Yesterday we unpacked some tough stuff.
It won't be much easier today.
Please understand that there is nothing I've written about in the past month that I feel I have a handle on. And that includes - maybe I should say that is especially true - of today's subject.
As I pulled this verse apart, looking at the Hebrew meanings of each word, I found another word that I thought I knew the meaning of.
Seems straightforward enough, right? After all, that's what we've been studying all month. But the Hebrew word that is translated here as mind has a very interesting definition. Strong's concordance gives the short definition as "intent" but then further defines the word as . . .
frame, thing framed, imagination, mind, workI spent a while confused about this, trying to get from frame to imagination. But then an idea started to form. Hebrew scholars might scoff, but this is what I came up with.
All of us have a framework we think from. A world view. Our thoughts and imagination are built on this frame.
And in most cases, our frame is skewed.
Here's an example...those of us who lived in the United States tend to assume that we have been blessed by God. We are thankful we live where we live, with freedoms, opportunities, clean air, clean water, warm houses, and an ample food supply. We might not say it out loud, but we think these things reveal that God has blessed us. That we are, somehow, favored.
But Christians who have ministered to believers in some of the poorest parts of the world have reported that those believers feel sorry for us. They have nothing. They live in poverty. They live in filth. They suffer daily pain that we wouldn't tolerate for more than five minutes before we'd popped some Tylenol.
Yet their lives are characterized by joy and they pity us. Why? Because we have so much stuff our minds and hearts are too cluttered to revel in the miracle of Christ in us.
They have nothing. But they have Jesus. And He is everything.
Can you say that? Honestly? Maybe you're like me. I believe it.
But I don't live it.
And it made me wonder...
What if the truth is that in the spiritual realm, they are the favored ones?
With less distraction, less stuff, do their frames square more with God? Maybe.
I know that within my twisted framework, my imagination runs wild and I think others have more, are happier, are healthier, are blessed more than I am. And then I sulk because God isn't giving me what I want.
And I wonder why I have no peace.
There is no hope for skewed frames and unruly imaginations, other than to surrender them to God. In our materialistic and me-centered society, daily renewing of our minds is crucial to bringing our view of the world and our place in it in line with God's.
How's your frame today?
Got an imagination that needs a reality check?
Yeah. Me, too.
Isaiah 26:3 ~ You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (ESV)