Watch your thoughts, they become words;
Watch your words, they become actions;
Watch your actions, they become habits;
Watch your habits, they become character;
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
These words, spoken by Margaret Thatcher, are profound. They describe our life journey and the significance our thought life has on our future. To realize that our thoughts have the power to change our destiny should shake us up enough to pay attention to every thought we are allowing to root itself in our mind.
2 Corinthians 10:5 teaches us that we must take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Thoughts are not neutral; instead, they have an agenda. They will shape your philosophy of life and prompt you to move in some direction. As I reflect on the thirty years that I have served in church ministry, I can honestly say that I have counseled many people who have allowed their thoughts to shape their lives into something very unhealthy.
There is much written today about being emotionally healthy and it is linked to our thought life. As a Christian believer who desires to have a transformed mind (Romans 12:2) and put into practice what I read in the Word of God (Philippians 4:9), this is what emotional health means to me:
- I am at peace with God and others. This manifests itself in my life through a calm spirit, a relaxed body, and a patient heart.
- I am emotionally secure because I know who I am in Christ and that I am deeply loved and cared for by God.
- I do not have knee-jerk responses, anxiety, or panic to the events that occur in my life because I take all things to God in prayer.
- I can express my emotions in healthy, godly ways.
- I have a deep sense of joy and don’t rely on happiness to determine my mood or attitude.
- I can cope with life’s challenges, handle stress, and recover from setbacks because I have learned to filter all my thoughts through the principles learned in Philippians 4:8.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things,” (Philippians 4:8, NASB).
Do not let your thoughts take you to unhealthy places you do not want to go. You are determining your future by what you are thinking about. When you think wrong thoughts, you say and do wrong things, develop wrong habits, build wrong character qualities, and live an emotionally unhealthy life. When you think right thoughts, those thoughts lead to right words, right actions, right habits, right character, and a destiny of an emotionally healthy life.
Choose wisely. Let’s start thinking about what we are thinking about. Change your thinking, and it will change your life!
Heavenly Father, you have given me everything I need to live an emotionally healthy life. I put my hands on my head right now and pray over my thoughts. Help me to pay attention to what I am thinking and capture any thought that is unpleasing to you. I am tired of not being emotionally healthy. I choose to go on a journey of growth and transformation with you God. Lead me. I will listen and follow what you are saying to me. Amen.
(This is an except from Philippians: A devotional study on how we think. You can purchase the book on Becky’s website and also join the Online Summer Study beginning June 5. Details at http://evergreen.study/philippians/)