O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals. But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God’s name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.
According to Proverbs 23:7 the beliefs that dominate our thoughts not only reflect who we are but help to shape and mold us into the person we become. James Allen’s timeless classic “As a Man Thinketh” is based on the passage. In it he contends that our thoughts literally make us what we are.
I prefer a more modern illustration I first heard from Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel. “We become like the god we worship,” he said. For example, if the desire for certain possessions so dominates our thoughts that they become like objects of worship, we become materialistic. Preoccupation with wealth can make us greedy or even dishonest. Obsession with self leads to narcissism and selfishness. A passion for food and drink can result in gluttony. The list goes on. Without any conscious effort on our part, we’ll adopt the characteristics of the thoughts that dominate our minds.
So it follows then, that as we fill our minds with thoughts of the Lord, we become more like Him. Without any real effort at change, we’ll begin acting more like He would. This is what Paul described as the fruit of the Spirit in his letter to the Galatians. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are promised to the one whose thoughts are focused on the Lord. (Galatians 5:22-23) Not to mention the Crown of Righteousness that all who have longed for His return will receive in His Kingdom. (2 Tim. 4:8)
The human mind is like a garden. If we don’t care what grows in our garden, it doesn’t matter what gets planted. Weeds will grow by themselves. But if we want delicious fruit and vegetables we have to root up the weeds, and then plant, fertilize, water, and cultivate plants of our choosing. And not just for a day, but for the entire growing season.
So it is with our minds. To fulfill Paul’s admonition in Ephesians 4:22-23 to put off your old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires and be made new in the attitudes of your mind we have to root up the old thoughts, and then plant, fertilize, water, and cultivate new ones. We do this by consciously replacing our old worldly thoughts with new spiritual ones, by reading scripture, listening to Christian music, and praying. And not just for a day, but for our entire lives. As we do we become more and more like the God we worship.
This is why the Lord told the Israelites to spend time discussing His Commandments. “Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk upon the road, when you lie down and when you get up,” He said. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and upon your gates. (Deut. 6:7-9) He wanted them to become more like Him.
This is also why David composed poems to the Lord, sang His praises, and thought about Him constantly. He was a man after God’s own heart. How about you?