My heart and mind desire to be the center of life. It is a constant battle to be humble. To be content. To be patient. To be kind. To have a tender heart. To have a gentle heart, just like my Savior.

Wise Mind

Journal Entry // December 30, 2021

This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated;

Revelation 17:9 ESV

A mind with wisdom… There is an inclination within me to look around at all that is happening in the world and in my life and give myself over to despair. Despair leading to depression. For it all just seems overwhelming at times. I want to just check out mentally from it all and not deal with the reality of life. I find myself disengaging from life and pouring myself into worthless pursuits.

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Inward & Outward

Journal Entry // February 3, 2021

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.

Matthew 23:23 ESV

This chapter in Matthew was a deep look into the heart of Jesus and what the expectation is for holiness in our lives. It interweaves well with Psalm 26 and its call for God to test the heart and mind of the writer. This testing of the Lord is important in my life to measure and evaluate the love for Christ in my heart. It is similar to an athlete preparing for competition. He trains and prepares for his time of testing. The training without testing would be worthless. Truly, without the testing the athlete would not be able to evaluate and measure how they are progressing.

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The Law, the Heart, and the Mind

Journal Entry// November 4, 2021

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Hebrews 8:10 ESV

God’s laws have been placed into my mind and written on my heart. I often struggle with the role of the law in the life of a believer now that Christ has come and fulfilled the law. If there is forgiveness of sin, surely there is no need to focus so heavily on God’s law. But this passage counteracts my faulty view of the law and reveals not only the true nature of my heart, but the heart of God for me.

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