As a man thinketh, so is he. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Take no thought saying. Cast down every vain imagination that would exalt itself against the knowledge of God.
Jesus is confronted by the Pharisees in Jerusalem. They were concerned that His followers/disciples were not following the traditions of the elders. Jesus responded to the confrontation. “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God with your tradition? For God commanded saying, Honor your father and your mother; and, He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death. But you say, “Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift of God” — then he need not honor his father or mother. Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your traditions.”
Jesus goes on to say, quoting Isaiah, “These people come nigh to me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain the worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
So, daily I ask myself, “What am I thinking?” Where is my mind? Where is my heart? What is occupying my imagination and influencing my feelings? Has it ever occurred to you to think about what you think about? Has it ever crossed your mind to “take captive” your thoughts. For out of your thoughts come words and your words contain either death or life – destruction or creativity. And then from your words come actions which impact those you care about and those who function near you.
Let’s do an exercise. Consider the meaning of taking thoughts “captive.” What does that mean? It means that thoughts can run amok. It means that if you don’t control your thoughts, they will take you “captive” and control you. Thinking about what you think about and choosing to think about things that edify, building and adding value are essential to a successful future – spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and financially.
At Faith Exchange, over the years we have instructed our family of believers to journal their thoughts. Taking time to record what you are thinking about puts into action “thinking about what you are thinking about.” Taking a notebook and writing for 15 minutes a day helps you to take a look at what is on your mind. The process is very personal and when you do it, if you do it right, causes you to think about what you write down, choosing what to write and what not to write and when you write something you are prioritizing it over the non-written thoughts that are there. People do this kind of internal editing all of the time for various reasons. We all do it. For example, we might be concerned that someone might read it.
At this point I want to encourage you to think thoughts that edify. I want to introduce the four words that have been given to Faith Exchange for 2021.
Joy, Victory, Freedom, Fulfillment
God has promised this state of being to us. We have to position ourselves to receive this promise, beginning with choosing our thoughts. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. I am thinking of joy, victory, freedom and fulfillment. This is the beginning of a long and fruitful life. Choose joy, victory, freedom and fulfillment. People will fill their thoughts and their prayer time with thoughts of money, cars, homes, mates, healing and more – missing what they really want.
Too many of us will delay the gifts that God gives us daily by attaching those “feelings” to things. Receive joy, victory, freedom and fulfillment right now. Remember this teaching — (The Kingdom of God is not a destination, it is a disposition. The Kingdom of God is a chosen mindset. When you align yourself with the King – who is God – you align yourself with authority and resources. With that in mind … meditate … “Beloved above all things I wish that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”)
Even as my soul prospers. A prosperous soul is a soul that chooses edifying and creative thoughts – thoughts of love, peace, joy, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and temperance. Scripture teaches us that when we operate these thoughts – leading to words – leading to actions — “against which there is no law.” You see freedom is right in front of us. Throwing off all chains is not a financial thing it is in how we make our decisions as to what we think about.
Joy, Victory, Freedom, Fulfillment
Last year we were promised clarity, efficiency, productivity, growth and promotion and many of us received these promises. In spite of the pandemic, we grew in many areas. Many of us saved money, reinforced our relationships, grew more confident, solved real problems, got healthier and most importantly became closer to God. Some others didn’t receive those promises and chose to worry, fret and enact ideas that did not come from God and yet again, we experienced limited growth. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. It’s time we begin to pursue and think higher thoughts.
I am thinking about you today. I am thinking about how I can serve you better. I have decided that one way that I can do this is to write an email to you each week. This is the fourth email in that process. It is His desire, and therefore, my desire that “all of your need is met according to His riches in glory” and that you do not “come up short in your calling, receiving all that God has put in store for you.” So, let me give you some guidelines that will help you to begin to control your thoughts.
If you will walk in the Spirit, you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
- Do 5 purposeful acts of kindness for people you know and want to see succeed each month. Think about what would really improve the lives of those that you love and act on their behalf.
- Spend a few minutes today being thankful. Write down the things that you are thankful for. Try to list ten things.
- When Ungodly, negative thoughts arise – minimize the time you consider them. Don’t ruminate on them. Take them captive. Do not write them down. Choose a productive/Godly/edifying thought to take its place.
- Guard what information comes to you through your senses. Understand that television, movies, the internet and other media push thoughts for their own purposes. Choose the information according to your purposes and your callings and as you do – practice #s 2 and 3. If it doesn’t make you thankful or it brings negativity – turn the channel or end the intake of information.
- Feed your spirit. Write the red letters of the Gospels. Choosing Jesus’ words on a daily basis will strengthen your spirit and your ability to choose life/edification/success/growth will grow. Read a chapter from Proverbs. Your spirit lives on the Word of God/Scripture. If you don’t feed your spirit, it will grow weak and your choices will emanate from a lower place.
- Feed your faith. You cannot please God without faith. Faith comes one way – by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Find a church where the word is truly believed, spoken and studied. Then get there every time the doors are opened. Prioritizing the feeding of your faith is a very good choice. Faith will move obstacles out of your way – often, and the more faith you walk in, the quicker those obstacles move.
- Praise God. Magnify God. Make YHWH your primary thought. Read the book of Psalms and watch as the psalmist do this. Then write your own psalms. Being thankful and praising are not the same thing. Praise is energetic. Sing. Shout. Magnify … Exalt … Make God the Biggest, Best and Brightest object of your thoughts …
- Create. Now use your words to design and develop your future and the future of all those around you. Speak out things that will edify and improve your life and the life of those that you love. Stagger not at the promises. Call things that be not as though they were.
At first, when you begin to implement these things you may find them to be cumbersome and time consuming. With practice, you will soon find that success is far easier than failing over and over again and takes no time at all. If you take heed to this teaching – you will find your thoughts aligning with God and you will begin to flow with creation and not against it. The gifts that God speaks about in His word will be available to you in the right amounts and at the appropriate times.
Finally, and maybe most importantly. Take this teaching and share it. Teach this to someone else. You will never know if you are moving into the disposition of alignment with God until you can help someone else take their thoughts captive and align.
Simply put – “you can’t give away, what you don’t have.” A corollary to that is “If you’re not giving it away, you don’t have it.”
Think on these things.
In His service and yours,
P.S. Check out my recent article -> 2020, A Year Like No Other