The muddle demystified
If the heart of man is made up of mind, will, and emotions - the place where we make choices, decide which "voice" sounds the most "credible" at the moment, and what it is we will hold onto when times get a little challenging - then we had better figure out pretty quickly what is IN our heart and what CONTROLS it. If the right stuff is IN there and the right ONE is controlling our heart, then we stand a better chance to have consistency in our lives which is reflected in our correct choices and wise responses.
We may think we are doing the right thing, but the Lord always knows what is in our hearts. (Proverbs 21:2 CEV)
I enjoy pleasing you. Your Law is in my heart. (Psalm 40:8 CEV)
God knows how many times we set out to "do" the right thing, but then somewhere along the way we get distracted by something which influences our thoughts, will, or emotions just enough to get us pursuing something else entirely. It may not have been our original intention, but it ended up being the one we listened to or followed. When God's Word (his Law) is allowed to get deeply into our hearts, we stand a much better chance of not being swayed by our emotions, or listening to voices which would be better off not heard!
Getting the right "stuff" into our lives is important. Whenever we want to overcome something which has been a bit of a challenge to us, we often need a kind of "tutor" to help us figure out the right steps to take to get beyond that "sticking point". I play these matching games which require a great deal of strategy at times. If I make the right moves, I pass the level. If not, I get stuck in the rut of trying and trying time and time again until I finally get it. I have learned to seek out those who have passed the level already to learn from their strategies because if they have it figured out already, I know their tutelage may actually help me pass the level myself.
The same is true of the "spiritual sticking points" in our lives - those things we get hung up on where obedience is the ultimate desire, but compromise tends to become the response. We likely need a little tutelage in that area - either because emotions are out of control, will is just plain not enough to get us past the "sticking point", or we don't possess the knowledge to really understand what is at the "core" of the issue. Either of these areas of struggle can be undermining to our walk with Jesus. Getting the tutelage of the Word of God may be the one thing we overlook when struggling.
Joyce Meyers said, "Once I realized that right thinking is vital to victorious living, I got more serious about thinking about what I was thinking about, and choosing my thoughts carefully." Don't miss what she said - she focused on what she was thinking in order to change the actions she was producing. It has often been said the main place of battle over things which become "sticking points" to us living above compromise in our lives is mostly in the mind - the way we are thinking and what it is we choose to think upon the most.
It is not just that we know "what" to think, but it is actually choosing to think about those things most when there is a muddle of thought which is getting us confused about what is our real priority in life at the moment. For example, anger causes a muddle of emotions and thought - leaving us responding out of a place where we make wrong choices and often deliver wrong actions in response. I can find myself getting a little frustrated with mom when she wants something done her way or in her timing. It isn't always convenient for me, nor is it the "necessary" thing to do at that moment, but it is in her mind and that is all she can think about. Whenever I fail to see this, I kind of get a little short with her because she just keeps stating the same thing over and over again - something we call perseverating.
What I fail to see is that she cannot get beyond her perseveration over the same thing until I take the action she desires. To reason with her is just not going to change her impression of what she needs done - in her mind, it is what it is and I just need to see it from her standpoint. To respond in the emotion of anger or frustration only makes things worse, because she doesn't get what she perceives she needs done and now her feelings are hurt because I was short with her in my response. I compound the issue whenever I respond out of a "muddle" of thought rather than clarifying the thought enough to respond in a more reasonable and loving manner. You might have been there on occasion - responding out of the muddle instead of getting control of your thoughts - thinking about what it is you are thinking about - and then choosing your thoughts just a little more carefully.
The Word of God helps us settle the muddle - it helps us clarify the intent of our thought, see the futility of others, and to get the emotion out of the middle of thought so that we can see the reality of what we are considering. We need this kind of clarity - without it, we just respond to life out of the midst of the muddle - something which leaves us standing in the midst of compromise, wrong response, and just plain bad choices. Getting it into the midst of our thoughts will help us make sense of the muddle and deal more consistently with the choices we make. Just sayin!