MASTERING THE THOUGHT LIFE
|Text: "Keep thy heart with all
diligence, for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23),
"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" (2 Corinthians 10:5).
In order to bring every thought into captivity we have to labor. It will involve discipline and determination, but that is a requirement for mastering our thought life.
The word "heart" is used more than 800 times in the Old Testament. More than 200 of those passages deals with the thought life; not merely intelligence, but the emotions; the wellsprings of life, that which motivates and moves us.
It is equivalent to what the New Testament calls the "mind". So we could interpret it as, Guard your mind or your thought life with all perservering discipline, for out of it are the issues (radiant health) of life.
Therefore, we need to pay close attention to what kind of thoughts we download into our minds.
According to Solomon, your thought life controls the rest of your life - "out of it are the issues of life".
Coupled with the above verse, Proverbs 23:7 makes it more enlightening: "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Our thought life dominates and shapes our attitudes; whether positive or negative, good or bad. Our attitudes are the sum total of our thoughts. Why? Because our attitudes lead to action. Watch Out! Our thoughts are the Father of the deed. So the heart (thought life) leads to the attitude and the attitude leads to action and the action leads to the achievement.
The achievements of our life are going to be the sum total of our thought. An anonymous author wrote:
It all begins with the thought life.
This is so important to our life. Genesis 6:5-7 we read where God destroyed an entire civilization, simply because they had problems with their thought life.
"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, ..........." (Genesis 6:5-7).
The flood of Noah's day was because of man's thoughts that had effected man's heart. Note the word continually. This was a constant flow of evil negative thoughts.
It is true today. Sometimes the heart of our problem is the thought problem. The thoughts affect our heart. The Scripture expands on this in the New Testament. "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be...."(Matt. 24:37). God saw that the thoughts, the evil imaginations of men's hearts ultimately lead to certain degradation.
When God prepares to mold us and motivate us; He does it by changing how we think. Romans 12:2 gives us the method that God uses to assist us as we are molded into his image. Romans 12:2, "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." When God prepares to mold a person; He does it by changing how that person thinks. God changes us by changing our thought processes. He does this by the means of the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is a fierce battle being waged for the control of our minds. God wants our minds to be His sanctuary. The enemy desires it to be a cesspool. The Lord longs for us to present our heart and mind thoroughly to Him. He instructed the Pharisees in Matthew 22:37, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul and with all thy mind."
It is said that fifteen college professors took this challenge: "If all the books on the art of moving human beings into action, were condensed down into one brief statement, what would that statement be?"
The result of their deliberation was:
The Lord longs for us to present our heart and mind thoroughly to Him; along with our thought patterns.