It has been estimated that the average human being has approximately fifty thousand thoughts a day. That’s a lot of thoughts! Thoughts instantly begin from the moment we wake up—thoughts about how we feel, the day ahead, our responsibilities, people we love, problems to solve, and so on. What we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell prompt thoughts of one kind or another. Throughout the day, until we go to bed at night and fall asleep, our thoughts lead the way with our actions following. A famous American scholar, Ralph Waldo Emerson, wrote, “The ancestor of every action is a thought.”
If we as believers desire our actions and the actions of our children to be based on God’s Word, then our thinking must be based on God’s Word. To have Word-centered living, we first need to have Word-centered thinking. What does God’s Word say about this topic? And what are some practical ways parents and children can develop this life-style? Let’s begin with what the Word says about Word-centered thinking.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
In this verse, we read that it is God’s heart for us to “seek those things which are above.” The word “seek” means to seek after, look for, strive to find. We’re to seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. We’re to focus on the benefits of all that Jesus Christ accomplished for us in fulfilling the law through his suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension to the heavenlies, where he is still seated at the right hand of God.
In considering the concept of seeking after, looking for, and striving to find, think of a beautifully trained Labrador retriever walking with its owner in a large, grassy meadow. The dog’s excitement is immediately piqued as the owner picks up and tosses a stick into the tall grass. The Labrador retriever darts off in search of the stick. Nose down, focused, and weaving back and forth through the grass, the retriever is relentless in its pursuit. It seeks after and strives to find the stick for its master with diligence and enthusiasm.
If a dog can search for a stick for its master with such focus, what about us seeking those things which are above? We can strive to find those things which are above with a relentless diligence and enthusiasm for our Master—our heavenly Father.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
The Greek word translated “set…affection on” refers to the mind, the thinking, the thoughts. It could be stated, “Set your thoughts on things above, not on things on the earth.” There is a choice in this verse. There are two places we can look. We can set our thinking on things above and all that Jesus Christ accomplished, or we can set our thinking on things on the earth (such as how we feel, what people say about us, or the circumstances surrounding our lives). God wants us to set our thinking, our thoughts, on things above, where His blessings abound.
The concept of setting one’s sights in a specific place is not limited to mental activity. Here is an example of the same principle from an athletic activity. A new golfer taking golf lessons learns very quickly to target where he wants the golf ball to go. The coach explains that the ball will go where the golfer sets his sights. If he looks somewhere besides his targeted destination and hits the ball, it will go where he is looking—but not to his desired destination!
In developing Word-centered thinking, we see that where we set our sights determines where our thoughts will go. We become what we look at, what we think about, what we focus on, what we target in our minds. What we speak and do is a result of what we are looking at and thinking about. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he….”
Remember that great statement from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The ancestor of every action is a thought”? Getting focused in living the Word means first being focused in thinking the Word.
How do we adjust our thinking to be Word-centered? First, we must become aware of what we are thinking. In other words, we think about what we are thinking about! Then we can change any thought that is contrary to God’s Word.
II Corinthians 10:5 clearly describes this principle:
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
A literal translation according to usage of II Corinthians 10:5 is:
Demolish your human logic from the high position to which you have lifted it vertically against the knowledge of God [which you have known by experience]. Be wise, lead captive every thing [thought] to Christ, which you have attentively listened to and heard.
We demolish our human logic and lead every thought captive to Christ, and we do this with the Word of God. We demolish our human logic; we lead captive every thought by replacing our human logic with the truth of God’s Word….
This is an excerpt from the November/December 2006 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2006 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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