Growing up, I was taught that what I thought about mattered. In children’s church I memorized Philippians 4:8. It says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (NLT). If I said something or did something that was out of line, people at church understood it was a reflection of what was going on in my mind. They would then ask, “Is that true? Honorable? Right?” They would go down the list. It created a filter to run things through as thoughts entered my mind.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks within himself, so is he” (TPT). You will always become a reflection of your thought life. If you’re constantly thinking about issues, problems, lies, revenge, etc., your life is going to show it. Those things get into your heart and show up in your actions. If you think about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, etc., those will also get into your heart and show up in your actions. The things you dwell on in your mind can have a positive or negative affect on your life and your relationships with others. It’s important to develop a filter from God’s Word to run your thoughts through. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (NLT). It takes some discipline to capture thoughts and realign your thinking.
Everyone of us face situations that are out of our control. Situations create internal feelings. Those feelings create thoughts, and those thoughts create actions. If you want to change how you react or behave, you have to change those thoughts. If you want to change those thoughts, you have to change how you feel because you can’t change the situation normally. You have to capture those thoughts and feelings when they come in. Challenge them by holding them up to the standard of God’s Word. If the don’t align, then you must change them to dwell and think on what is true. Insert what God says about the situation rather than what your feelings say. Remember how and what you think will affect every area of your life. Creating a standard to hold your thoughts up against before you let them filter into your life will change your life.
One of the classes that I’ve trained for a while now is DISC. If you’ve ever taken a DISC class, you probably remember what you are. I’m a high I which stands for Influencer. One of the characteristics of a high I is that we tend to talk a lot. Because of that, my mouth has gotten me into trouble several times in my life because I just didn’t know when to be quiet. A scripture I heard a lot growing up was Matthew 12:34: “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh” (KJV). I was constantly reminded that my words reveal what’s on the inside of me. If I wanted to change what came out of my mouth, I had to change what went in my mind and heart. I was told, “Garbage in. Garbage out.”
As a kid, I didn’t really understand that concept. In high school, one of my teachers had our class memorize Psalm 141:3: “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” I think King David must have been an I as well. He needed help watching what he said too. I began praying this verse because if I couldn’t stop talking, at least God could help watch the words that came out of my mouth. Over time, I began to change what I read and what I watched because it does have an affect on what’s in our heart. I started trying to eliminate the garbage that was going into my mind. In times like we’re in, that’s never been more important because there’s a lot of garbage out there to stream.
A prayer I learned to pray to help me was Psalm 19:14. It says, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (NLT). Not only do we need to watch what we say and think, we need them to be pleasing to God. To help with that, I often have to bring thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). I stay vigilant about the thoughts that go through my head and the rabbit trails they go down. I interrupt them whenever they are not pleasing to God and refocus them onto things that are (Philippians 4:8). It’s not an easy process, but it’s one that we all must get better at because we are what we think (Proverbs 23:7) and we can never take back words spoken.
One of the first Bible verses I can remember memorizing is Proverbs 23:7. It says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” (KJV). What a profound truth for all of us. Henry Ford interpreted it this way, “Whether you think you or can’t, you’re right.” The power of your thoughts are so important to being able to live out your faith and pursue your calling. Do you believe that Jesus forgave all your sins and set you free 100% or do you still carry the guilt of forgiven sins? Everything that God wants to do through you starts with how you answer that question. If you believe there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1), then you’re free to fulfill your purpose. If you still feel condemnation from your past, you’re living in a self imposed prison.
Living under guilt and condemnation from your past is a self limiting belief. The enemy knows that your thoughts predict your future, so he attacks you there. He goes after how you feel too. If he can get you to feel guilty, then he can keep you from your purpose. Feelings lie, but God doesn’t. Other He has the power to forgive you and take your guilt or He doesn’t. Acts 13:39 says, “Everyone who believes in Him is set free from sin and guilt” (TPT). So we know that those feelings of guilt are a tool of the enemy to hold you back from your destiny and they are not from God. You need to let that verse sink into your soul and repeat it, along with Romans 8:1, until you believe it from the inside out.
1 John 3:20 tells us, “Whenever our hearts make us feel guilty and remind us of our failures, we know that God is much greater and more merciful than our conscience, and he knows everything there is to know about us.” God knows who you have been and who you’re becoming. Old things have past away, and all things in your life are becoming new through Him. Trust in the grace of God to forgive and remove your guilt, then be transformed into a new person through the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). Your past happened and there are scars to show, but those things are not meant to hold you back. They’re there to help others find their freedom and healing. God knows everything, everything, about you and He still loves you, forgives you and wants to use you. Leave the self limiting thoughts and feelings in the past where they belong and find your freedom and purpose in your forgiveness.
