Saturday, August 13, 2011

Choose your thoughts

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Matthew 15:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and they defile a man." Matthew 15:18

When the scribes and Pharisees criticized Jesus' disciples for neglecting the Jewish tradition of ritual washing, they were probably surprised with the swiftness and vigour of Jesus' rebuttal. He went straight for the jugular of their much more serious perversion of the law. For instead of honouring their parents by providing for them (as the law said they should), they were declaring such provision "Corban" - Mark 7:11.

"'Corban' was an offering made to God withdrawn from its originally intended use and no longer available for persons, not even those in need" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1318.

In other words, they broke the law by adhering to another law they had made up (with the seeming intention to impress others with their generosity toward God?).

Jesus didn't let the situation rest there but brought it up in front of the crowds. Then, when the disciples reported back to Him how He had upset these rulers, He went even further, declaring that their man-made traditions missed the point entirely. They were focusing on outer things, while the real problem was with what was inside them. It wasn't the wrong foods they were putting in their mouths that were making them impure, but the things that came out of their mouths and played out in their lives.

All the observable sins He speaks of in verse 19: "...murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies" begin with the first evil He names: "evil thoughts."

Jesus addresses this principle of our thoughts being precursors of action in other places - for example Matthew 12:33-35:

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

Joyce Meyer elaborates:
"...thoughts bear fruit. Think good thoughts and the fruit in your life will be good. Think bad thoughts, and the fruit in your life will be bad.
Actually you can look at a person's attitude and know what kind of thinking is prevalent in his life. A sweet kind person does not have mean vindictive thoughts" - Battlefield of the Mind, p. 21.

Today let's examine our thoughts — those seedlings of action. Then let's weed out rogue, virulent, evil thoughts, replacing them with true, worthy thoughts. Memorizing Bible thoughts is a good transplant technique.

PRAYER: Dear God, I am guilty of having a weedy thought life. Please alert me to evil thoughts, and help me be diligent in replacing them with good thoughts. Amen.

MORE: Choose your thoughts

"A whole new world opens up to us when we learn to choose our own thoughts rather than letting the devil fill our minds full of things that will destroy us. We must learn to be responsible for our thoughts and words because they produce our actions" - Joyce Meyer, Battlefield of the Mind, p. x.

"For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honourable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and loveable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]" - Philippians 4:8 (Amplified).

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