I sometimes wonder if there’s a conspiracy against quiet in our culture. Sound is pumped into every space we inhabit. Can you think of a public space without some sort of a sound system at work?
I didn’t think so.
And when we don’t like what’s filling our shared space, we pump it directly into our ears. Quiet is so rare in our society, it’s almost deafening when we hear it. We have to stop and look around to see where all the noise went.
Whatever happened to just thinking?
I love to just think. Nothing in the background. No music. No television. Nothing to distract me. Just silence so I can think.
It’s not easy for people to just think these days. Our constant activity demands our attention. We have no time to think because we have to pay attention to what we are doing. And when life does quiet, we don’t know how to just think. We’re scrambling for something to fill the silence.
When we’re constantly connected to noise, it’s difficult to use one of the most important tools that God has given us—our imaginations. Imagining is not something most people can do well in a cacophony of sound.
I’m sure the great inventors like Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Graham Bell spent a lot of time just thinking. Just thinking led to things no one imagined possible. Flip a switch and light floods a room? Talking over a wire to someone in another city? No way!
But those great inventors thought those things were possible. They saw it in their heads. They imagined it. They just had to keep experimenting until they found a way to make it work.
So we’ve quieted ourselves so we can think. Now, what should we think about?
We’ve been given a good guideline in Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure . . . think about these things.
Hmm. Not much of that on the nightly news. Sometimes, when I’m sitting at night, watching the 7:00 P.M. replay of the news I watched at 5:00 P.M and my head is splitting, I wonder why in the world I can’t pull myself up. My energy is drained. I can barely make it to the refrigerator for a snack! In my defense, I don’t watch a lot of news anymore. But when I had a steady diet of it, I felt like there was an iron band around my head.
When we open the gates of our minds to constant negativity, it has a physical effect on us as well as affecting us mentally and spiritually. So if we’re going to think of things that are true, honorable, just, pure—we’re probably going to have to limit our access to the steady stream of vitriol coming through media.
I personally believe that Satan has a hand in keeping the world’s noise level high.
He knows the power of our thoughts—for good or evil. It makes him nervous. So he focuses on keeping our ears filled with noise, or keeping us so busy we can’t hold a thought.
Satan is the master distracter.
He also doesn’t want us to recognize his voice. When things are quieter, it’s easier to discern what voice is in our head.
Not long ago, I had a little disagreement with someone close to me. Nothing big. But I caught myself saying in my mind, “I’m better than you.” What? Where did that come from? It’s not something I would say. And it was definitely not something I believed. I recognized that it was the enemy and rebuked him.
The Scripture tells us to take our thoughts into captivity. II Corinthians 10:5 Being quiet helps us to hear our thoughts and redirect them before they get rooted too deeply.
Another very important reason to learn the art of thinking is that thinking is the vehicle that drives imagination, and it takes imagination to have faith.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
The Greek definition of substance is “a setting under; support.” It’s like the floorboards beneath us when we live in a third-story apartment. And we’ve all watched enough crime shows to know that evidence is proof.
We see the things we hope for by faith before they come into existence. We imagine them. We believe they will come.
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us . . .
God wants to give us exceeding abundantly above what we can even think to ask for. Not according to our lusts, but according to his power that works in us.
He wants us to ask.
A long time ago, I read something in a child-rearing book that has never left me. The author said he told his son, “I’ll always say yes, unless I have to say no.” I’m sure that statement helped his son to accept “no” from his father when it came because he knew his father loved him and he’d say yes if he could.
I believe that about God. He’ll always say yes unless He has to say no.
Imagination is an integral component of faith. Finding time to be quiet and think frees our imagination and helps us to believe God for great things.
I pray that we will all turn off the noise and find some quiet time to think about the goodness of God. He loves us and He wants to bless us more than we will ever understand.
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