Today’s Scripture: Matthew 15:17-19
Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
Jeff Roth tells the following tale: There once was a man who sought fame and fortune. He specifically decided to make his reputation as a spiritual teacher. He began by travelling from retreat to retreat, monastery to monastery. He checked out all the spiritual traditions, old and new. But as the years went by, he became increasingly unhappy. He was no closer to his goal of being a great teacher, and became quite depressed.
One day, on his way to a gathering, he found himself in a beautiful forest. He sat down under a magnificent tree and began to reflect on where his lust had taken him. He began to look around. He noticed the bright colours and the tranquillity that surrounded him. “This is a beautiful place,” he thought to himself. “Wouldn’t it be great if I could just live here forever?” No sooner had he thought this did a house emerge in a clearing not too far from the tree. “Wow!” he thought, pondering the strange occurrence. He sat happily a while longer and naturally he began to get hungry. “Wouldn’t it be great to have a bite to eat?” he thought. Immediately a table appeared in front of his house, filled with his favourite foods. He began to adjust himself to these mysterious occurrences, and started thinking about how nice it would be to have someone serve him the food. Just then a servant came out of the house and piled a tray with the food and brought it over to him. He thought that this was the perfect situation. “All I need now is a partner to share this life with me.” As you might expect, the door of the house opened and out came the perfect gendered person for him, and he instantly fell in love. The man continued to think that this was a strange set of occurrences. Then the thought entered his mind that perhaps all of these experiences had to do with the tree he was sitting under. “What if it’s a magic tree?” he thought. “What if there is a demon in this tree?” Suddenly, a demon jumped out of the tree and landed in front of him. Frightened beyond belief he thought, “What if it eats me up?” And it did. And that is where the story ends.
The story, fictional of course, no less underscores the power of thoughts. The truth is, we are the sum total of our thoughts. And this one truth is too profound to be trivialised by our familiarity with it.
Thoughts are powerful because they influence our actions, and set the course of our lives. Jesus put it this way: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man…” (Matthew 15:19-20). In other words, a man who thinks of murder and adultery will eventually commit them. And before a man gives a false testimony or slanders another, he first conceives it in his thoughts.
It was Norman Vincent Peale who said, “Change the thoughts of a man, he will change the world.” Your victory never starts from the outside; it emanates from the inside. No wonder the Bible enjoins us to guard our hearts like our life depends on it, because it does.
Today, consider what you think about. Refuse to allow unwholesome thoughts control your actions. Fill your heart with the Word of God. As you proceed to take active control of your meditations today, God will flood your spirit with instructions and solutions to problems. You will not be controlled by worry, fear or doubt. Stand victorious in every area of life, in Jesus’ name. Keep vigil over your mind.
Memorise & Meditate:
“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” Proverbs 4:23
Father, I ask You for the grace to keep my heart with all diligence and meditate on Your Word diligently. My thoughts are in alignment with God’s Will at all times, in Jesus’ name.