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Monday, August 22, 2011

Your Actions Will Follow Your Thoughts

Velcro is a wonder. It has allowed us to hang pictures, keep our iPods in place and gather all the wires together in the back of our stereos. 

Teflon has revolutionized much cooking. Our eggs don't stick. Our pancakes are delivered in one piece. Bacon does not need to scraped from the frying pan.

People have and need to have a combination of both of these marvels. We just need to make sure that we have the right marvel at the right time.

For example, we need to be teflon when someone hurts us. We need to forgive and go on with our lives. Holding onto a hurt does us no good.

On the other hand, we need to be velcro in holding onto a relationship. We should not be fair-weather friends who will leave people at the drop of a hat. 

Problems are increased when a person doesn't know when to be velcro and when to be teflon. In fact, problems will be acerbated when a person is too one or the other. 

A purely teflon person cannot stick to the things worth sticking to. He slides into and out of church, into and out of relationships, into and out of commitments, etc. No one can count on him because nothing seems to stick.

A purely velcro person hangs onto every bad habit, every hurt and every fear. He may be very predictable but not for good. He cannot let go of things which are hurting him or others.

The key is being velcro or teflon when you need to be. The question must be: Is what I am facing something (or someone) that I need to stick to or let slide by? Which of my actions will hurt me and/or others? Is what I am doing leading me toward things that are good or bad?

Sometimes it is hard to make an accurate assessment on your own. You may need a velcro friend who will give you advice. This person needs to be able to share honestly with you. This person needs to have a godly perspective. This person needs to help you begin thinking in a different way.

Sticking with wrong things follows wrong thoughts. Leaving behind wrong things follows wrong thoughts. The converse is true as well. Sticking with right things follows right thoughts. Right thoughts make you better. They allow you to go on when things want to stick. They allow you to stick when things want to leave.

I was driving by a school this morning and remembered a teacher who teaches there. She gave her life to Christ and gave every indication that she would follow the Lord. I haven't seen her in church for some time. She had such great potential but she missed two things. She did not stick to others within the church to hold her accountable and take care of her when things got tough. She re-stuck herself to her old patterns in life. I can't read minds but I know that it takes a thought to get us to an action. Changing our thinking is the best way to change our actions.

So, how are you thinking right now? Notice I didn't say "what" are you thinking. That's important too but what you are thinking will also follow how you are thinking. Are you thinking so that things will improve in your life or stick you in a rut that is not easy to climb out of? 

You must change your thinking if you are to change your life.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) 
8 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. 

1 comment:

Anthony chia said...

Hi Prentis,

I like your Velcro and Teflon metaphors. Well put.

Indeed, our actions follow from our thoughts. Often, when Scriptures talked about the heart and the mind, they were NOT referring to the biological pump and the physical brain!

The heart often refers to the very seat of the soul, and the mind, that which is part of the soul, the reason or intellect, which is part of the elements of the soul. The major elements of the soul included, reason, emotion, and desire or passion which together made up the personality (The real you is NOT referring to the physical you, but the soul). That is why there is such a phrase as "the thoughts of the heart".

Proverbs 4:23 - "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." The NLT translation puts it this way: "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life."

Before God sent the Great Flood, this was recorded of what God said (Gen 6:5) - "The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the THOUGHTS OF HIS HEART {cap, mine} was only evil all the time."

David's warning/advice to his son Solomon (1 Chr 28:9 - "... for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts."

Well, in New Testament, the picture of thoughts from the heart can be seen also, for eg. Matt 15:19 - "For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander." Luke 2:35 - "so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”" Heb 4:12 - "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

In recent times, there has been a lot of talk of the need of the mind being renewed or transformed (Rom 12:2), without clearly explaining what is meant by the “mind”. It is definitely NOT pure mental ascent. It cannot be, for these verses tell us of what God looks at: 1 Sam 16:7 – “…The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” Matt 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Anthony Chia, high.expressions
PS: By the way, the "think" (logizomai {G3049}) in Phil 4:8, is more of reckon inward, impute, internalise or meditate and receive it in, than merely "thinking".