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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Righteous Thoughts are My Secret

Righteous Thoughts are My Secret
As we greet the new year, 2018, the media pauses from its normal routine to remember events that occurred during 2017, the year we are leaving behind.  Some of our famous American movie actors, artists and musicians who died during 2017 are remembered.  Each beloved performer has left behind some words to live by.  During their lifetimes, when each entertainer was asked what their secrets for success and fame were, they each gave their answers. 
Surely these beloved actors can leave us some wisdom about how to be successful.  Jerry Lewis, comedian and actor, died in 2017 and his answer was this: “People hate me because I am a multifaceted, talented, wealthy, internationally famous genius.”   Wow!  Not much humility in those words! 
Chuck Berry, a famous musician who died last year had these words to say: “I always knew who I was.  I was going to be famous if it killed me.”   It sounds like his goal was to be famous no matter what!  Is that his secret?
 Another famous actress, Jeanne Moreau, who died last year, described her life like this: “The cliché’ is that life is a mountain.  You go up, reach the top and then go down.  To me, my life is going up until I am burned by flames.”   
Sam Shepard, a famous writer and actor left these words last year for us to live by: “One of the strangest and most terrifying things about being human is the need to come up with an identity.  It has always bewildered me, and I can say that even now it is still mostly unresolved.  Who am I?”  That wasn’t too helpful, was it?
Trisha Brown, a famous choreographer, died last year and left these words about how she became a success.  “I’m trying to make the perfect dance: that’s what drives me.”   Is she saying we must be perfect to be successful?
And then there is Fats Domino, who died in 2017 at 89 years old. He was a famous musician, singer, and comedian who answered this way: “Clean living keeps me in shape.  Righteous thoughts are my secret.  And New Orleans home cooking.”
Fats Domino’s real name was Antonio Dominique.  Fats was a good father to his eight children and a faithful husband.  He was married all his long life to one woman, his wife, Rosemary.  And the two had eight children. He left behind eight million dollars. Throughout his long career there was never a hint of wrong doing, money problems, other women, anger management or misbehaving!  Fats was a Christian and recorded some gospel songs.  He seemed to live a clean good life.  Like he said, clean living must have kept him in shape!  
What is “clean living”? Scripture says to “stay on the narrow road.”  (Matthew 7:13-14) And: “Make straight paths for your feet.” (Hebrews 12:13) Is that what Fats Domino meant when he mentions his “clean living” as helping create his successful life?  Doesn’t “clean living” mean trying to do the right thing? Being honest and kind? Loving God?   Forgiving others and forgiving yourself?  Staying away from bad influences?
Fats Domino gave three answers as to how he found success in his life!  (1) Clean living, (2) righteous thoughts. And of course, that good ole (3) New Orleans cooking!  Yes, good food is important for good living.  How could we forget?
Fat’s says that his second answer to good living is his “secret”.  “Righteous thoughts” are his “secret”.   The Bible says that if we believe in Christ that the Holy Spirit is in us and “teaches” us and “leads” us in the ways that we should go.  (John 14:26: John 16:12-15) The Spirit of God gives us “righteous thoughts” They are there if we will listen! if we will accept these thoughts! The Holy Spirit opens the Bible to us and speaks to our hearts.  Could this be what Fats was talking about when he mentioned his little secret – the righteous thoughts? 
As Christians we know that we belong to Christ and we should do good deeds. But do we forget that our thoughts are to be given over to Christ also? Scripture says: “Be not conformed to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good and pleasing and perfect will.”  (Romans 12:2)
We are to be transformed by “renewing” our minds.  We are to grow and change as God’s children.  Be transformed. God’s Spirit is there whispering words of life along our way.  Dropping those “righteous thoughts” that light up our lives if we let them.  Are we listening?   

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