“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” Proverbs 23:7 (KJV)
What are you thinking about right now? Depending on how deep of a thinker a person is, studies show that each person can have anywhere from 12,000 to 50,000 thoughts per day. Other research from a study quoted by Dr. Deepak Chopra suggested that an average person thinks about 65,000 thoughts per day. Whether it is 12,000 or 65,000 or somewhere in between, that is a
LOT of thinking! So, what kind of thoughts are they? According to today’s passage, whatever we think in our heart, so we are. Remember the old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out”? What do you allow your mind to think about in the course of a day?
Destructive thoughts will eventually destroy us, as a person. Negative thoughts that are permitted to linger in our minds eventually mold us into being that kind of person. Ungodly thoughts, left unchecked, ultimately end us up taking the next step from just a thought to a full-blown action that we live to regret. We cannot control the thoughts that are presented to our minds, but we can control how long we keep them there. As the famous quote by Martin Luther says, “You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can keep it from building a nest in your hair.” When an unwholesome, negative, or otherwise bad thought comes to our mind, we have a choice. Will we shoo it away, or will we allow it to “build a nest” and take up permanent residence?
Do you know the Bible has quite a lot to say about our thoughts? One of the more notable passages that has really been on my heart is the one found in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV) “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ…” There is SO much in this verse! This is important stuff, as is all of God’s Word, but this is really, really deep. Did you catch that little phrase in there? Every thought! Every thought??
So, whether I think 12, 000 or 65, 000 thoughts in one 24 hour period, every, single one of those thoughts need to be reined in and brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. No exceptions. No wiggle room. No loopholes. No negotiation. Why? Because as you think in your heart, so you are. The longer you allow those thoughts to linger, the greater your risk of acting them out, of accepting their logic, and becoming what they suggest. So, if each one of our thoughts needs to be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, what does this mean? I believe the safe question to ask ourselves is would Jesus think these thoughts? If the answer is no, then the thought needs to be taken captive and brought into obedience to His mindset.
God never gives us a command, especially one of this magnitude, without also offering us the sure-fire solution to make it happen. We aren’t told to rein in every, single thought, and then never instructed as to how to do this enormous task. So, here are three steps to carry out this vital process.
Step One: First of all, we have to analyze the thought. Is it a thought Jesus would think? If the answer is no, then you can rest assured the thought needs to be dismissed and rejected.
Step Two: If we identify the thought as being unhealthy and one that Jesus would not think, we can know of a certainty where it came from. So, the Biblical command is to “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (KJV)
Step Three: Immediately, without delay, replace the thought. Fill its place as soon as possible with a thought Jesus would think.
In Philippians 4:8, the Apostle Paul gives us wonderful counsel on what we are to think upon and allow our minds to dwell on. It is a fool-proof plan to keep our minds clean, pure, and acceptable before God. Here’s what it says, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
You may never have to go anywhere past the first one on the list…because something that is true is that God loves you. Instead of beating yourself up after finding you have indulged in thoughts that were not Christ like, take the three step approach. Analyze it, resist it, and replace it….with thoughts of the truth of God’s love…for you, my friend. Remind yourself over and over that God loves you so much that He gave His only Son to die for you on a cruel, rugged cross. Think on that thing. Meditate on it. Indulge in it. Let it sink deep into the core of your consciousness. This is TRUE. This is a thought that Jesus would think….that He would be happy about you thinking. Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life. If that is all that will come to your mind, when you are in a “bringing-a-thought-captive-to-the-obedience-of-Christ-and-replacing-it-with-a-thought-Jesus-would-think” moment, that is enough. It will always be enough.