As soon as I nodded in mutual recognition to the gentleman exiting the grocery parking lot I was entering, I made the pilgrimage to the neatly lined rows of shopping carts. He must have been after the same items I was, I thought: milk, juice and bread. A quick survey of our refrigerator contents alerted me to the need to make the staple run to the store. We could have made breakfast without those items had it not been for visiting guests. But, hospitality necessitated the run.
So there I stood, preparing to pull a cart from the nearest line of carts. When I pulled it from its place and the rear collapsible portion of the next cart folded down, I saw it. There in the cart I had chosen was a recently purchased gallon of milk, sweating from the combination of humidity and temperature differential. My heart sank as I thought of the guy nearing the completion of his task, possibly already vicariously enjoying his milk, and realizing the need to retrace his steps to retrieve his purchase which had now come into my possession. My second thought was the one that helped me begin to formulate a plan to secure his milk which I figured he ‘MIGHT’ come back to reclaim. But it was the third thought that caused me to tremble as I took ‘HIS’ milk back to the grocer who happened to be standing at the checkout lane talking to one of his employees.
That thought arrived so quietly, so unexpectedly, so anonymously that I was caught completely off guard. Here is what I heard. ‘You know that that milk is already paid for and is outside the store don’t you?’
To say that I was shocked is quite an understatement. I couldn’t believe what I heard! ‘Where in the world did that thought come from?’, I asked myself. ‘I’ve never EVER had a thought vaguely similar to that one’. ‘What is happening to me?’, I questioned. ‘Where is my faith here’? Once the milk had been given back to the store manager and he had politely thanked me for being ‘an honest man’, I had opportunity to retrace my thoughts. And what I discovered was helpful to me as I attempt to grow in the command of scripture to, ‘…take EVERY thought captive and make it obedient to Christ’…! II Corinthians 10:5
First, thoughts often occur quite randomly and obscurely: they just ENTER. Once they have entered, we begin the second phase of our ‘thought capture’: EVALUATION, the discernment of source, value, maturity, godliness, righteousness, etc. using Philippians 4:8 as our guide. After we evaluate these thoughts, we then EDIT them. The thoughts that honor the Lord we ENTERTAIN and the thoughts that are dishonorable we ELIMINATE. Whenever we entertain thoughts that we should eliminate or eliminate thoughts that we should entertain, we are at the precipice of sin.
Let’s be a people who take all thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ, realizing that just ONE thought can lead us toward an ungodly act. That act could lead us to an ungodly habit. And that habit will usually contribute to an ungodly lifestyle that is both unworthy of our Lord and unwanted in the lives of His children.
Whatever we do, let’s purpose to do all to ‘the GLORY OF CHRIST’.