Words of Worth

Excuse Me…Your Thoughts Are Showing

January 20, 2012

Fifty thousand! According to neuroscientists that is the number of thoughts that the average person thinks daily. And that is either good news or bad news depending upon what we are thinking because inevitably our thoughts convert into the words we speak and the things we do.

Matthew 12:34 tells us that “the mouth speaks out of what fills the heart.” Most of us would just die if our every thought were posted on some jumbo screen for all to see. However, everyone can see our thoughts because they do translate into speech and action. Given that fact, we must be very thoughtful about our thinking especially as we desire to live lives of true joy.

I learned this lesson the hard way. In a former university administrative position, I often gave status reports to a board of directors, men and women I wanted to impress. Once, in response to a board member’s probing question, I answered, “May I be negative?” I meant to say, “May I be honest?” but I had been dwelling on the negative so long that it just inappropriately poured out of my mouth. I was embarrassed that I had put a negative foot forward and a board member could have rightly said, “Excuse me, Sheryl, but your negative thoughts are showing.”

Paul, the author of Philippians, or the “epistle of joy”, knew that thoughts were very important to living a life of true joy and he himself modeled solid mental discipline in this area. His positive thoughts showed up in the words he penned to the saints at Philippi encouraging them to rejoice and be joyful. Paul, himself, was filled with joyful gratitude each time he remembered the saints at Philippi (Phil 1:3) and then he even affirmed how right he was to think confidently about their growth in Christ because he had them in his heart (mind):

“For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me.”

(Philippians 1:7).

Despite his imprisoned circumstances, Paul was able to rejoice in them and view them as “the greater progress of the gospel” and the cause for Christ becoming more well known. (Phil 1:12-13) Paul’s imprisonment didn’t lock up his joyful thoughts towards the Philippians he held so dearly in his heart (mind) or about the cause of Christ for which he lived.

Billy Graham once wrote:
“The happiness which brings enduring worth to life is not the superficial happiness that is dependent on circumstances. It is the happiness and contentment that fills the soul even in the most distressing circumstances and the most bitter environment. It is the kind of happiness that grins when things go wrong and smiles through the tears. The happiness for which our souls ache is one undisturbed by success or failure, one which will root deeply inside us and give inward relaxation, peace, and contentment, no matter what the surface problems may be. That kind of happiness stands in need of no outward stimulus.”

Most of us try to change and renew our circumstances (make more money, lose weight, improve
relationships), when we should be asking God to renew our minds and thinking. When our minds are renewed, circumstances will take care of themselves and we might not mind if our thoughts are showing. (sv)

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