Bruce Collins, Evangelist

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How is my Thinking Coming Along?

Meditation for the week of August 29, 2010

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. "Eat and drink!" he says to you, But his heart is not with you.

We often hear that we are what we eat.  We also hear that we are what we think.  I am glad that neither is always true.   I know people who eat a lot of beef and they don’t look like cows (I might be the exception).   I know people who struggle with bad thoughts who would never do some of things that go through their minds.  While I do believe that there is a great link between how we think and how we act, I am glad that not every bad thought becomes a bad action.  This verse is really saying that a miser is a hypocrite.  If he is feeding you, he will tell you to eat up, but in his heart he will think you are a glutton if you do.  As he thinks (not as he says), so is he. 

Even though we don’t always become what we think, we do need to “discipline” our thinking.  Our thinking should be occupied with spiritual things not with earthly  things.  In Colossians 3:2, Paul tells us to,  “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”  In Philippians 4:8 he reminds us to think about right things.  “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.” 

The public media news is usually bad news.  Good news doesn’t sell cereal.  Even the religious news outlets are usually dealing with what is wrong rather than with what is right.  So when we watch the news we are going to be encouraged to think wrong thoughts, not right thoughts.  I believe in staying informed so that when I preach the Gospel, I can do it intelligently.  But I do believe that I need to be careful to not let the news control my thinking and my subsequent actions.

Our friends greatly influence our thinking.  Paul tells us that "Evil company corrupts good habits  (1 Corinthians 15:33)."  The company that we keep will greatly affect how we think and act.  Because we are all sheep (Isaiah 53:6), the leaders we respect will also greatly influence what we think and say and do.  We really need to ask ourselves if our friends and mentors are the kind of people we want to be.  Do they think like and act like the Lord Jesus?  If not, we need to be careful in our relationship with them so that we do not become like them. 

We know that before we were saved we all thought wrong thoughts.  Our thoughts were not God’s thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).  When we became “believers” we were “born again or from above (John 3:7).”  Salvation is not about reformation but about regeneration or new life.  The moment we were saved the Holy Spirit entered and began conforming us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).  One of the reasons that we can be sure that we are saved is that the Bible tells us so.  Why did we not comprehend that before we were saved?  The Bible didn’t change, but we did.  Once the Holy Spirit “sealed” us (Ephesians 1:13), He was able to use the Word to assure us that we are saved. 

How can we discipline our minds so that we act in a Christ-like way  and so that we can be at “peace” and not always be distraught in this life?  First, we will need to be sure that we are saved so that the Holy Spirit can teach us.  Then we will need to spend time thinking about the Lord who represents all the characteristics found in Philippians 4:8.  He is true, honest,  just, pure, lovely of good report, virtuous and praise worthy.  Thinking about men will not cause us to think right even though they may have many good characteristics.  Thinking about current events will only disturb us.  Associating with those who are “earthly minded” rather than “heavenly minded” or perhaps “spiritually minded”  will not help us discipline our minds.

We cannot keep from thinking in wrong ways about wrong things.  However, we can drive out the habitual bad thinking by replacing it with habitual good thinking.  The company that we keep, the material we read, and the leaders that we follow will all greatly affect our ability to discipline our thinking.

Bruce Collins

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