Mastery of the Thought Life, Part 2

Text: Proverbs 4:23-27, "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth and perverse lips put far from thee. Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil."

 

Review:
The word "heart" is used more than 800 times in the Old Testament. More than 200 of those times it deals with the thought life: not merely intelligence, but emotions; the wellsprings of life, that which motivates us and moves us.

In the New Testament it is referred to as the "mind". So Proverbs 4:23 could just as easily read, ""Keep your mind, keep your thought life with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

Guard your thoughts. Be careful what is allowed to be put in your mind. Carefully select what enters into your mind every moment of the day.

Your thought life shapes your attitudes. Your attitudes leads to action and eventually your actions determine your character.

In this passage, Proverbs 4:23-27, Solomon was instructing his son, "Son, guard your life of thoughts. Protect your thought patterns. Be careful what is allowed to travel through your mind." He is painting a picture of your mind being a battleground between God and your enemy - Satan. 

How are you going to be able to conquer evil, lustful, erring thoughts which rob God of His glory and praise? In order to think pure thoughts, you have to carefully control what enters your mind. 

The context of this particular passage concerns the sexual affairs of a young man and Solomon is warning his son not to allow impure, immoral thoughts into his heart and life.. This verse is pleading for the son to guard his mind and Solomon continues the whole train of thought in Proverbs, chapter 5. Chapter 5 speaks of the heartbreak of immorality.

In today's world we call these concepts pornography. In times past pornography was considered a horrible sin. Unfortunately, in today's world it is becoming acceptable. However, it is a stepping stone for worse traps and degradation. Certain people will tell you, "Oh, what you see doesn't effect you." Businesses that advertise their wares know better. They spend millions of dollars to present their product whether it be good or corrupt. In fact, we are told that for advertising on the Super Bowl a company will spend as much as 1.2 million dollars for a minute of advertising. They know that what you see will affect you and ultimately change you or your mind.

When corrupt thoughts are downloaded into your mind through the eye gate it will have an affect on the emotions and change the heart. It does matter what your eyes view. Our eyes are gates into our souls The devil is uncannily clever. He realizes if he can change what you think, he can change how you behave.. That is the reason he is channeling trash into homes via television. As someone has said, "This is the devils LSD - lust - sin - death.

The secret to the mastery of the thought life is found in the three verses of Proverbs that immediately precede Solomon's warning - "keep your heart with all diligence." Solomon has the remedy for how it is done: Proverbs 4:20-23, ""My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings, Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all thy flesh." In other words, in order for one not to think bad thoughts, you must think God's thoughts.

A Powerful principle: God made you where you cannot think two things at the same time. You can choose your thought life like you choose your friends

You can replace bad thoughts with good thoughts. You cannot resist bad thoughts, that just reinforces them. A Scripture that is misconstrued is in James 4: 7,".......resist the devil and he will flee from you." Many only quote a piece of what James is saying. Let's look at the whole verse.

James 4:7, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."  

I like the way the Amplified Bible says it, "Be subject unto God, be firm against the devil, resist him and he will flee from you."

That gives us the remedy - be obedient to God and then you will have the strength by God's Word and His Holy Spirit to do the resisting.

There are three ways in particular that the devil will use to change how you think:

Enticement
Environment
Entertainment

Enticement will be used by exposing you to certain things and people to change your way of thinking which is contrary to the Scriptures list in Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."

Environment -the devil will use to lure you to places and settings that promote a mind-set contrary to the principles of the Word of God listed in Philippians 4:8

Everything that Paul lists emanates from the work of the mind as the Holy Spirit renews the thought processes. Filling our mind with God's Word gives the Holy Spirit tools to work in us.

Entertainment-is one of Satan's primary entry points to changing the thoughts. What the eyes view can definitely have an affect on the thought patterns in the mind.

God desires to minister to you and through you in the thought life. When your thought life is right, there are at least three things it will do for you. All three are found in Proverbs 4:23-27.

First, the Word will govern your speech. Verse 24 - Put away a false and dishonest speech  and perverse lips or contrary talk.

Second, it will guard your sight. Verse 25 - your eyes look with a fixed purpose and your gaze is straight before you 

Third, it will guide your steps. Verse 26-27 - Consider well the path of your feet and remove your feet from evil.

This is a wonderful ministry of the mind. The Word of God will govern your speech, guard your eyes, and guide your steps

If you are having difficulty in a particular area with your thought life, you need to take the following steps:

Repent - of sin of allowing those thoughts to enter and remain.
Release - pray a prayer of release (See Strongholds study guide).
Replace - make a choice to replace those thoughts with the Truth of God's Word.

Note: Problems in your thought life can become "strongholds" in your spiritual life. Read the study guide "Pulling Down Strongholds." The lesson will help you to be an overcomer.

 

 

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