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Single-mindedness is learned, not given

How 'single-minded' are you really? If you find yourself provoked by someone or something and your first inclination is to answer harshly or defend your actions, you might not be as 'single-minded' as you imagine yourself to be. If you find yourself faced with a decision to immediately choose the right thing to do, but toy with the idea to indulge just a bit, justifying it won't be all that bad - you might not be as 'single-minded' as you believed yourself to be. We all struggle with more than one response to circumstances and differences in choices we may make in a particular situation. We are never without those moments when we are face-to-face with two 'mindful' moments. When our 'mindful moments' begin to immediately dismiss the wrong choice or the harsh reaction, we are getting a little closer to being truly 'single-minded'.

How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word. I’m single-minded in pursuit of you; don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted. I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won’t sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, God; train me in your ways of wise living. I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth; I delight far more in what you tell me about living than in gathering a pile of riches. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it. (Psalm 119:14)

Don't kid yourself - there are a whole lot of things that present themselves to us for 'consideration' in the course of our day. We don't have to consider all of them, though. Even when they demand an 'audience' in our brains, emotions, or hearts, we don't have to indulge them. How we get to that point is a bit of struggle, though. We deal with this 'double-minded' path a whole lot more than we might like and it is hard to consistently choose the single path that we know God wants us to choose. Why? There is still a little bit of ourselves that kind of likes to 'indulge' sin. What!?! Am I saying there is a part of us that gives into sin's pull from time to time? Yes, that is what I am saying - because we haven't quite arrived at that place where our thoughts align perfectly with the thoughts and intent of God. Until that happens, we are going to struggle with these 'double-minded' moments.

The more we get into the Word and allow it to get into us, the less likely we are to actually 'indulge' those wrong choices, though. It may seem a little simplistic to say it as easy as that to avoid the wrong choices, but as God's Word begins to become the truth upon which we stand, our lives are transformed. We begin to question the wrong thoughts - moving us from being so 'double-minded' toward being just a little more 'single-minded'. Choice by choice - that is how we make this transition - not one big leap from here to there. Training is a process - getting God's Word into our minds, so that it begins to affect our heart and bring balance to our emotions - that is a long-term process. Training comes by making choices - some will be good and others will not actually measure up so well. Do we throw the baby out with the bathwater? Nope - we revel in the right choices and learn from the bad ones. 

The next time we are faced with the wrong choice, will we be a little more cautious about choosing that path? Yes, it is likely we will be - because the last time we made those wrong choices we allowed God's Word to help us see how to avoid those choices the next time we are faced with them. Attentiveness to the Word of God isn't 'given' to us - it is learned by making the choice to study it, allow it to speak into our lives, even when it brings conviction. As painful as conviction may be - sin is more painful! We learn to choose wisely because we have chosen an unwise path previously. If we haven't exactly chosen the wrong path, we can see others who have and learn not to pursue that path ourselves. We are given many ways of learning 'single-minded' choice - but it if you are like the rest of us - it isn't instantaneous obedience. It is learned obedience - sometimes because we choose well the first time - other times because we chose an unwise path and learned our lesson on that path. Just sayin!

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