Skip to main content

Beware of the first step

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives. 
(Henry David Thoreau)

My pastor did a wonderful job this past week describing the power of that "first step", so to speak. In his teaching, he described the pathway from desire to addiction. Desire is a good thing - it drives us to move, take on new things, and even to experience deep, meaningful relationship with others. Desire gone awry is not such a good thing - for the path first walked, when repeatedly walked will become a rut we find ourselves too easily drawn into as desire seeks to be fulfilled.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

Desire is actually used to describe that deep longing one gets in the heart and mind that drives one to act upon or seek fulfillment of that "aching" or "longing" one is experiencing. It is the feeling we are describing when we use our words such as "hanker", "long", "pine", and "yearn". God created the ability for us to "desire" - he also created our free-will. He doesn't curb our desire - nor does he bend it to conform to his will. He DOES ask for us to submit our desire to him, to begin to long for the things he desires for us, and to exercise self-control over the things which create a yearning not so easily escaped.

Most of desire begins in the mind - it is the pathway we create by going a certain direction with our thoughts or actions. At first, that path isn't visible - there are some telltale signs we have crossed that way, but there really isn't clear evidence of a path, let alone a rut. The more and more we travel that same direction with our thought or actions, the more we will fall into the "habit" of traveling that path. Maybe this is why God wants to be the one to "order our steps". He knows we don't do all that great of a job avoiding the places we shouldn't be traveling!

Desire can cause us to treasure certain things, while we might come to curse others. You might ask how it could do both and I'd have to say any good desire, when carried to the extreme, can become addictive in nature. We might like the immediate pleasure of the serotonin and dopamine release when we eat chocolate, but eat too much at one time and the serotonin and dopamine release isn't all that "pleasurable" anymore. Those "feel good" hormones work well in small quantities, but when we over-indulge, we become numb to their effect.

That is the point my pastor made - we can become numb to what once brought us simple pleasure whenever we pursue it outside of the boundaries and protection of God's oversight, protection, and guidelines. Some people call these "boundaries", but I call them "guard rails". They aren't designed to keep us away from anything good, but from the edges where certain decline is inevitable. Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean

Doubt isn't a bad thing

I would like for you to consider for a moment what this journalist was attempting to share in his words: " Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is - it is her shadow ." (Ambrose Bierce) Have you ever doubted? Then it is suggested you were at least at the place of some form of belief. Have you ever considered what your doubt was attempting to reveal to you? Perhaps doubt is not a bad thing because it points us to consider the truth of a matter. Where doubt is - - - there truth is. It may be in the shadows, but it is there! We need only look a little closer and we will find truth has never been far from us.  The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes. God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate dow