gets its start in the heart.”
Matthew 15:18 (MSG)
Don’t ya just love the way The Message version of the Bible says things sometimes? It’s almost like a great rap lyric or commercial slogan or a saying on a magnet that you want to hang on your fridge. Okay, okay, it may seem like I’m making light of this verse, but I really think it packs a punch. In fact, it hits me right between the eyes!
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the power of what I think. I know that what I think doesn’t just stay in my brain like radio static. Once I dwell on it, consider it or mull it over, it seems to take on a life of its own.
So I’ve decided I’m going to ask myself a question whenever one of those run-away-train thoughts courses through my brain: Will this help me or hurt me? Sure that sounds easy, but it’s really quite tricky because we can rationalize away our thought-life. For example:
You might reason that to go “window shopping” won’t hurt you . . .
But if you know that you might give in to the temptation to buy something you don’t have the money for, then suddenly that idle shopping trip can take a big hit to your budget.
You might decide that to think about how miserable you are with your boss won’t hurt you and might even relieve some frustration . . .
But if you feel worse about him after you’ve ruminated all day on his badness, then before you know it, you won’t be able to stand him or even look him in the eye.
You might feel that dreaming about your good-looking co-worker only passes the time and actually puts you in a good mood . . .
But if you start having feelings for that same guy, even though you have a ring on your finger, then in a flash you’re tormented by a frustrating fantasy life or you’re breaking your vows because you decided to make your fantasy a reality.
Thoughts are powerful. They “get their start in the heart.” And they never remain limited to the confines of our brains. If they’re left unattended, like little gremlins, they will always find a way out.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)