I get a sense that our culture doesn’t think much about what it consumes mentally. We scroll through social media posts, slowing down for something that suits our fancy. We scroll through the menus of streaming services, looking for something to watch: something we like, something that looks interesting, something with a cool thumbnail graphic.
But we all know better.
We’ve all had the experience of seeing or hearing something that we wish we could forget; the woods is full of people who desperately want to get old pornographic images out of their minds and just can’t. For all the talk about being unable to remember things, we find that our brains often remember things far better than we’d like. If we had any sense, we’d be a lot more careful about what we put in there.
We’d be purposeful, strategic about it.
Let me share some thoughts about that, something I shared in chapel at Bob Jones University way back on November 6, 2006.
Since what we put into our heads is going to be there forever, and potentially available for recall, we ought to direct our thinking, and even our entertainment, to things that are going to help us become what we want to become and accomplish what we want to accomplish.
I decided a long time ago that the wisest goal for my life was to heed the biblical admonition to “do all to the glory of God” (1Co 10.31). I had discovered that I didn’t have enough mass to be the center of the universe, and what I had experienced of God led me to believe that he would make a wiser investment of my life than anyone or anything else.
And what things would most effectively glorify him?
- Knowing him: “This is life eternal, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
- Being like him: “We all … are changed into the same image [of the glory of the Lord]” (2 Cor. 3:18); “whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Ro 8.29).
- Serving him: “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2Ti 3:17).
So what things can we devote our thinking to that will further these goals?
The Scripture answers this question, as it does many others, with both freedom and caution. On the one hand, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Ps 24.1). God pointed Adam and Eve to a garden full of all different kinds of trees and encouraged them to eat all different kinds of fruit.
But on the other hand, the world is broken and dangerous. There was one tree in the garden that was forbidden to them, and when they violated that prohibition, the whole garden became off limits. There are many things in the world today that we restrict our children from, and if we have any sense, there are things that we restrict ourselves from as well.
In the next post I plan to share some observations about thinking with freedom, romping in broad fields of mental wildflowers; in the third post, I’ll have some thoughts about how and when to be cautious.