“The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. A man is commended according to his good sense, but one of twisted mind is despised.”
There is nothing in your life more important than the way you think. The reason why scripture places such a strong emphasis on thinking is because the way you think determines the way you live and work. How you think drives the decisions you make and the actions you take. Right thinking produces right action, but wrong thinking produces wrong action.
This is true every time, everywhere, for everyone.
In Ephesians 4, Paul contrasts the way of life of unbelievers (he uses “gentiles” to refer to non-believers) versus the way of life of those who have been redeemed by Jesus. The central message is that the one of the primary differences between the way of life non-believers and believers is how they think.
“Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; they are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart; they have become callous and have given themselves up to licentiousness, greedy to practice every kind of uncleanness. You did not so learn Christ! -- assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus.” (Ephesians 4.17-21)
Notice how Paul describes the life of non-Christians: “futility of their minds; darkened in their understanding; alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance; hardness of heart.” These phrases all describe the activity of the mind. A distorted mind. A mind that has been deceived. Proverbs 12 quoted above describes this kind of self-centered mindset as the thinking of a “twisted mind.”
Here is another way to think about it: The quality of your inner work determines the quality of your outer work. How you manage yourself on the inside determines how you behave on the outside. If you want to change any area of your life, you must first change your thinking.
Consider the following scriptures and what they tell us about the impact of the way you think.
- Proverbs 23.7: “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
- Romans 8.6-7: “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot…”
- Romans 12.1-2: “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
- 1 Corinthians 14.20: “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature.”
- 2 Corinthians 10.5: “We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
In Christ our thinking has been redeemed and is now being restored. We once again have the capacity for clear and effective thinking, and it is to this that the Lord calls us.
It bears repeating: There is nothing in your life more important than the way you think.