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Friday, July 7, 2017

Colored by Grace

It was Marcus Aurelius who said, "The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts." Depending on where you are in life, you might view this as the soul becoming "stained" with the impure and unkind thoughts of the mind. While this is quite true, the opposite is equally true - for when our thoughts turn frequently to grace and the power of the living God to set us free from these types of "staining" thoughts, we might just begin to be "colored" with a much more vibrant hue!

13 Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, 15 but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, 16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.” (I Peter 1:13-16 ESV)

How do you get your mind "ready" for the day? What do you do to take every thought captive, allowing every untrue imagination to fall by the wayside? I daresay a great many of us spend way too much time thinking upon the things that "color" our actions in a way that is neither reflective of the grace working within us, nor the grace that is to be extended through us! We might not always realize that we are doing it, but when we hold onto thoughts that color us in anyway that is opposite of grace, we are holding onto thoughts that will eventually reveal themselves in the form of wrong actions and attitudes!

There is this principle of "taking every thought captive" taught in scripture. I think this is very important - the thoughts belong to us. They are under our control - they aren't there unless we give them room. They don't take us captive - we take them! That means we can put any thought pattern which isn't actually bringing us the right actions under control - because of the power of Christ that indwells us. This is the first step to producing "right action" - for all action is produced from the foundation of thought, is it not? If we want to move toward right action, we first begin to bring captive the thoughts that have been leading to wrong action. We don't do this independent of Christ, but reliant upon the grace that indwells us.

Grace is brought to us - it is not ours to "get". It is a gift. The wrong or "poorly colored" thoughts we entertain may not have begun as "our thoughts" entirely. We overhear some conversation, or are influenced by what it is we read, see, or somehow are exposed to in our daily walk. These "coloring influences" have the power to invade our thoughts and in time, they do indeed "re-color" our thoughts, but not because they hold the power - we GAVE them the power to have that influence in our lives. If it is possible to give that power to the harmful thoughts, then how much more possible is it to have our thoughts changed by giving that power to the ones that build us up rather than tearing us down?  Just askin!