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.
Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but Let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.Romans 12:2 (GNT)
One of Brian Tracy’s psychological laws is the Law of Correspondence. It states that your outer world will always be a reflection of your inner world. Your demeanor, actions and reactions are indicative of what’s going on inside your mind. Jesus put it this way, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)” Whatever is going on in your heart and mind shows up in your words and actions. That’s why you can often look at someone and know there is something wrong going on with them.
We try to cover up our hurt, our insecurities, our fears and sins, but they always seem to find a way to the surface. We can try to change our actions, but those on,y last for a little while. Ben Franklin carried a book with him in which he wrote down his vices. He tried to keep track of what he did, when he did it and what triggered it. Then he would do everything in his power to not repeat those things. What he found was that he could only do it for so long before other vices popped up. He was trying to control an inside problem with an outside mechanism.
Because we judge each other based on external actions, we often try to control our own external actions so as not to be judged. The problem is that we can’t do it for very long either before something else pops up. That’s why God doesn’t deal so much with our actions as He does with our heart. He knows that our external actions and sins are a result of what’s going on inside of us. He doesn’t deal with the fruit of the problem, He deals with the root.
Romans 12:2 tells us that God wants to transform our minds so that we won’t conform to the ways of the world. When we allow God to transform our heart and mind, we begin to act differently than before. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any person is in Christ, he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old previous moral and spiritual condition has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new one has come! (AMP)” God takes away our old way of thinking and puts in us a new mind that wants to do things his way.
If you’ve accepted Christ, but are still struggling with actions that are in conflict with how He wants you to live, pray and ask God to transform your mind. Give Him permission to come in and change your inner world so that your outer world will be a direct reflection of who He wants you to be. Scripture says that man looks at outward appearances (actions too), but God looks at the heart (mind too). He is more concerned with what’s going on inside than outside. It’s important that we stop trying to control our actions as Ben Franklin tried to do and to allow God to change our actions through the renewing and transforming of our hearts and minds.
The Bible talks a lot about what we think because God understands the power of our thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Our thoughts determine who we are and how we act. Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. (GNB)” Another version wrote that same verse, “More than anything you guard, protect your mind. (CEB)” Solomon understood the importance of our thoughts and wanted those who read his writings to understand it as well.
Brian Tracy’s Law of Concentration states that whatever you dwell upon grows. If you worry a lot, then those thoughts will snowball and continue to grow. The things you think the most about take the center stage in your life. They control your schedule, your mood, your attitude, your actions and so much more. We often let our minds dwell on something for so long that it grows into an obsession. There was a time when I couldn’t get enough of the news. At home, I had my 24 hour news channel on and in my car, I had new radio. When I realized it was controlling my actions and mood, I had to break free.
Brian Tracy also teaches the Law of Substitution that says, “The conscious mind can only hold one thought at a time.” It can be a positive thought or a negative thought. I am the one who chooses what I think about. I am the gatekeeper. As Solomon said, I have to be careful of how I think. I cannot allow thoughts of worry overrun my mind. I cannot permit thoughts that are detrimental to my faith and family to stay in my mind. I cannot entertain thoughts and ideas that are contrary to God’s Word. I must consciously substitute those thoughts for the thoughts that lead me down God’s paths.
Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Fill your mind with things that are good and deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and honorable. (GNB)” The way I fill my mind with those things is to force myself to think about them when the other thoughts come in. I must protect my mind if I’m going to protect my actions. I have to constantly watch each and every thought that enters my mind and learn how to push out the thoughts that are detrimental to who I am in Christ and to replace them with the thoughts that feed who I am in Him. According to that first scripture I shared, I become what I think about.
Food for thought: Who do you want to be? What thoughts are detrimental to being that person? What thoughts can you replace them with? You can change who you are by changing what you think.