A friend of mine and I were discussing last night (And an awesome Christian friend he is!) what I had written in my blog last night. He reminded me that it was an interesting idea, but is there anything to back it yet? That will take more thinking, but he also wasn’t sure how to apply it to his life. I thought as I went to bed that thought came to me. I had thought of the application, but in my excitement with a new theory, I lost track of recording it.
As a man thinks in his heart, so shall he be. What we eventually download into our thought life effects who we are. Consider the child who grows up abused. He is constantly told he is no good and constantly shown that. What happens eventually? He will sadly most often believe it.
What does this mean? It means that if we are to change our actions, we need to change our thoughts. We will act based on what we believe is true. If I believe that car heading down the street will hurt me if it hits me, I will not be likely to cross the street in front of it. If I believed I was a magical being and the car would pass through me, I would probably go ahead and cross.
I believe this has sadly happened to a lot of ladies for instance. I meet a number who I think are quite beautiful and I’m stunned as they look at themselves and don’t think they are. I ponder that probably many guys could relate to that. It seems the things most obvious about other people to us are the things they miss. (My friends are hoping I follow my own advice here.)
This is why we preach the gospel and encourage one another. The more people are told such things, the more they will be overwhelmed by the evidence and have to accept it. How different the church would be if it would learn to encourage its own instead of being the organization that shoots its own wounded.
How else can we apply this? Let’s consider the case of a young man struggling with lust. (And what young man hasn’t, this writer included) What can we tell him to get his thought life under control? Tell him not to think about sexual intercourse or girls? What will that result be? You go on and try it. Try for the next ten minutes not to think about a pink elephant. It won’t work.
Cold showers and such? Those are only temporary solutions. I’m not against getting a porn blocker or something, but the problem is not just with the external world. It’s with the internal world. The young man needs to have his heart changed to a proper attitude about women.
I will not forget one thing that did help me in my learning to deal with and control desire. It was being in love. It took true love to take care of the false love. It’s the same in any situation. Truth is the best way to deal with falsehood. When I was in love, being lustful was just unthinkable.
Let us suppose that we take a Muslim in the Middle East who is Anti-Semitic and wants to destroy Israel and has nothing but hate for the Jews. What is the way to change that? To love a Jew. I would say that the best one for him to start with is Christ. It has been said the only way to stop terrorism is to convert Muslims to Jesus Christ. I agree wholeheartedly. We can contain the threat some, but the only way to end it is to change the heart and that is conversion.
And this is the way to change our hearts ultimately. We must think of that which is true. What is more true than the one who said he is the truth? If it is true that as a man thinks in his heart, so shall he be, then the more that we do think like Christ, the more like him we shall be.
Of course, this doesn’t negate that we follow the other commands of encouraging and preaching the gospel to one another, but for our own selves, we can gain more by thinking on Christ. Being in love can provide one happiness because one loses one’s self in another in constant thought about the other. So should it be with the one we are devoted to. Ironically, the more we lose ourselves in him, the more we find ourselves. What we really lose is not ourselves. He keeps us and takes all that isn’t us.
Ben Witherington ends his blogs saying “Think on these things.” It’s a good ending. I’d end this one saying “Think on this Christ.”