What Are You Thinking?
If there is one thing that I remember from my teenage years, it is this truth that was constantly repeated by my youth pastor: Watch your THOUGHTS; they become FEELINGS. Watch your FEELINGS; they become ACTIONS. Watch your ACTIONS; they become HABITS. Watch your HABITS; they become your LIFESTYLE.
You can see someone who has a lifestyle of laziness. Perhaps their appearance is slovenly, they are unmotivated to work, and always have financial worries. They are unsuccessful in relationships (it’s always everyone else’s fault), in career (jumping from job to job, and again, it’s always the employer’s fault), and just generally seem to be unhappy people. That lifestyle did not just happen. It came about because they built some bad habits in their life, and those habits came because of actions that they repeatedly took, and they did those actions because of the way they were feeling, which all goes back to what they were thinking about. Really, you can say that your thinking will determine who you are!
It’s not just the “power of positive thinking.” It’s learning to identify what you are thinking, compare it to truth (God’s Word is truth, according to John 17:17), and adjust your thinking to be in line with what God wants for you. In fact, the Holy Spirit said it best in 2 Corinthians 10:5: “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.”
In our example above, I can guarantee that person with a lifestyle of laziness started with some wrong thoughts, perhaps even as a child or teenager. Maybe those thoughts were regarding their self-worth (“I’m not very lovable or good at doing anything.”), responsibility (“It is everyone else’s fault that I have problems in my life.”), or expectations (“The person I marry is going to take care of all my problems.”). All of these are thoughts that can bring about feelings – the bane of a female’s existence sometimes! – and if acted upon, can land someone in a lot of trouble. However, each of these thoughts could be recognized and counter-balanced with Scripture.
- When I think, “I’m not very lovable,” I should remember that Jesus Christ loved me so much that He died on the cross just for me. He paid the greatest price out of love for me, so how can I sit around pitying myself? I can be so happy serving Him and following His plan for my life! He has my best interest in mind!
- When I think, “It’s everyone else’s fault that I have problems,” I need to first take a look at my own heart. It is just the nature of being human, to have problems. We live in a sinful world with consequences all around us. Just our deteriorating bodies are evidence of the sin curse! But the biggest problem is not everyone else, but my own sin problem. It is usually my own attitude that drives others away from me, and I am the only person who can change my attitude.
- When I think, “The person I marry is going to take care of all my problems,” I’m sure that all the married people are just chuckling to themselves! The truth is that marriage is a lot of hard work, and brings its own new set of responsibilities into a person’s life. Yes, there is great joy in marriage and it is a blessing from God, but the bottom line is that a marriage is still made up of two sinners with their own problems. Trusting in another person, with their own set of problems, to take care of all my problems is just foolishly setting myself up for disappointment.
Friend, what are you thinking today? Do you find yourself overwhelmed with feelings? Often when we are feeling overwhelmed, moody, depressed, and defeated, it’s a good sign that we have some pattern of wrong thinking going on. Take a few moments to identify what you are thinking about. Do those thoughts line up with God’s truth? If not, you need to change what you are thinking before you make some wrong decisions. Take control of your thoughts, and you will take control of your life!