‘If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.’ You may well have seen this Roald Dahl quote before. I love it - it always inspires me to try and have good thoughts, but as much as I try I mainly fail, especially when I’m under pressure or my children are nearby! I naturally feel I have quite a critical attitude. On a good day I can explain this as a passion and heart to make things better, that I’m stirred with a holy discontent. On a bad day its just because I’m in a bad mood and nothing is going right and that’s really the fault of everybody else around me! However, reading Proverbs, a book which is full of everyday wisdom, I was reminded again that

our attitudes, words and actions come out of what is in our hearts - as it says in Matt 12:34 ‘out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.’

What I understand this to mean is that similarly to what Roald Dahl is saying the state of our internal life affects our external life, maybe not necessarily our looks, but that the reality of what is going on inside of us at some point will become visible outwardly, our hearts and minds will have an affect on the course of our life, on the words we say, on the actions we choose to do or not do.

Before Christmas I was reading a book by Erwin McManus about this and the state of our hearts. In it he talks about studies that have been done on firefighters to try and determine how they were able to make critical decisions in the middle of crisis and at blinding speed. A bad decision will literally cost lives, yet time and again they seemed to know what to do. What they discovered is that they weren’t weighing multiple options then choosing the best one. They act on their first thoughts, they have absolute confidence in their instincts. There are no two options to choose from. They have developed an intuition that allows them to move without hesitation and with the greatest effectiveness - they not only are able to act on instinct but the instincts that they act on are good ones. He is talking about this in the context of looking at Joshua in the Old Testament. He says that this type of instinct is what Joshua had. God built in him the spiritual reservoir from which he would be able to draw in the future. He absorbed through meditation the truth of God, so that he was able to trust his intuition to fulfil God’s purpose. He allowed himself to be shaped by God’s voice, so that he could resonate with the voice of God when he spoke. He lived to know God, so that he would know how God wanted him to live.

So do I, do you, have a firefighter’s heart?

Do we have hearts that have been so shaped by God that instinctively good flows from them?

Have we meditated on God’s word so that it shapes our thoughts into good thoughts, like sunbeams, that overflow out of us, making everything around light up and lovely?! Well, that’s the ideal! And maybe one day it will be, so….I’ll be looking for sunbeams this week!!

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STW Derby