James Clavell has observed, “To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort.”
We all have the potential for thinking good thoughts or bad thoughts. Jesus tells us that, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Unfortunately, as Paul tells us, it is like there is a war within us for control of our mind, and evil inclinations tend to win. Paul admitted, “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” The mind has great potential for evil, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, and slander.”
It would appear then that thoughts tend to obey the law of gravity. Left to ourselves, as James Clavell observes, our thoughts tend to drift downwards. When we don’t resist this tendency we become like those in the time of Noah: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
We need to change the way we think. We need to think and talk of good things, virtuous acts, godly ideals. We need to make the effort to lift our thoughts above the mundane and lowly levels that are the natural tendency. David observed, “The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile.” His son, Solomon agreed when he said, “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, but the words of the pure are pleasant.”Obviously it requires a pure thought to speak pleasant words.
It is impossible to say a word without first thinking it. One of the reasons why I have never said a bad word in either Norwegian or Portuguese is because I do not know any words in these languages. I cannot speak a word that I have never thought. We have to learn to think before we can speak and if we would only learn to think the right kinds of thoughts then the words we speak will be pure too. Solomon considered the thoughts of man and said, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
We know the Lord knows our thoughts before we think them, and He knows what we do before we do it. As David puts it, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; you understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.”
We need to be constantly reminded that God is viewing our inmost thoughts so that we will guard not only our words but our thoughts also.
Isaiah bases a call to action on how differently God thinks from how we think: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
If we want to learn how God thinks, then we need to go to His book and read His thoughts. Then we can say with David, “How precious to me are thy thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” Let us fill our minds with the words of the spirit in the Bible so that we can say with David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!”
He does know our thoughts. He has searched our hearts. He knows what we think. Let us then resolve to go against the law of gravity in our mind and pull our thoughts up to think about those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report. Paul advises us to “think on these things.”
We can’t leave our thoughts to go their own way, for they will only spiral downward. Using effort and discipline let us resolve to lift our thoughts up to our Heavenly Father who observes all we think and say and do.
“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” If we truly have the mind of Christ then we can say with David, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”
Robert J. Lloyd