By Hal Lindsey
1838 was a time of great turmoil in America. In January of that year, a 28-year-old Illinois State Representative addressed a prominent Springfield debating society. The tall, lanky lawyer called his subject, “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions.” His name was Abraham Lincoln.
Deeply concerned about his nation’s future, Lincoln asked, “At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined… could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years. At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
Even in an era of intercontinental ballistic missiles able to cross oceans in mere minutes, inner corruption is still more dangerous to America than attack from the outside. Inner weakness attracts aggression. “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.”
Today, our nation seems bent on self-destruction. We see it in legislatures, executive mansions, courts, and educational institutions. It has metastasized into music studios, film sets, and libraries. Publishing houses, television networks, and corporate boardrooms also seem bent on destroying the American rights, ideals, and morality that made their prosperity possible.
Destructive choices are not limited to the wealthy and powerful. They’re also being made by 15-year-olds standing on street corners and by 60-year-olds deciding what television program to watch. They are being decided by Christians who know they should read the Bible, but place it so low on their list of priorities that it rarely gets opened.
We hear a great deal about culture wars. But culture is an outer reflection of our inward selves. The real war is about thought, and thoughts are largely a matter of choice. Yes, some thoughts come unbidden. But we get to choose whether to entertain and nourish those thoughts, or not. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NASB) says to take “every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
We can choose to focus our thinking on that which will strengthen and nourish our souls in Christ. Psalms 1:1-3 says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season, And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.”
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.”
The world works overtime to corrupt our thoughts and those of our young. But the Bible says we can choose our thoughts. We see the terrible things being taught in schools, and we wonder what we can do. The answer is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us through His holy word. Even if you are physically frail, you can be a giant in Christ — speaking persuasively, praying effectually, and walking in the power of His great love. Start by letting “your mind dwell on these things.”