How Do You Think?

August 4, 2012

How Do You Think?

            Erroneous thinking leads to wrong actions which result in bad experiences.  This should be the formula that guards our thought life.  Right thinking determines, in great measure, our success and enjoyment of life.  If we are thinking right we will be able to teach our children to think right.  It is of equal; perhaps of greater importance than the formal education that children receive.  I have known people who had a limited education, but they still made a success of life because they knew how to think right.  There are others I have known who were highly educated but they were a failure in life because they never learned to think right.

Much of the suffering in the world is because of erroneous thinking.  Right thinking is not something we are born with.  It is something that needs to be learned.  It takes effort to learn.  It takes humility and self discipline to recognize that we aren’t thinking right and make the change to right thinking.

The natural man has some impediments to right thinking.  One of them is selfishness.  II Timothy 3:2-4 says “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,   Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,   Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.”  That’s certainly true, isn’t it?  Many times we find ourselves included.  I Corinthians 13:5 says that love “seeketh not her own.” The selfish person leaves others aside and seeks what he wants.  Have you noticed how children are selfish?  “Mine, mine” they say.  They have to be taught to share.  He who thinks in the well being of others doesn’t think of stealing, defrauding or deceiving others.

By nature we also have a problem with pride.  Romans 12:3 says “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”  The proud person has difficulty in thinking right about those around him.  He has a tendency to criticize or belittle others.  He offends others by what he says about them.  Romans 12:10 says “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Thinking right about ourselves is a continual battle.  We are either lifted up with pride or we go to the other extreme and have an inferiority complex.

Another impediment to right thinking is the lust of the flesh.  Galatians 5:16 says “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  Verses 19-21 of that chapter says that the works of the flesh are. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,   Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,   Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” We need to teach children how to control their evil selfish desires.  We have to set the example.

If we give in to our children and let them have their way all the time they won’t learn to control their lusts.  When they are children they will get too much candy and all the toys they want.  In their teens, it’s much more serious.  They are then the victims of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and illicit sex.  They need to be taught as children that the human body is a marvelous creation of God, but at the same time, it has desires that should not be satisfied.

We will never have liberty and contentment in life unless we get victory over lusts.  Desires unsatisfied leave us with anxiety.  We feel deprived.  Our desires go unsatisfied.

The genuine Christian finds in the Bible a tremendous resource of instruction to help him think right.  When someone accepts Christ as his Savior the Bible says in II Corinthians 5:17 that he is made a new creature.  “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  Romans 12:1-2 says that we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.   And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

By means of reading the Bible, and applying its teaching, we reprogram our minds to think right.  God wants to teach us to think right.  Isaiah 55:8-9 says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.   For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  The prayer of David in Psalm 86:11 was “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.” That should be our prayer too.  It’s a prayer that God delights to answer.

I Corinthians 2:14-16 says “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.   For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”  That we can have the mind of Christ is a tremendous thought.  Philippians 2:5 also says “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” That means to think like he thinks.  God wants to transform us into the image of Christ.  Colossians 3:10 says “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” We will never be a perfect image of Christ, but we can be moving in that direction.  I Corinthians 8:2 says “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”

God, in his Word, tells us how we aught to think.  A concordance of the Bible will give you a number of verses that will tell you how to think.  Philippians 4:8 suggests some things on which we should think.  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

How you think has a tremendous impact on your life and the life of those around you.  It’s a subject that should occupy your thoughts.  History is full of sad stories of people who paid a terrible price for erroneous thinking.  You could be one of them.  Don’t be too proud to admit it when you have to face the fact that you were thinking wrong.  We all have a lot to learn.  That may mean a change in the way we think.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts” (Psalm 139:23).


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