Thoughts. They are quite powerful, and they are never without “fruit.” In other words, thoughts show themselves. In time, how a person thinks shows in their choices. And their choices shows in their actions.
You see, we all have them. We all have … thoughts. The ability to think. And with that ability, we get to choose – we can choose good thoughts, truthful thoughts, kind thoughts, caring, loving, supportive, believing, helpful, creative, leading, comforting, serving thoughts.
OR, we get to choose quite the opposite – harmful thoughts, dishonest thoughts, unkind, uncaring, unloving, selfish, doubtful, unhelpful, careless, fearful, degrading, and “all about me” thoughts.
Either way – our life will show how we think.
And here’s what is so amazing about all this – how a person thinks not only shows in their choices and actions, but it greatly shows in their speech. What is said through the mouth is the overflow of what is inside that person’s heart. The speech shows what the heart is full of!
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45
I can recall walking up to the front door of a house, and before I could knock or ring the doorbell, I heard yelling inside. The hollering was so strong that I knew at that moment, all I needed to do was turn on my heels and walk away. But I remember thinking how that sound within the walls of the home was a shock to me. I never in a million years would have thought such hollering would happen within their home, but then as I drove off I knew it was for a reason that I heard it all, and so I started to pray. The Lord wanted me to hear it and I knew it was for the purpose of prayer because ….
how a person thinks shows in their choices, including the choice of speech.
The heart. The thoughts. The speech. The choices. All of it reflects where our Treasure is. What is “treasure?” A treasure is the most important thing in our life. What we really value. What we “treasure” – what we or who we value the most – will be heard and seen and experienced in our thoughts, speech and choices.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
The mouth is connected to the heart. Giving people speak humbly. Selfless people have words that season our life with grace and mercy. Kind people serve up speech that is encouraging and helpful. Loving people utter words of compassion. You see, God probes and examines the heart, and He hears the language of it. The heart and mouth are connected.
Psalm 17:3 – “Though You probe my heart, though you examine me at night and test me, you will find that I have planned no evil; my mouth has not transgressed.”
Psalm 17:10 – “They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance.”
Psalm 19:14 – “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Just yesterday, our pastor and friend, Ronnie Falvey, preached one of the most powerful messages Rip and I have ever heard on, “The Power of our Speech.” And as I listened, it really spoke to me so plainly in how “what we think” will (in time) show in our choice of words. He shared how 1 man said 2 sentences to Andy Stanley and how (to this day) when Andy tells the story of what he said to him, he still gets emotional. The man’s words to Andy tore him down – his words were like a punch in the gut. His words to Andy were like a hit below the belt, and 40 years later, Ronnie said that it is still difficult for Andy to even share that experience. He went on to say that there is such power in our words to either tear down or build up someone. Rip and I have definitely experienced both, and both has come from the most unexpected sources. His message will be available at www.fbcmadison.org by Wednesday of this week, if you’d like to hear it.
But since how we think shows in our choices, what exactly does that mean in the physical realm of our life. It means this: “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8
It means death.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” – Colossians 3:5
Greed. Wanting more. Not satisfied or content with what you have or with less. Greed. It is in the same sentence as sexual immorality, yet we don’t really see greed as what this verse describes it to be – Idolatry. Greed for more money, greed for a bigger house, (not need for a bigger house…greed for a bigger house), greed for prestige, greed for acceptance, greed for attention, greed for material things, greed for title or power, greed for the freedom to indulge, greed to spend, greed to have … it’s idolatry.
Yet, greed has become a subtle way of life, disguised behind some rather deceiving religious masks or disguised behind this one growing mindset – ENTITLEMENT.
After reading David Platt’s book, Radical, it really causes a person to examine this one area of our thinking – of our hearts – and it’s the area of greed. He writes: “
What is Jesus worth to you?
It’s easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily…
But who do you know who lives like that? Do you?
In Radical, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple–then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a “successful” suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus.
But here is the GOOD NEWS in all this!
If we put to death the misdeeds of the body – we put to death the thoughts and speech that dishonor the Lord – if we put to death greed and entitlement, the promise from God to us is this
— YOU WILL LIVE!
“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Romans 8:13
If we put to death our selfish tendencies, if we put to death the greediness of our own thoughts and longings, and if we stop trying to create our own destinies, trying to blaze our own trails, and instead we surrender our entire life — (heart, mind and body) — to the Lord, we will experience what Christ experienced –
MADE ALIVE IN THE SPIRIT!
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18
Take a look at what you are saying? If you REALLY mean what you are saying, then it will show in your choices. It will show in your actions. If what you say is really how you feel, then the next decision you make will reflect that.
- Are you willing to do whatever God asks of you?
- Are you willing to live a life that reflects where your Treasure is? The Treasure of Christ’s life in you?
- Are you willing to stop creating the life you want for yourself and surrender to His plans?
- Are you willing to listen for His small voice that will lead and guide you to putting to death the misdeeds of the body, and be made ALIVE in the Spirit?
- Are you willing to be totally open to His plans and purposes for your life no matter where it may lead you to live, to sacrifice, to give up, to walk away from…no matter what it may cause others to think or say.
- Are you willing to say to Him, “Lord, into Your hands I commit my Spirit?” And then…
Die to your ways, your wishes, and your workings. And commit your Spirit into His hands! IF you are…if I am…we will live a life that Jesus calls “the full and abundant life!!!”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
How a person thinks really does show in their choices. Let’s choose death – because in doing so, we choose LIFE!