“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy– meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 NKJ
As most of us were growing up, we were taught by parents, teachers and even religious leaders, to modify and control our outward behavior, but not necessarily our thought life. However, the Lord made it very clear in the Old and New Covenant that our thought life influences our behavior and therefore it dominates the success or failure of our life. Proverbs 23:7 says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. He may say one thing with his mouth, but his thoughts represent what he truly thinks and feels.
In order to truly influence a person, you must influence their mindset, not just their behavior. You can dominate someone in order to control their behavior, but if you do not influence their opinions, then when they leave your presence they will go ahead and do whatever they have decided to do anyway. As we raise our children, we should watch over their attitudes and keep them on track as much as we watch their behavior. When you bring correction to your children you must see that your discipline influences their attitude and straightens it out and the desired behavior will automatically follow. The bottom line is that they should have a soft heart toward God, not a hard one. And, most importantly, YOU make sure that you set a good example. BE who you want THEM to BE.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.Matthew 5:27-28 NKJ
And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Mark 7:20-23 NKJ
If you have sinned in your heart, then you have sinned. Deal with sin at the root level – in your thought life – and it will not be able to destroy your life, because even at the current rate of inflation, the wages of sin is still death! Whatever we feed our heart and mind is what we will think about and what we will eventually be saying and doing. Many times even people who are born again have friends who are a bad influence. They think that the crude, worldly talk will not influence them, but before they know it they are talking and acting just like those friends and they have left Jesus behind!
If you regularly expose yourself, by what you hear and see, to any form of uncleanness – lies, bad reports and any unjust, impure, unlovely, ugly, critical, evil, ignoble things, then they will begin to play in your mind like a video. If you don’t get rid of the thoughts and stop allowing yourself to think on them then you will be in big trouble before long. The Lord looks on the heart, because our heart, with all its attitudes and opinions, is who we really are. We may be able to fool other people for a while with our outward show, but God knows who we really are and what we really think. We think that we are fooling people, because we are secure in the privacy of our own imagination, but many times even they eventually see through the façade. Your thoughts are revealed in your face more than you think they are!
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
Psalms 1:1-3 NKJ
If you want to change the course of your life – change the way you think and what you think about. Stop thinking negative, evil, destructive, unproductive thoughts and fill yourself up with God’s word, meditating on it day and night. The devil may have lied to you and told you that you will never make it as a child of God because you are trapped in this twilight zone of evil thoughts that dominate and control you. You find yourself thinking them even when you don’t want to. Your only answer is to meditate on God’s word – constantly – and it will begin to crowd out the devil’s trash and burn it up. All that you need to do is to make a quality decision that you WILL be FREE, WHATEVER it takes!