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Monday, September 12, 2016

My Life Is Shaped By My Thoughts

In review of Proverbs 4:23 it says, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts”

Bottom Line:
Guard your thoughts, for they influence what you do.

What this means to me:
Above everything else, I am to carefully guard my thoughts, for they will influence and determine the course of my life.

Today's passage comes from Proverbs 4 which is filled with a father's wise advice. In this tidbit of a verse, I am encouraged to guard my heart above everything else, for it will determine the course my life will take.

From what I can tell, God is far more interested in changing my mind than in changing my circumstances.

Of course, I’d rather that God to take away all of the problems, pain, sorrow, suffering, sickness, and sadness. But what I’m learning is that God wants to work on me first, because transformation won’t happen in my life until I renew my mind, until my thoughts begin to change.

Here are three reasons I’m learning regarding the importance of managing my mind:

First, because my thoughts control my life. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (TEV). The power of my thoughts has tremendous ability to shape my life for good or for bad. For example, maybe I accept the thought someone told me when I was growing up, “I’m worthless. I don’t matter.” If I accepted that thought, even though it was wrong, it shaped my life.

Second, because the mind is the battleground for sin. All temptation happens in the mind. Paul said in Romans 7:22-23, “I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin” (TLB). Mental fatigue occurs because there’s a battle going on in my brain 24 hours a day. It’s debilitating because it’s intense, and it’s intense because my mind is my greatest asset. Satan wants my greatest asset!

Thirdly, because it’s the key to peace and happiness. An unmanaged mind leads to tension. A managed mind leads to tranquility. An unmanaged mind leads to conflict. A managed mind leads to confidence. An unmanaged mind leads to stress. When I don’t try to control my mind and the way I direct my thoughts, I will have an enormous amount of stress in my life. But a managed mind leads to strength and security and serenity.

Letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace” (Romans 8:6 NLT).

My heart is extremely valuable. And I wouldn’t guard worthless things that are worthless. My heart forms the essence of who I am. It is where all my dreams, desires, and passions live. It is that part of me that connects with God and other people. Since my heart is the source of everything, it overflows into thoughts, words, and actions. I believe this is why it is under constant attack and why Solomon tells me to guard it.

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