When our children were young one of their favorite things in which to participate was the experience of a bonfire. Like many people across America, the evening would fall short without the building and roasting of smores in the cold of the night. The following morning I would be knocked over by the stench of smoke in my clothes which hung in my closet beside all of the other garments. I never noticed my clothes smelling like smoke during the evening before. I learned over time to leave my smoke saturated clothes outside of my closet to air them out. Once the smoke smell has dissipated they could rejoin my other clothes in the closet.
Isn’t it amazing how challenging seasons or relationships can lead to beliefs where smoke lingers throughout all of our other thoughts? We don’t even realize the power of our negative thoughts and how they permeate throughout our entire wardrobe of thinking. It seems that every thought we grab off the hanger all smell the same…thoughts like ‘I am a victim,’ ‘I am justified in my unforgiving actions,’ ‘I am better than they are,’ and the list goes on and on. Everything in our perception becomes tainted and slanted towards our emotions instead of truth. No matter what we pull out of our closets, they all smell like smoke.
It is not until we learn to allow our ‘clothes to air out’ before they permanently hang in our minds. We are human beings with complex emotions so the point is not that we will occasionally smell like smoke in our thinking. The greater point is that we must make sure we surrender our thoughts to God so they have a chance to air out. Smoke is the temporary by product of fire with no roots, no anchors and no substance. It depends on something other than itself for survival – oxygen.
We cannot give breath to the negative thoughts and our feelings of entitlement when dealing with others. By taking every thought captive and allowing God to renew our minds and transform our hearts we learn the importance of allowing our emotions to air out. ‘But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ…’ 2 Co. 2:14-15.
Once God has worked in our temporary emotions, they become a divine garment which hangs among our wardrobe with the aroma of Christ…not of smoke.
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