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4. Control Thoughts

 

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.  (Phil. 4:8)
 
 

*There is so much to say about this list of things to meditate on, I'm planning on having this list as a theme in the near future, so what is said on this page will be limited.  
 
 

 

 Thoughts Affect Actions
 
Thoughts react powerfully on the character. A sinful thought, brought again and again before the mind, strengthens the natural tendency of the will to evil and leads to the sinful deed. Therefore the thoughts must be disciplined and brought into captivity to the law of Christ. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." Here is the hardest battle of the Christian life; to govern the thoughts there is need of constant watchfulness and persevering prayer.  -selected

Actions Affect Thought

Jacob is a good example of actions affecting thinking - after living for many years with deceiving others and being deceived, it had an impact on Jacob's thinking.

  • Instead of sharing his stew with his hungry brother, Jacob tempts Esau, in his weakness, to barter stew for his birthright. 
  • Jacob steals Esau's blessing by deception.
  • Jacob was deceived by Laban and received Leah for a wife instead of Rachel.
  • Jacob worked hard to get all he could from Laban, as Laban had deceived him for years.
  • Rachel stole Laban's household idols when they left his home. 

As Jacob went back to his father's land, how did his past experience with deception affect his thinking in regards to meeting Esau again? 

  • Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him." So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies. And he said, "If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the other company which is left will escape." (Gen 32:6-8)
  • But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. (Gen 33:4)

Even faithful servants of God can fall into patterns of bad habits and sin. If we don't change our thinking, our bad habits and quick judgments of others will continue. If we think bad of others, we will believe they think bad of us. If we mistreat others, we will always be on guard for mistreatment. If we deceive others, we will always believe we are being deceived.

On the other hand, if we think good about others and treat them fairly, we won't worry about what they are thinking about us. If we are positive and grateful, we will have peace inwardly and display it outwardly in kindness. 

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God hates evil thoughts against others: These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace; Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; And do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,' Says the LORD." (Zec 8:16-17)

Guard your thoughts: Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil. (Pro 4:23-27)

Thinking on the Lord's instruction brings peace: The Lord knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile. Blessed is the man whom You instruct, O Lord, And teach out of Your law, that You may give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit is dug for the wicked. (Psa 94:11-13)

How are we training our children to think? Your thinking will become their thinking. Are you careful about the food they eat but not so much the thoughts that they are being fed and how much time they spend on these thoughts? They watch you and learn. A great amount of time spent on empty thoughts, thoughts on self, and stressful thinking will not train them to be at peace with themselves or with others.
 
 

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In our children's daily living with entertainment, home life, friendships, social interactions, and their own view of self, let's make sure we are directing their thinking to things that are noble - to whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, to virtuous thinking and praiseworthy thoughts. Let's teach our children to be peaceful people, outwardly and inwardly.

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July 2017