Several years ago, Apple was floundering as a company. They had lost their soul and direction. They decided to bring Steve Jobs back as the CEO to see if he could turn it around. One of the things he did after revamping their product line was to change advertising agencies. The agency that won pitched him the idea of the now famous “Think Different” campaign. The commercial showed different geniuses from history with a voice that started off, “There are people who see the world differently. They see things in new ways.” While the commercial went on to advertise Apple, it’s a reminder that you and I ask Christians are called to think differently.
Proverbs 23:7 tells that our thoughts determine who we are. We must then learn how to control them or at least stop the negative thoughts that lie to us. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us that we must bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. We can’t just allow idle thoughts or negative thoughts to float around in our heads. We must capture them and change them. It’s easier said than done, I know, but it starts with challenging the thoughts that don’t like up with what God says. When those thoughts come in, you counter with who God says you are and what He’s promised to us as believers. God knows that the way to change our lives is through changing our thoughts.
Isaiah 8:11 says, “The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does” (NLT). Why would God do that? Because we are called to be and live differently. We are to be set apart and to see the world in a different way. We are to change culture rather than to be a reflection of it. The only way to do that is to think differently and to see the world as God does. He transforms us by the renewing of our thoughts and in turn, we transform the world. Don’t get caught up today thinking and seeing the world the way others do. Pray and ask God to change how you think and see so that it reflects how He sees it. In turn, you’ll begin to fulfill your purpose and help others along the way.
One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Ford. He said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you’re right.” Our thoughts are so powerful that they literally control our ability to accomplish things. It doesn’t matter if everyone tells you that you can’t do it, if your mind says you can, you’ll do it. Conversely, if everyone tells you that you can, but you don’t think you can, you never will. It’s not what others think that makes us believe. It’s what we think.
Solomon understood this principle. In Proverbs 4:23 he wrote, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (GNT). You and I can control what thoughts we entertain, and what thoughts we dismiss. The ones we replay over and over in our heads and become our reality. They determine whether or not we apply for that job, write that proposal, take that class, put on those running shoes, or you fill in the blank. Think about that for a minute and replay the voices in your head when you tried to do whatever you filled in the blank.
If your whole life is shaped by what you think, wouldn’t it be important to you to think the right things? Changing your thought cycle is difficult, but not impossible. In most cases, you’ve told yourself a certain thing so many times that you actually believe it to be true without question. You say, “I can’t do that because that just who I am.” When you say that, you’re proving Henry Ford right. You don’t think you can, so you don’t. You rationaLIES that it’s just who you are. Yes, I spelled that with “lies” because that’s what those thoughts are.
In order to change the lies, you have to challenge them just like you would challenge anyone else telling you lies. You ask, “Where’s the proof?” When there is no proof (“because I said so” isn’t proof), you then insert what the truth is. You begin to think the new thought over and over (remember “The Little Engine That Could”) until it is true. This is hard work, but you can reshape your life and what you do by what you think. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (AMP). It’s time we quit believing the lies. Whatever you think in your heart and mind is who you will become. Be someone awesome since you get to choose.
I recently spoke on the importance of your thought life. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” To me this is one of the most important verses in the Bible. What you think determines who you are. Every action that you or I take is based on a thought. Those actions are how we are defined by the outside world. There is a saying they goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” If those actions are driven by thought, then it’s very important to watch what we think.
Your life can be transformed by what you think. If you are a Christian then it already has been. God changes how we live by changing how we think. If you listen to people give their testimony, what they’re really saying is, “I’m not who I was thanks to God.” Romans 12:2 tells us how God changes our lives. It says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. (NLT)” God transforms our thoughts and the byproduct is a changed life.
If you’re in need of changing your life from the way it is right now, pray and ask God to change how you think. You can ask God to change how you think about a person, a situation or even a past hurt. If your thoughts about those things are keeping you up or are causing you to act in a way that you don’t want to, God can help you change by changing how you think. You don’t have to be defined by your reactions to past hurts or people.
If God cares enough to change who you were when He saved you, then He cares enough to help you change how you act now. The transformation He makes in us wasn’t a one time event. It was designed to be continuous throughout your life. Philippians 1:6 says, “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (NLT)” God hasn’t stopped His transformation of you. He will continue it. Give Him permission to continue transforming who you are and how you act by transforming how you think. Salvation was just the beginning of that transformation God wants to do in our lives.