Guest writer: Olusegun Akande
We all have dreams we want to turn into reality, but the biggest thing that can hinder us are our thoughts. In order to take control of our lives, we must first learn how to guard our thoughts against negativity.
God built success into your being when He created you; He packaged your life for excellence at the beginning. I believe no one can hinder your destiny if you can take control of one thing – your thoughts.
While taking his son through life lessons, Solomon emphatically warned his son to guard his thoughts more than any other thing. He said, “Above all else, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life” (Proverbs 4:23, ERV). “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (GNB). “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (KJV).
By this instruction, Solomon implies that if you intend to achieve a glorious success in life, if you want to walk with and serve the living God, the first thing to watch is your thoughts. Your inner life is the first place you must direct all your efforts; your mind is the first factory where you must labour.
Your mind is like a farm where seeds are sown and weeds grow on their own. If a farmer neglects his farm, one thing is sure: the weeds will prevail over the seeds and the farmer will have no profit in the end. Solomon said, “I went by the field belonging to a lazy man, by a vineyard belonging to a senseless person. There it was, overgrown with thistles, the ground covered with thorns, its stone wall collapsed. As I observed, I thought about it; I watched, and learned a lesson:” (Proverbs 24:30-32).
A man who fails to guard his mind will become senseless; he will do stupid things. If you neglect your mind, not guarding it with diligence, the result is usually spiritual and moral thistles and thorns – bankruptcy. This is true about many people, even in the Church. When you meet them, what you will quickly observe in them are thorns and thistles. It will dawn on you how their farms had suffered neglect over a long time. Their lives yield little or no profit both to themselves and to God because of evil thoughts.
Our mind produces thoughts; a weak mind produces weak thoughts. Weak thoughts normally contain fear, hatred, malice, doubts, fornication, adultery, violence, fraud, pride, cheat, and all kinds of evil. These elements of weak thoughts are thorns and thistles that produce weak life, a life that cannot fulfill a glorious destiny in God.
When your mind is not guarded, it produces weak thoughts. The Bible says, “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” (Genesis 6:5-6, KJV)
When you think evil thoughts, it grieves the heart of God; Evil thoughts inflict the heart of God with sorrow. The Bible says, “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words” (Proverbs 15:26, ISV). This is why Jesus said, “the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and it is those things that make a person unclean. It is out of the heart that evil thoughts come, as well as murder, adultery, sexual immorality, stealing, false testimony, and slander. These are the things that make a person unclean” (Matthew 15:18-20, ISV).
God does not look the same way we look: we look at the surface of things while God looks into the thoughts behind what everyman does. Even when you do a supposedly religious work, God is never moved until He checks your motive for doing it. God puts this truth to Prophet Samuel when he attempted to anoint Eliab as the next king of Israel.
King David also warned Solomon, “And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever” (1 Chronicles 28:9, KJV).
A man who does not guard his thoughts cannot please God with whatever he does. Religious titles and positions mean nothing to God if He couldn’t find noble thoughts in your heart. Having learnt this divine truth, Solomon also declared: “I know, my God, that you examine hearts and delights in honesty…” (1 Chronicles 29:17, GW). So,instead of evil thoughts, God wants you to cultivate noble thoughts within your heart.
Noble thoughts are the products of a guarded mind. Noble thoughts are excellent moral thoughts. When Jesus started His public ministry, His message was: “Repent, because the kingdom from heaven is near!” (Matthew 4:17, ISV) The word repent simply means to change one’s mind or thought. Jesus didn’t ask people to change their dress or their jobs, but their thoughts. He knows that when the thought is right, everything else will be okay. This is why the Lord said there is joy in heaven over a sinner who repents.
Ability to think is God’s greatest gift to man at creation; it sets man apart from the animals and places him in the class of God. Thinking is one of the reasons man is said to have been created in the image of God. The Bible affirms the truth that man is a spirit, has a soul and lives in a body. God perfectly combines these components together to create you for His own glory.
Thinking processes takes place at the place where both the spirit, soul, and body intersect. This region is called mind or heart; your mind is your thinking box. It is like the brain box of an automobile or the micro processor of a computer.
The human mind has being an object of major concern in the scriptures since the beginning. When man fell into sin, it was the mind that suffered the greatest damage. In Jeremiah 17:9-10, the Bible says, ““The heart is more deceitful than anything. It is incurable— who can know it? I am the LORD who searches the heart, who tests the inner depths to give to each person according to what he deserves, according to the fruit of his deeds” (ISV).
Get A Noble Heart
The natural mind has no capacity to project a thought that will please God, for it is desperately wicked. The thoughts of natural man, no matter how good it appears, always come out with contamination of his nature, the fallen nature. When Jesus addressed His critics, He said, “You children of serpents! How can you say anything good when you are evil? The mouth speaks about what overflows from the heart. A good person brings good things out of a good treasure house, and an evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure house” (Matthew 12:34-35, ISV).
Like Solomon warned his son, Jesus points out here that the mind is the source of destiny. He reveals that your life is determined by what you have in your heart. You can’t mimic good character or noble thoughts; you only need to acquire a noble heart. It is the noble heart that produces noble thoughts and noble character and noble life.
Jesus said, “If you want good fruit, you must make the tree good. If your tree is not good, it will have bad fruit. A tree is known by the kind of fruit it produces” (Matthew 12:33, ERV). The tree refers to your heart or mind. You cannot repair a bad heart; you must replace it with a good one if you will have noble thought and character.
This is what Jesus put to Nicodemus in John chapter three. Jesus hammered it on him the need for him to be born again. Being born again is a miracle that happens to a man when God gives him a new heart, a noble heart.
Meanwhile, receiving a noble heart from God is not an end in itself. God gives the noble heart so you may have strength to think noble thoughts, cultivate noble character, and live a noble life. You must, therefore, find a hoe to continually rid your farm of thorns and thistles.
The Psalmist caught the truth on how to cultivate a noble heart in chapter one. He said, “Blessed is the person who does not follow the advice of wicked people, take the path of sinners, or join the company of mockers. Rather, he delights in the teachings of the LORD and reflects on his teachings day and night. He is like a tree planted beside streams- a tree that produces fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. He succeeds in everything he does” (Psalm 1:1-3, GW).
The wicked people, the path of sinners, the company of mockers – evil thought is the common factor of them all. You ought to make up your mind to flee all the appearances of them all. The only place where you can get the noble thoughts is in the Bible. While concluding his powerful letter to the Philippian Church, apostle Paul strongly warned the believers thus:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—keep thinking about these things” (Philippians 4:8, ISV). Remain blessed as you guard your thoughts against evil!
Segun Akande is Christian writer who has special interest in leadership.
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