“We become what we think about. A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.” —Marcus Aurelius
“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” —James Allen
“Thought is the parent of the deed.” —Thomas Carlyle
The above quotes echo Solomon’s words: “Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life” (Prv 4:23).
Countless examples prove the statement true—and countless people think they’re the exception and keep walking close to the edge of the cliff. Whether you believe it or not, you will eventually become on the outside what you think on the inside.
As the old saying has it, “You may not be what you think you are; but what you think, you are.”
Polluted thoughts sunk ancient civilization’s boat. “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. . . . So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind . . . from the face of the earth’” (Gen 6:5, 7). And, except for Noah’s family, he did.
Covid-19 scared the daylights out of us. As never before in our lifetime, we became aware that what gets inside us can kill us. Likewise, a thought-virus that gets inside your brain can be spiritually fatal.
Everything that happens has its beginning in thought: plans are mapped there; words are formulated there; actions are birthed there. Jesus said: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Mt 15:19).
I live in an apartment complex that has trash pickup. There are rules: trash must be in a tied garbage bag, placed inside a designated receptacle, and left outside your front door between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. Ignore the rules, and trash either takes over your apartment or piles up on your porch. Either way, it stinks.
If you have garbage accumulating in your mind, bag it and dispose of it, or you’ll soon be living in a self-made pigpen. You don’t have to let trash take over your mind. You have another option: “Take every thought captive to make it obey Christ” (2 Cor 10:5).
Today won’t leave you as it found you. You will end the day better or worse than when you began it. What you think about will be the determining factor. What you feed on today will change you.
You won’t be the same after you read a particular thing, watch a particular program, or think a particular thought. If what you’re reading, watching, or thinking is feeding your brain unwholesome thoughts, it’s time to change the channel, trash the text, or throttle the thought.
You can hide your thoughts from people—even those closest to you—but you can’t hide them from God or yourself. You can do and say things that deceive people—even those closest to you—and even from yourself, but not from God. Psalm 139 acknowledges El Roi—“the God who sees”—the One who knows everything there is to know about you. “O Lord, you have searched me and you know me . . . you perceive my thoughts.” He knows every image, vision, or fantasy that crosses your mind.
Our thoughts lead us to places that are often tantalizingly appealing, temporarily satisfying—and unless we master them, fiendishly controlling.
If you find yourself in a bad place and wonder, “How did I get here?” look at Proverbs 4:23–27—it will tell you exactly how it happened.