Proverbs 23:7 teaches this principle: “As he thinks within himself, so he is” (NASB).
“He” is non-gender, speaking to all mankind, so: “As she thinks within herself, so she is.”
Closer to home: “As I think within myself, so I am.”
As you and I think in our minds about ourselves, so we are. This truth indicates that God has given you and me the freedom of free-will thinking—one of the greatest gifts to mankind. Each and every day, we get to choose how we will think about ourselves, our circumstances, and others. No one can take the gift of free-will thinking from us.
But there’s really only two choices on which side of the fence our thoughts will land us: Either I will choose to think from a human nature standpoint, which God says is flawed, skewed, dark, ugly, and evil because of our sin nature (Romans 3:23), or I will choose to follow His command from Romans 12:2 and “be transformed” in my thinking. And He tells us how.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world [the way I would naturally think out of your sin nature] but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
There’s really only two sides, both in this life and the next (after death): good and evil. They are continually at war with each other—even inside our thoughts. We see this play out every day in our lives and throughout our world, racked with sin and evil-purposed to devour and destroy us. In I Peter 5:8, the Apostle warns you and me:
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (NIV).
Each of us has experienced forms of that devouring, whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. No one escapes the impact and influences that sin (evil) perpetrates against humankind—one against the other, and from “the powers of this dark world and . . . the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Our childhoods, whether good or bad, have deeply influenced our thoughts, decisions, and actions as adults. But the beauty of finally becoming an adult is that we gain a greater personal power of choice than we likely had as children and teens. The freedom to choose our actions out of how we think about ourselves, others, and circumstances is a profound consideration, worthy of our time and purposed conscience.
So consider this truth: every sin and evil that has ever wreaked havoc in your life began with one person’s free-will thoughts. Those thoughts then led to a decision, and that decision led to an action. For many of us, too often, other’s actions resulted in harming us, hurting us, wounding us in some way. And our own thoughts, decisions, and actions have harmed others. We can’t always fairly place the blame on others. And that harm, that wounding of ourselves and others, in turn influenced who we are today, and influenced how we, today, continue to use our free-will thinking. Unless we have been transformed by renewing our minds.
By the choices I make in my thoughts, I will either perpetuate evil or I will war against it.
As I think within myself, so I am.
My every thought, your every thought, will lead to a decision of some kind; even a non-decision is by default a decision. And that decision will lead to an action of some kind; even a non-action is by default an action. My every thought, decision, and action, and yours, WILL impact and influence who we are and WILL impact and influence others, either for good (God’s principles) or for bad (the enemy’s principles).
We get to choose whether our actions will come through the darkened and skewed filter of our human nature or through the brilliant and awakening truths of God’s glory, His nature. Consider the far reaching outer and inner depths of these implications. We’ll look at this further in Part 2. We hope you’ll follow along.