One day this past week, as he often does, my husband Tim asked me how my day had been.
When my children were growing up, my tendency was to answer that question based on what I’d gotten done that day. I finally became convicted that that was the wrong way to look at things. What was more important to God was how I’d behaved. Had I walked with Him, and had Christ’s character shone through me to my children?
Now that my children are out of our home and I have “retired,” I don’t have the demands of children, and my time is more my own. However, my response to Tim that day was still not a very positive one. Why could I not answer positively about my day now?
I decided that the problem was that I had not brought “every thought into captivity” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) that day; I had not dwelt on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy.” (Philippians 4:8)
I hadn’t dwelt on murderous thoughts or evil, I don’t think. I just hadn’t controlled what one of my friends calls my “free-thinking time.” Free-thinking time is what you have when you are doing things that don’t engage your whole mind−like dishes, making a bed, housework, etc.
I had gotten a lot done that day, but during the time I was doing brainless jobs, I listened to a recorded book, a mystery/action novel. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with the book; it just didn’t meet the standards of that verse in Philippians.
You see, the battle is won or lost in our minds. We choose what we think about, and if we’re not thinking about what God thinks is important, we are opening ourselves up for failure. Think about David, a man God said was after His own heart (I Samuel 13:14), who spent much of his youth alone with the sheep. I believe that the Psalms show us that he used a lot of that time thinking about the wonderfulness of God!
Does that mean I’ll stop listening to books? No. It means I need to spend more time thinking about the things of the Lord, and I need to do that first. (Again, do the most important things first!)
Some ideas I’m trying to make sure I have more profitable free-thinking time:
• Listen to Christian music.
I have a friend who told me that she used to have the television on when she was alone at home. She began instead to listen to Christian music and found that she was encouraged in the Lord and walked more closely with Him.
• Memorize and meditate on scripture.
There’s no better way to think God’s thoughts than to hide God’s word in my heart “that I may not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11)
Don’t have enough time to pray? Remember that, if nothing else, your free-thinking time is available!