“The Lord wants to strengthen your thinking.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 25, 2021
He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:29 (NRSV)
The Lord wants to strengthen your thinking. In Isaiah, we find these beautiful and poetic lines that are known and loved in every generation. Yet rarely, if ever, do we think of them as applying to the life of our minds. We know our bodies need strength, and even understand the necessity of overcoming difficulty in life, however we all too easily miss the ways in which our minds must be fortified and strengthened by the life of the Spirit.
The renewal of our thinking is not the absence of thought, as is commonly believed when we speak of meditation or similar disciplines. No, mindfulness needs a direction. We must have clarity on where we are headed, and then take on practices that bring our minds and thoughts into greater alignment with that goal. As Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night.”
The commands of God are the object of our meditation. We turn our hearts and minds towards the Lord so we can learn to think his thoughts as our own. As we do, we are confronted with the inescapable reality that God wants to renew within us our love for him, and our love for our neighbor. St. Paul emphatically drives this home, saying, “For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Gal 5:14).
If our mindfulness and meditation, even meditation on the Word of God, does not result in a greater love for our neighbor, we have failed to hear the Lord’s word spoken to us.
We may have heard a part or portion of his truth, but if we hear his love and mercy and grace simply in reference to ourselves and personal peace and fulfillment, instead of setting our minds on the Lord and his kingdom, we in a sense are asking the Lord to set his thoughts on the kingdoms of self that we are building!
Isaiah promises that those who wait on the Lord – those who pay attention to his ways and set their thoughts on his kingdom – they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. This strength that he gives is not for ourselves, but is given so we can be his hands and feet in love to our neighbor. We run in self-giving love and service, and we do not grow weary in doing good. We walk with those who need us to slow down and come alongside them, and we will not faint, for the Lord gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.
Father, strengthen our minds by the power of your Spirit, that we may learn to love as you love and serve as you have served us, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Meditate on Scripture today and allow this practice to turn you outwards in love towards others.
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