In Luke 12:15, Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” I’ll admit that when I read this sentence, the first thing that comes to mind when I think about possessions is my “stuff.” And I’d be correct, for Jesus said this in reply to two brothers who were having a not-so-friendly family argument over an inheritance. He then went on to tell a parable about a rich man who built bigger barns to hold his crop, only to die and leave everything he had hoarded to someone else.
But I want to extend to you the possibility that not only is the property we own to be held lightly, but so are our thoughts. I know every one of us can be as jealous over the control of our thoughts as we are of our things. I’m prone to believe that if I have a thought, it’s probably a good one and therefore worth keeping. This is especially true when an editor wants me to change a sentence in an article, or worse, eliminate something! I want to say, “This is my BABY! This is good stuff and inspired by the Holy Spirit, and now you want to edit God’s inspiration?!?” But they are usually right, which is why I hire them in the first place. The bigger problem starts, however, when the thoughts I hold come into disagreement with the thoughts of God.
Oswald Chambers said, “When you find that a point of view in which you have been delighting clashes with the heavenly vision and you debate, certain things will begin to develop in you – a sense of property and a sense of personal right, things of which Jesus Christ made nothing.”
It’s time for us to consider allowing Jesus to own our thoughts as well as our treasures. When I hold to a thought, tradition, theology, idea or belief so tightly that nothing anyone could say or do could change my mind, then I am making a god of something that is not God.
Do we hold onto our thoughts as possessions to be stored and hoarded, building elaborate and secure barns in our minds to insure their security? I know I have. Are we so sure that every thought that enters our mind is worthy of the gift of Calvary? Have we learned to “have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16)? Have we torn down the walls that protect our own ideas, and built a life around the mind and attitude of Christ (Phil. 2:5)?
Paul tells us that we need to offer our bodies as “living sacrifices” (Rom. 12:1). But the term “bodies” is not limited only to the physical person, for he goes on to remind us that we need to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” I’ll admit that most of the time I am more willing to sacrifice my treasures or my talents than I am my thoughts or my theologies. But if I am truly a living sacrifice, then even those things that I think about need to come under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. For if He does not possess all of me, then in reality He possesses none of me.
So the question remains, “Who owns your thoughts?” Does Jesus Christ have complete access to everything that enters our mind? Are we willing to subject every thought and attitude to the inspection of God’s Spirit of Holiness, allowing Him to filter out the wheat and burn up the chaff? Are we “greedy” regarding our ideas, thinking that they are all our own and that God thinks like we do? Or, are we willing to sacrifice our thoughts, learning instead to lay aside those things which count for nothing and, at all costs, to put on the mind of Christ?
As for me, I think it is time I stop building elaborate barns to house my greedy thoughts. Instead, I need to “capture [my] rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
We are not our thoughts.