Controlling Our Thoughts Will Give Us A Grasp on Controlling Our Actions
“Imagine being so pure in thought, word, or deed that everyone around you could know all your thoughts and you would have no fear of risking their displeasure. Imagine that your deepest cravings would be so holy that they could be thoroughly known to your family and friends without embarrassment. Everything you think or do could be gloriously known, with the assurance that nothing revealed would change the unconditional love of others and God. No need to hide, no desire to hide.”—adapted from Erwin Lutzer, When Good People Do Bad Things, 63-64).
This quotation from Erwin Lutzer strikes a chord that could resonate with each of us. Occasionally everyone has a thought or two that we desire to keep secret. In addition to this, we also have thoughts that we should keep to ourselves for fear of saying things that might possibly be offensive or harmful to others—things that might even be true, but we should pause and think before saying them. In “thinking” about this, the questions we need to ask ourselves involve how these thoughts come into our minds and how do they influence or impact our actions?
Years ago when I was enrolled in some computer programming classes, there was a sign on the wall that simply said “GIGO.” Everyone in the class knew exactly what it meant: Garbage In Garbage Out. If the computer program you were putting into the system wasn’t correct, the result of the program would be incorrect. That makes perfect sense, and the professor regularly reminded us to make sure we weren’t trying to process “garbage.” I was surprised earlier today when I researched this acronym (GIGO) and found out that it’s still being used within the digital world. But I’d like to suggest that it also applies to our personal lives in a very practical way. Whatever we feed our minds will be seen/heard in what we think, do, and say. GIGO!
In view of this, it might be beneficial for us to consider Proverbs 4:23—27.
23 Watch over your heart (mind) with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.
26 Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established.
27 Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.
At times I’ve heard different individuals suggest/claim that they’re not “personally” affected by what they watch on TV and in movies, or by the things they read in books, magazines, and on—line. However, based on what Proverbs 4 tells us, it seems unlikely for this to be true—or many have been deceived into believing that they’re not being seduced by our society. I’m aware of some people who avoid “the media” because it bothers them so much; while others seem to be addicted to it without realizing it. In today’s world, due to the way our minds are being exposed to so many harmful influences, it’s become increasingly important that we monitor what feeds/fills our minds since it will eventually become evident in our attitudes and actions—and in the way we exercise and express our faith.
In order to draw some conclusions that might apply to our personal lives, let’s consider some questions that might put GIGO in perspective.
—1— How embarrassed would I be if others could read my secret thoughts or see what feeds my mind?
—2— How often do I find myself thinking inappropriate thoughts, or being tempted to do what would dishonor or displease the Lord?
—3— How often do I try to process garbage without thinking about the end result?
—4— Do I have any protections in place that help me watch over my heart and keep my gaze fixed straight in front of me?
—5— What does Philippians 4:8 tell me? Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think deeply and concentrate on these things.
I pray that this is an encouragement for each of us as we pursue God’s priorities for our lives!
With prayer for God’s glory and praise for His grace …
And as always, with prayer for our ACEFC family, Pastor Greg