In May 1971, a Texas newspaper featured an article titled “What They’re Saying” that quoted Frank Outlaw, president of the successful supermarket chain BI-LO:
“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.”
It all starts with your thoughts. Your thoughts drive your words, your actions, your habits, your character and ultimately, your destiny. So, if Jesus is going to be the center of your life, it starts with your thoughts. The Apostle Paul urged the new Christians in Rome to let God’s Word change the way they thought. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect,” (Romans 12.2 NLT).
God changes you into a new person by first changing the way you think. Let’s start there. What do you think about? What consumes your waking moments? When your mind rests and disengages from the immediate task at hand, where does it go? That is the place where Jesus wants to be most at home, in the forefront of your mind. To make Jesus center means that your thoughts run to Jesus and your desire is to please Him more than anything, (2 Corinthians 5.9 ESV).
The author of Hebrews put it this way: “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest,” (Hebrews 3.1 NIV). Jesus is the ultimate apostle (which means “sent one”). He was sent from heaven to earth to redeem you and show His grace toward you. He is also the ultimate “high priest” — the one who represents God to the people and the people to God.
We are told to “fix our thoughts on Jesus.” In (2 Corinthians 10.5), The Apostle Paul tells us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ”. We need to evaluate our thoughts. Capture them and see if they are pleasing to God. Every thought that doesn’t please God has to go! one way you can do that is to read God’s Word on a daily basis. As you read God’s Word, He will speak to you and set your thoughts on Him.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me — everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you,” (Philippians 4.8-9 NLT). I love these verses because they are so practical. In effect, Paul is saying “garbage in, garbage out.” If you put godless things in your mind, you will never experience transformation. However, if you set your mind on God’s Word and all that is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable — if you set your mind on these things and practice them, then you will experience God’s peace.
Photo Credit: Keegan Houser