The Bible leaves no doubt that our lives are the product of our thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 declares, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Garbage In, Garbage Out is the modern counterpart. Just as a computer’s output is dependent on the information that is input, so our actions are the result of our thinking.
- “Sow a thought, reap an action.
- Sow an action, reap a habit.
- Sow a habit, reap a character. ‘
- Sow a character, reap a destiny!”
If we do not want to damage our destiny, our character or have damaging habits, it all begins with our thoughts. We must realize that thoughts are real and powerful. We must bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
Once you give yourself to Christ you become a new creation. (2 Cor. 5:17) You are to focus your thoughts upon the good things of life and upon God. What we think is so important that God tells us what we are to think.
Philippians 4 spells out in detail the things we must think about as believers:
Whatever is true. Truth includes facts and statements that are in accordance with reality (not lies, rumors, or embellishments); and sincere (not deceitful or with evil motives). Truth is a characteristic of God (Romans 3:4).
Dr. Walter Cavert reported a survey on worry that indicated that only 8 percent of the things people worried about were legitimate matters of concern! The other 92 percent were imaginary, never happened, or involved matters over which the people had no control anyway. Satan is the liar (John 8:44), and he wants to corrupt our minds with his lies (2 Cor. 11:3). “Did God really say that?” is the way he approaches us, just as he approached Eve (Gen. 3:1ff). The Holy Spirit controls our minds through truth (John 17:17; 1 John 5:6), but the devil tries to control them through lies. Whenever we believe a lie, Satan is in control!
Whatever is honest and just. This means “worthy of respect and right.” There are many things that are not respectable, and followers of Christ should not think about these things. This does not mean we hide our heads in the sand and avoid what is unpleasant and displeasing, but it does mean we do not focus our attention on dishonorable things and permit them to control our thoughts.
Whatever is pure, lovely, and of good report. “Pure” refers to moral purity, since we are constantly attacked by temptations to sexual impurity (Eph. 4:17-24; 5:8-12). “Lovely” means “beautiful, attractive.” “Of good report” means “worth talking about, appealing.” The believer must major on the godly thoughts, not the sinful thoughts of a corrupt world.
Whatever possesses virtue and praise. If it has virtue, it will motivate us to do better; and if it has praise, it is worth commending to others. No Christ follower can afford to waste “mind power” on thoughts that tear him down or that would tear others down if these thoughts were shared.
Do you have problems with impure thoughts? Examine what you are putting into your mind through television, books, music, conversations, movies, and magazines. Replace harmful input with healthy material. Above all, read God’s Word, pray and stay connected in church (worship and Growth Group involvement). Ask God to help you focus your mind on what is good and pure. It can be done.
“Lord help us not think damaging thoughts but to think about the things you would have us think about; thoughts that true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. Amen”