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What is Thoughtfulness?

Thoughtful is:

1. considerate: treating people in a kind and considerate way, especially by anticipating their wants or needs

2. pensive: appearing to be deep in thought

3. carefully thought out: showing the application of careful thought

Encarta® World English Dictionary[North American Edition] © & (P) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Developed for Microsoft by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

So why is being thoughtful important?

Deep and careful thought is necessary in order to be considerate of others, even to be considerate of God.  Our natural inclination is to think of ourselves and we must work at thinking of others.  Newborn babies are not thoughtful.  They demand food when they want it.  They sleep when they want.  They have no qualms dirtying the brand new diaper even if it is the last one.  A two year old doesn’t want to share their favorite toy nor do they care if moma really needs them to take a good nap.

It takes lots of teaching to teach children to contemplate and think of others.  Sometimes it hardly seems to be worth all the effort.  But as Christians that isn’t an option; it is a requirement.  Because if we fail to teach our children to be thoughtful and considerate they will struggle with pleasing the Lord and with loving others.  The two most important commands in the Bible concern this idea.

Matthew 22:37-40 (ESV)

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

38 This is the great and first commandment.

39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

The two great commandments encompass loving God and loving your neighbor. But in order to love both you must be able to think clearly about loving. We don’t love when we just go through life responding without contemplating our response. The Bible is full of explanations and encouragements on how to truly show love to God and others.

Matthew 7:12 (ESV) “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

This is a concept we teach our children from day one yet who hasn’t had a child twist the verse to say “Do unto others as they did unto you”? There is a big difference there. But sometimes the difference is hard for young children to grasp. They think because brother hit me I can hit him. It takes work to teach children to think out how this verse works without just being reactionary. Sometimes even adults struggle with twisting this verse.  Ever heard someone say because they did this to me I can do the same to them?

Obviously this concept is even more important and far reaching than I thought.

 


 

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Spurgeon’s Prayer for a Renewed Mind and Thoughts

“Lord, give me a new understanding;

wash my mind with the clean water of the Spirit;

come and dwell in my judgment,

my memory,

my thought;

and then give me the new strength of thy Spirit,

and then will I love thee with all my new heart,

with all my new life,

with all my renewed mind,

and with all my spiritual strength,

from this time forth,

even for evermore.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Spurgeon from The First and Great Commandment


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The Bible on Thinking

Here are some verses on thinking from the Bible.  First of all let’s start with the verse which is the basis for this website.

Acts 17:11 (ESV) Now these Jews {Bereans} were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

The basis for thinking and discernment can be found here.  Take everything and compare it to Scripture.

Proverbs 14:15 (ESV) The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps.

Don’t fall for every new fad that comes along.  Give careful consideration to what you believe and what you do.

Proverbs 19:2 (ESV) Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.

Enthusiasm is great but only when knowledge and careful consideration is given.  Running around half-cocked without careful consideration is dangerous.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

While thinking is important what you think and how you think are also just as important.  We should corral our thoughts and keep them in obedience to Christ.  We are even told what to think upon.

Not upon earthly things:

Philippians 3:19 (ESV) Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

But upon the good and excellent things:

Philippians 4:8 (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


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No One Thinks Anymore

I’ll admit right from the start that I think too much.  Just ask my husband when it comes to making major decisions.  I want to consider all the possibilities before committing to a decision.  Nevertheless, I am astounded at how little the average person thinks.  Everyone seems too busy to think about much beyond what happens next in the day.  Even when my day is packed I find time to think.  Driving time, waiting in line, and even mindless tasks like laundry all are time when I can think and still accomplish other things.  But the most fruitful time for me to think is early mornings before the children are awake and in the evenings after the house is quiet for the night.  Then I can solve the world’s problems. :0  Actually it turns out that thinking and prayer go hand-in-hand.  Matters that I’m contemplating are brought before the Lord for His wisdom.  If life has become too busy to allow for an adequate amount of time to contemplate and think, then I will stay up late or get up in the middle of the night to make time.

It is hard to understand how some can sit and not think.  My husband when I ask him what he is thinking about nine times out of ten says nothing. ???  I thought this was an oddity of his; however, others have pointed out that their husbands do the same.

Many times I find myself getting irritated with children especially when they are in larger groups.  After pondering the issue I have decided what it is that bothers me.  Lack of thoughtfulness in children.  Granted children are children and they will be careless and childish, but a lack of thoughtfulness is something I desire all children to learn and not just my own.  Invariably, I find myself correcting other’s children when I see unthoughtfulness exhibited.  I haven’t arrived at a good way to encourage more thoughtfulness in other’s children.

I’m sure some would say “What is she talking about?”  Here is how I figured out ‘lack of thoughtfulness’ was bothering me.  I happened to be standing at my refrigerator and noticed our “The 21 Rules of This House”.  In a nut shell that whole list can be summed up with ‘thinking of others before yourself’.

First of all we are to consider the Lord before ourselves.  There is a multitude of subheadings that can fit under that.  While as believers we tend to say we put the Lord before ourselves, we must admit that often we don’t.

Secondly we are to put others before ourselves.  We know that but do we really think about all the ways we should be putting others before ourselves?  No, not really.  That is where the children come in.  See we must teach our children to put others before themselves.  Granted we teach them to share their toys and make special concessions to guests but there are so many more areas where thoughtfulness applies.

Thoughtfulness and thinking go together.  Thinking is the precursor to the behavior of thoughtfulness.

So begin thinking about how thoughtful you are in your life and if you are actually teaching your children to be thoughtful and think beyond the moment and themselves.

 


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