Day 16 – Thoughts Spoil Everything
Sometimes Brother Lawrence makes some bold statements that we need to clarify.
He said that “thoughts spoil everything; that’s how trouble starts! We must be careful to reject them as soon as we notice that they have nothing to do with our present occupation or our salvation, and begin again our conversation with God, which is where our good is found.”
For him logical reasoning and theological thinking disturbed his prayer life! He found them a distraction in bringing him closer to God. He would rather just talk with God.
True, intellectual reasoning falls short of the grandeur of knowing God in Christ through faith. Indeed, knowing about God through intensive study is very different from knowing him. On this we can agree with Brother Lawrence.
I prefer, however, to see the mind as both a gift and an enemy.
Our imaginations can help us dream great dreams for God or take us into fantasy. Our minds can help us develop systematic theology or force us to press God and his mysterious ways into limiting, logical boxes. Our thoughts can help us understand ourselves or absorb us into self-introspection.
Thinking is good when it fits the occasion or furthers our spiritual journey. We can think big thoughts about God and be drawn closer to him.
While Brother Lawrence makes an important point, we can safely affirm a Christian spirituality that includes both the contemplative side as well as the intellectual.
Still, let us not miss his guidance about thoughts: God’s close presence is cultivated more by a heart full of love than by a head full of knowledge.
Any thought that spoils your continual conversation with God, set it aside. If it doesn’t enhance your relationship with God, if it leads you away from God, if it doesn’t add to your salvation or your sanctification, then set it aside.
Renew your conversation with God. Keep that going. According to Brother Lawrence, that’s where the gold is found.
Question #1: How can your “thoughts spoil everything”?
Question #2: How can your thoughts draw you closer to God?
This is God’s Word for you today,