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.
Brian Tracy, who is a business consultant and motivational speaker, teaches about many laws of psychology. One of the laws he teaches is the Law of Concentration. It states that whatever you dwell on grows and increases in your life. If you are constantly dwelling on negative things, then negative things will increase in your life. If you dwell on good things, then good things will grow and increase in your life. If we think about things long enough, we’ll look for them. If we look for them, we’ll find them. If we find them, they’ll become part of our life.
As I heard him talk about this law, immediately my mind went to Philippians 4:8. It says, “Friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious – the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” Paul knew the Law of Concentration. He knew that many of us spend our days and sleepless nights thinking about things that are counterproductive to our growth in Christ. He knew the temptation to think on negative things instead of positive things because he dealt with it himself.
Paul must have wrestled with thoughts of unworthiness from a past that caused so much pain to families. He took parents away from young kids and either put them in jail or killed them because they were Christians. I’m sure he suffered many sleepless nights wrestling with the consequences of his past. At some point he had to make a decision to continue worrying about the lives he wrecked or to think on the lives he was changing. He had to force out the negative thoughts that kept him from being a minister and force in thoughts that were positive.
He told us that we’d do best to think on these things listed above. Why? Because he knew if we thought about them and meditated on them, they would grow in our lives. If we want the best things and not the worst to grow, we have to think about them. If we want the beautiful and not the ugly things to surround us, we need to think about the beautiful things. If we want to live a life of praise, then we’ve got to think of praiseworthy things. Our minds can only think on one thing at a time and we get to choose what that is. II Corinthians 10:5 tells us to bring every thought captive and teach them to obey Christ because thoughts are powerful and grow things in our life.
What’s growing in your life? Have you noticed the correlation between that and your thoughts? What do you want to grow in your life? What is one thing you can do today to help you think more about that than the negative things that are growing in your life? Your thoughts not only dictate what grows in your life, but they also dictate your attitude. When you think on the positive things, then the peace of God will reign in your life. Worry, fear, anger, hate and jealousy all have to leave when you think on the things above. They can’t stay around. You have the power to kick them out of your life because you have the power to control what things you dwell on. Think on good things from now on.