From The Christian’s Daily Walk
In the excerpt below, Scudder offers the following advice on how to rid worldliness from our meditations and daily life:
- Discern and treasure what is “of good report”, preferring eternal matters over temporal matters.
- Manage your thoughts like a manager does clients and employees: Prioritize what you will think about, and do not let other “monkeys” get a hold of your attention.
- Battle against worldly thoughts: rebuke your own conscience.
- When attending to matters of this world, restrain wandering thoughts.
- While conducting your worldly business, focus on the matter at hand and work diligently.
To remedy these distempered thoughts [of worldliness]:
- Let a sound and clear judgment discern what is good, what is bad (also what is best, and what is least good), preferring things spiritual, heavenly, and eternal, incomparably before those which are earthly and temporal. Make those best things your treasure, Matt 6:21, then your heart will be chiefly set and your thoughts will chiefly run on them, and you will be moderate in thinking of those things which are less needful.
- Do as a wise counsellor at law, or as a master of requests, who must hear many clients, and receive and answer many petitions. Consider whose turn it is, and what is the most important suit, and despatch them first. Let thoughts of worldly business be shut out and made to stand at the door till their turn come to be thought upon; and let the more excellent and more needful be despatched first.
- If thoughts of the world will imprudently intrude themselves [in your meditations and prayers], and will not be kept out, [then] rebuke them sharply. Give them no hearing, but [rather] dishearten them: rebuke the porter and keeper of the door of your heart. [In other words], smite, wound, and check your conscience, because it did not check and restrain them.
- In all lawful business, insure yourself fully and sufficiently to intend that one thing which you have in hand for the present, Eccl 9:10; and at all times restrain wandering thoughts as much as may be. Let your reason get such power over the fancy, that you may be able to think of what you please, when you please. You will say, “to a fickle mind this is hard, if not impossible. ” To this I answer: If you would not nourish and entertain evil, flying, and unseasonable thoughts when they arise; and would (as often as they offer themselves) be much displeased with them, and with yourself for them; then in time you will find it possible, and not exceedingly hard to think of what good things you would, and not of what evil things you would not.
- When the time of thinking and doing of your worldly business is come, then think thereof sufficiently, and to good purpose; for then they will be the less troublesome in thrusting themselves when out of place, because it is known that in their place [and time], they shall be fully regarded. Idleness and improvidence [neglecting to provide future needs] about these things puts a man into straits many times, and into distempers about his worldly business, more than needs or else would be.