Our thoughts are just as important to God as our actions, and are known to God as clearly as our actions.
Jesus taught us in the Sermon on the Mount that God’s commands are intended not only to regulate outward conduct, but inner disposition as well. It is not enough that we do not kill; we must also not hate. It is not enough that we do not commit adultery; we must not even entertain lustful looks and thoughts.
Just as we must learn to bring the appetites of our bodies under control, so we must also learn to bring our thought lives under obedience to Jesus Christ.
The bible indicates that our thought lives ultimately determine our character. Holiness begins in our minds and works out to our actions. This being true, what we allow to enter our minds is critically important.
– Jerry Bridges
O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
– Psalm 139:1-4(NLT)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
– Colossians 3:1-3 (NIV)
…people judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
– 1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
– Philippians 4:8 (NLT)
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
– Romans 12:3 (NLT)
…let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes
– Ephesians 4:23 (NLT)
So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that’s coming when Jesus arrives. Don’t lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn’t know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God’s life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, “I am holy; you be holy.”
– 1 Peter 1:14 9 (MSG)
The neglected heart will soon be a heart overrun with worldly thoughts; the neglected life will soon become a moral chaos.
– AW Tozer
Photo by Susie Stewart