The Power of Thought

If we profess to be true Christians, we are duty-bound to continuously examine ourselves—purifying our lives as we draw closer to God. We know that we are accountable not only for our actions but also for our thoughts. Both our actions and the content of our thoughts must be pure; however, our self-examination must not stop here. How we think is just as important as what we think.

We’ve all heard the famous credo, “I think therefore I am.” This applies to Christians as well.

We must realize that true spirituality comes first from our thought process. Therefore, we must consider both what we are thinking about and how we are using our thoughts. From our inward thoughts, we move towards outward action. We formulate something in our mind and ultimately find ourselves doing it.

Romans 1:21 tells us:

“Because when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were they thankful, but became vain in their imaginations [thoughts] and their foolish heart was darkened.”

We see that they knew God—they had no excuse. However, in their inward thinking they became stupid:

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools… Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.” (Romans 1:22, 24)

Notice the order of occurrence. First, the idea came to mind, followed by the action. In verse 25, we see they changed the truth about God into a lie and worshipped the created rather than the Creator.

Notice verse 28, here we see that same order again: thoughts came first, followed by actions.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind [a mind hardened in sin] to do those things which are not convenient.” (Romans 1:28)

The apostle Paul warns us not to be conformed to the things of this world. Instead, we should be transformed by the renewing of our minds—from the inside. Ephesians 4:17 states that we must not walk as the Gentiles (unbelievers) in the vanity of the mind. We see this is the wrong walk to take because our actions begin first with our thoughts. The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis is a perfect example of this.

Joseph’s brothers were much older than him; yet, they envied and hated him. Their actions were all based on their thoughts about Joseph. We see the results of inward hatred manifested as outward actions. They were willing, if need be, to murder Joseph and lie to their aging father that wild beasts had killed him.

We also see this same thought process played out in the story of Adam and Eve. They knew God in a very personal way, even talking to Him face-to-face. Nevertheless, when their thoughts turned to Satan, they doubted their Creator. They pondered what Satan had said to them and in their thinking they rejected God and believed Satan. Their actions proved this when they disobeyed God, which became known as the point at which humans fell. Interestingly, the description of Satan’s rebellion is presented but we see another scenario regarding this story:

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14)

Where did all this come from? Historically, we know God created Lucifer as a perfect being—he had everything going for him. When God created the angels, He gave them free will, and with this, obviously, comes the freedom of choice between obedience and disobedience. It might have taken millions of years, but Satan must have thought about his own potential as God’s creation and, unfortunately, aspired to be more powerful than God. Ultimately, his thoughts moved him to engage in action.

With one third of the heavenly hosts (Revelation 12:4) Satan challenged God and was defeated and cast out of heaven to the Earth (Revelation 12:9). Satan himself was the originator of what we presently see being played out in mankind’s thought process: first the thought, then the action. Sadly, this kind of thinking originally led Satan to reject God’s authority. Consequently, mankind has followed in this same direction throughout history.

In light of all these examples, what should our thought processes be? Clearly, we should try to have a mind like that of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)

Christ’s own thought process was to do the will of His Father. He gave up His glory to take on the nature of a servant to die for our sins, as willed by His Father. Knowing this should cause us to strive to be as humble as Jesus Christ; in so doing, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Instead, we will be motivated to seek, serve, and worship the Eternal in spirit and in truth which will help us to control our thoughts.

In summary, if we are to walk the Christian path that leads to our Crown of Glory, we must nurture this inward thought process to the end. God expects us to cast down thinking that exalts itself above Him and to restrict every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

We can be encouraged to know our salvation can be anticipated thanks to the shed blood of God’s only begotten Son, who faithfully obeyed the will of His Father.

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