Thoughts – The battle in the mind

“To each of us there is something which seems simply impossible to get on top of. I know my special foe and all this week I have had to live looking off to Jesus.” (Amy Carmichael)

 “But how can we control our thoughts? No more than we could blot out our sins, or create a world. What then are we to do?” “We must look to Christ. That is the true secret of self-control. He can keep us not only from the lodgement, but also from the suggestion of evil thoughts. In our own strength we could no more prevent the one than the other. He can prevent both. He can keep the vile intruders, not only from getting in, but even from knocking at the door. When His divine life is our source of life, when the current of spiritual thought and feeling is deep and rapid–when the heart’s affections are intensely occupied with the Person of Christ, vain thoughts do not trouble us. It is only when spiritual indolence creeps over us that evil thoughts and their vile and horrible progeny come in upon us like a flood; and then our only resource is to look straight to Jesus.”

“The more excellent way is, to be preserved from the suggestions of evil, by the power of preoccupation with good. When the channel of thought is decidedly upward, when it is deep and well formed, free from all curves and indentations, then the current of imagination and feeling, as it gushes up from the deep fountains of the soul, will naturally flow onward in the bed of that channel.”

“This, I repeat, is unquestionably the more excellent way. May we prove it in our own experience. When the heart is fully engrossed with Christ, the living embodiment of  ‘all that is true, all that is noble, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, all that is admirable’, we enjoy profound peace, unruffled by evil thoughts.”

“This is true self-control.” (C.H. Mackintosh)

“To go to Him is nothing mysterious. It simply means to turn our minds to Him, to rest our hearts on Him, and to turn away from all other resting places. It means we must not look at, think about, and trouble over our circumstances, our surroundings, our perplexities, or our experiences. We must look at and think about the Lord.” (Hannah Smith)

“The most of our spiritual decays and barrenness arise from an inordinate admission of other things into our minds; for these are they that weaken grace in all its operations. But when the mind is filled with thoughts of Christ and his glory, when the soul thereon cleaves unto him with intense affections, they will cast out, or not give admittance unto, those causes of spiritual weakness and indisposition.” (John Owen)

“That useless thoughts spoil all: that the mischief began there; but that we ought to reject them, as soon as we perceived their impertinence to the matter in hand, or our salvation; and return to our communion with God.”

“That at the beginning he had often passed his time appointed for prayer, in rejecting wandering thoughts, and falling back into them. That he could never regulate his devotion by certain methods as some do. That nevertheless, at first he had meditated for some time, but afterwards that went off, in a manner that he could give no account of.”

“That all bodily mortifications and other exercises are useless, but as they serve to arrive at the union with God by love; that he had well considered this, and found it the shortest way to go straight to Him by a continual exercise of love, and doing all things for His sake.” (Brother Lawrence)

“One day I came to know Dr. John Douglas Adam,” writes C. G. Trumbull. “I learned from him that what he counted his greatest spiritual asset was his unvarying consciousness of the actual presence of Jesus. Nothing bore him up so, he said, as the realization that Jesus was always with him in actual presence; and that this was so independent of his own feelings, independent of his deserts, and independent of his own notions as to how Jesus would manifest His presence.” “Moreover, he said that Christ was the home of his thoughts. Whenever his mind was free from other matters it would turn to Christ; and he would talk aloud to Christ when he was alone–on the street, anywhere–as easily and naturally as to a human friend. So real to him was Jesus’ actual presence.”

The more our ideas about God are multiplied, the more various our thoughts, and images, and recollections of things which have to do with Him, of course the more our minds and hearts are engrossed with Him, and so it becomes easier to live all day in His sensible presence. And is not the practice of the presence of God one half of holiness? And so, weary with work or foiled with disappointment, when the dark night is closing in, bringing with it to our sick spirits a sense of imprisonment, and when the dismal rain curtains us round, and we fret to be at liberty and at large, there is the very freedom of a sovereign to a soul traversing this boundless empire of God and Jesus, angels, saints, men, and the blameless creatures, and rejoicing in that never-ceasing sacrifice of praise which is rising up from every nook and corner of creation to the dear Majesty of our most loving God and Father! (Frederick W. Faber)

“Let your heart and desires continually hold converse with God, in heartfelt simplicity. Reflect on Him with feelings of love and reverence, and often offer up your heart, with all that you have and are, to Him, in spirit and in truth, as cordially and sincerely as possible. If through weakness or unfaithfulness you forsake this exercise, which is so incredibly helpful and beautiful, all you have to do is, meekly and heartily to begin again; and do not be weary of it, although in the beginning you may not find any great advantage from it, or make any rapid progress in it. It is not true that such a mode of life is hard; it is easy and pleasant to the spirit, and becomes in due time like a heaven upon earth. A little patience and courage alone are needed.” (Gerhard TerSteegen)

“Here on earth a temple stands,
Temple never built with hands;
Thoughts, desires, that enter there,
Should they not be pure and fair?
Where the soul, a priest in white,
Singeth praises day and night;
Glory of the love divine
Filling all this heart of thine.” (Gerhard TerSteegen)