Do you ever get a craving for Chinese food? All you can think about is, “Hmm… when is the next time I can get some General Tso’s or Sweet & Sour Chicken!?” The craving never really goes away until you’ve been satisfied by eating your favorite menu choices. I’m willing to bet that at least one or two of you will develop and instant craving for Chinese food because of what you just read.
The other night I had such a craving, only I didn’t end up satisfying it. I had some homemade lasagna for dinner instead (if something to replace Chinese food, it would probably have to be something Italian and homemade). The strange thing is that a couple days later, I logged into my bank account online and saw that I had been charged $10.65 at the Peking House. So obviously I’m perplexed. I didn’t even get to enjoy the food that I paid for..in fact, I only thought about eating Chinese food!
Not to get too spiritual, but this situation made me think of when Jesus is giving His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) talking about adultery and murder. Basically He says that if anyone is angry with his brother is subject to judgement just like someone who murders. He also says that looking lustfully at a woman is the same as committing adultery with her. Dang. So being angry with someone is as bad as if I had killed them? Looking at a woman and thinking lustful thoughts is the same as infidelity?
So it’s common knowledge that what we think controls our actions, but here it seems like Jesus is saying that our thoughts are the same as actions whether we act on them or not. Obviously it’s really hard to control what we think – with random thoughts popping into our heads without permission, or thinking things we know aren’t true, or trying not to think about something but thinking about it anyway (because how do you not think about something you’re trying not to think about?) I don’t think it’s possible to hold captive our thought lives on our own – we need help. Sure it’s something that we could probably train ourselves to do – maybe through replacing a bad habit with a good one, or just refusing to think at all – good luck with that one. Even the best ideas are subject to fail if we try by human might alone to achieve that which we strive to do. God help us to think about true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable things – may only that which is excellent or praiseworthy occupy our thoughts. Help us to hide your Word in our hearts so we might not sin against You. Help us to hold captive every thought and not get discouraged when we mess up. Thanks for grace in our thought lives and for Your patience.
So it turns out that thinking about Chinese food is not the same as eating it. Thinking about doing the dishes is not the same as actually getting them clean. Nobody should pay the price for just thinking about food (but if you look at a woman with lust in your heart, you’re guilty…). It seems I’ll be paying the Peking House a visit to see about this mysterious charge, sans food. Where’s my Broccoli Chicken?