When you work from your bedroom, it’s a serious bonus to have an expansive view. Fortunately, my window looks out on a generous school-yard park, so the scene is quite lovely. Of course, during school, the kids are out for their P.E. classes, and after, there are soccer and baseball leagues rife with noisy activity. In the summer, I watch keener athletes run the asphalt track. Even in winter, there’s a never-ending parade of owners walking their dogs. The deer love to free-range and forage for green under the snow. The sun pours into my window all day long and I’m unspeakably grateful for this sprawling and ever-changing vantage point. It certainly beats being visually stone-walled on the side of a neighbor’s house.
Most of the time all that light and bright really lifts my spirits, but like all things in life, inevitably, there’s a down-side. My marvelous perspective is marred by the flotsam and jetsam of, what else, human existence. On the far westerly side of the green runs a chain-link fence. Teen-agers cutting through love to dump their fast-food discards. More often than not, if there’s a west or north wind blowing, the alleys behind the strip malls form the perfect wind-tunnel for gathering every single loose piece of rubbish within a six-mile radius and snagging it against this fence. After a big blow, it’s not unusual to fill a full black garbage bag in clean-up (something I do on a regular basis). In fact, inevitably, the moment after I’ve battled against the litter, the wind will blow; a malevolent and spiteful genie to spit on my redemptive efforts. All right, I’ll admit to a touch of obsessive/compulsive, but that trash insolently and persistently plastered to the chain-link drives me absolutely bonkeros.
The radical thought occurred to me the other day that if I was as vigilant and particular about the garbage that blew up against my internal chain-links, it would be significantly productive. If I patrolled my mental fence, I might make delightful progress in clear intelligence! Minute by minute, a myriad of agents storm our and thinking, imagination, belief and reason, causing us considerable aggravation. They consume vast amounts of our attention and little grey matter without producing anything valuable. What are doing with all that cerebral garbage? Where’s the psychological rubble piling up, blocking our way? What emotional debris clings to us, making a stink? Where all the fast-food wrappers decomposing?
Do I even recognize what clutters up my conscious, unconscious or subconscious mind? What engages my attention? What annoys me? What offends my sensibilities? What perplexing and impenetrable considerations leave me vexed? Where do I collide against internal limitations of fear, inhibition or ignorance? Who am I failing to yet acknowledge or forgive?
The truly amazing thing about meditating in God’s Word is that it has the ability to clear our mental barriers without us even knowing it. Truth, with a mighty, supernatural broom and minimal effort, sweeps the incredible amount of external stimulation that assaults unrelentingly. The power of Scripture is such that it purges worldly contamination, continuously resetting internal moral standards and ethical gyroscopes. Wonder of wonders, in the mind of Christ, we are painlessly re-aligned and retrofitted for the day’s difficulties. In a thousand ways, we are renewed.
I don’t know why we’re not making a bigger deal about this, because it is epic. Tangible, redemptive, resurrection power is at work in us! How many times, in emotional turmoil, angry, baffled or seeking illumination, have I sought the Word, receiving the miracle of a specific answer? It’s happened so often, I expect a divine response. The discipline of devotional times adds up; reading what seems to be an esoteric patch of epistle or psalm, only to find it’s the highlight of God’s instruction for a new season. And then there’s the aaah haah moment of conviction, forcing me to face my own baloney. Lies I’ve been believing, way too long.
Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes. Romans 12:2-3
It never fails that, when I’m busy cleaning up along that sidewalk, horns honk and people wave, enthusiastically affirming my labors. Seniors yell out their thanks from across the street and neighbors comment their gratitude. Even kids stop and help me! I know it’s crazy, but one determined crusader apparently inspires others. It’s good to keep your little patch of the world clean.
By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: And by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil. Proverbs 16:6
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