James Thurber wrote a story called "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." Thurber's main character in the story was an ordinary man who had a habit of daydreaming. Walter Mitty went through each day imagining himself to be a hero. He imagined that he was flying a navy plane through the worst storm in history when he was actually driving his old car through a drizzle. He fantasized that he was a world-famous surgeon when he was only driving by a hospital on the way to pick up his wife.
You may not quite have Walter Mitty's problem. You may just daydream about falling in love or getting out of school early. But there is a way to daydream that can actually help you make right choices-and become a person of character and integrity.
Paul talked about that kind of "daydreaming" when he wrote to the early church. Paul commanded them to spend their moments concentrating on things that are true, noble, right, and so on. He told them to think about things that are good and right in order to keep their minds from wandering into dangerous or destructive areas. The idea is, if you fill your mind with good things, there will be less room left over for bad things.
So how do you "think about such things"? There are many ways to do that, but let's just mention three:
1. Memorize Scripture. If you fill your mind with God's Word (say, by memorizing one verse a week), you'll be better able to resist temptation and make right choices (see Matthew 4:4, 7, 10).
2. Pray "without ceasing." Instead of just praying once in the morning, develop a habit of praying all day, even if it's just a few words at a time, such as "Lord, help me say the right thing" or "Thanks for helping me a moment ago, Lord" (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
3. Program your thought life. If a television show prompts impure thoughts, decide to avoid that show. If a friend tempts you to do things that aren't right, plan to steer clear of that friend. Decide ahead of time to avoid sights, sounds, and places that take your mind off things that are true, noble, right, and pure (see Psalm 101:3).
Those three steps won't guarantee right choices. But that kind of daydreaming will help you to make right choices-and become a person of integrity.
REFLECT: If you'd like to start memorizing Scripture, start with one of the following: John 3:16, John 14:6, Matthew 7:7,1 John 1:9, or Psalm 119:105. If you want to begin to "pray without ceasing," think of a way you can remind yourself to pray throughout the day. (For example, tie a string to your finger.) If you begin to plan your thought life, what sights, sounds, and places will you avoid?
PRAY: "Lord, please help me to make a habit of thinking about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy."