A friend of mine posted his thoughts in: Rumination, the bane of the praying brain!. It is a good message, but I don’t necessarily agree that “ruminating” is the problem. It is what we are ruminating on, that is the problem. Part of my thoughts are reinforced in something Solomon wrote:
“Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times. [Now here’s my point:] Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health” (Proverbs 4:20-22)
See what I mean? “Keep it in plain sight . . . concentrate (on it) . . . roll it around your thoughts, meditate and focus all your thoughts on His instruction.”
The problem doesn’t seem to be that you are focusing our thoughts, or “ruminating,” perse, it is what we are focusing our attention and energy on. I mean I love to sit quietly; to walk through the woods and listen to the sounds around me; to stand on a mountain top and be amazed at God’s creation . . . while it certainly relaxes me and relieves whatever stress I may have had, for me, it has never increased my faith or devotion.
I love what my pastor adds:
Paul writes to Timothy:
‘As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith’ (I) Timothy 1:3-5)
When I think of folks ruminating (in the unhelpful way of which you write) I think of this passage. Paul knew – and we should know, that concentrating on things that unsettle us, or cause us to lose our focus on Jesus are not helpful. if we are ruminating on the written word, then that is a ‘good‘ rumination. Ultimately it comes down to this: is my mind currently helping me or unsettling me? Where is my focus? Upon myself and my troubles or upon Jesus first and then my troubles – if and when they arrive – through the lens, the understanding that i have been redeemed and that God’s salvation plan for me has been proven to be all-sufficient.
My dad, who didn’t know Jesus spent all his time sitting on the sofa, thinking about ‘who to hold in unforgiveness today.’ for him, in his retirement, it was almost his new full-time job. The thing is: we find what we are looking for. so we had better be careful about our looking – and our focus, for as Paul warns above it is possible to ‘ruminate’ on the written word, drum up some new or old, or re-hashed dogma, and then concentrate on such ‘endless genealogies’, that the dogma increases in our mind’s eye, while Jesus almost practically vanishes. Focus is key: on what, or better yet – on whom? Jesus or something like Jesus without actually being Jesus.
That’s right! If we continually dwell on our problems; our finances; our employment (or lack of it); all the “stuff of life,” without reminding ourselves of the promises our Father made to meet those needs, we will go crazy.
It is WHAT we think on, that is our biggest problem. What we need to focus on is both the logos and the rhema – Yahweh’s words that are written and those He speaks to our spirit. If that is the ruminating you are referring to, then have at it. Ruminate away! However, if you are referring to continually focusing on the “troubles of life,” then I agree wholeheartedly with Ken’s post! If that is where our thoughts are, we might as well curl up in a fettle position and suck our thumb all day . . .
As I have said many times, Satan has only three weapons to use against us – think of it in the acronym TIS: Thoughts, Ideas, and Suggestions. Those are things we can choose to meditate on. Those are the things that will mess up our confidence in our Fathers care, and even His willingness to care for us. As Screwtape encouraged his nephew, Wormwood, “Keep everything hazy in his mind now, and you will have all eternity wherein to amuse yourself by producing in him the peculiar kind of clarity which Hell affords . . . Keep him in that state of mind as long as you can.”
Friends, if we control those thoughts, we will find the peace “which comes from Christ” to “act as umpire continually deciding and settling – with finality – all questions that arise in our minds” (Colossians 3:15 Amplified Version)
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