The gifts of being fully present and engaged:
#3 We get to take thoughts captive:
This message felt a little out of place when held against the first two gifts of being present.
However, I believe it can be the most crucial and critical reason for us to remain present.
You know how you can drive from one destination to another and not know how you got there?
Or how about when you're trying to read a book but you have to go back and reread the same paragraph over and over because it’s not sinking in?
In those moments, are you fully aware of what's going on in your mind much less what's going on all around you?
Experience has taught me that thoughts can creep into our minds and be fed without an immediate realization. This happens most often for me after an argument or when a hurtful memory comes to mind. Before I know it, I'm carrying on a mental conversation that never took place and feeling real emotions about an experience that never happened.
What takes place in our minds will affect how we feel, act, and treat others. Which is why it's so important for us to be aware of what enters our minds and “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NASB)
We cannot take a thought captive if we aren’t alert enough to know it's there.
When I was looking for Bible verses that included the words “be alert,” my search came up with eleven different examples in eight different New Testament books. It’s an important message because “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
When our minds are fully present to the things of God, we are given the most incredible gift. It is a transforming gift for us and for others.
The gift is peace.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (emphasis mine)
The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 (emphasis mine)
This Thanksgiving and Christmas, as we think about the people most precious to us and the perfect gift to buy them, let’s remember our presence - full, alert, and focused presence - is the best gift we can give.
This gift allows us to experience and enjoy more of God, more of those we love, and more peace in our lives.
Sounds pretty good to me!