Tracy Tredrea explores the fact that everything we see as 'action' in our life, started out as a mere thought...
Everything we do starts from a thought. Everything we say originates from a thought. Our choices are routed in our thoughts. Our actions are a result of our thoughts. What you are wearing right now is based on what you were thinking this morning when you got dressed. What you ate for breakfast today is a direct result of what you were thinking of eating. Our lives, our choices, our fears, our successes, are all a reflection of what we think.
Your brain is a remarkable machine. God designed our brains to process every feeling, smell, taste, touch and visual stimulation in such a way that your thoughts are formed which then result in your actions. Here is a basic example. You are sitting on a warm day in the sun 'thinking' what a beautiful warm day it is. Suddenly a freezing cold wind from nowhere comes flying towards you. You feel the cold. Think to yourself it has become cold. Then run inside and fetch a jersey because it is now cold. External stimuli resulted in a thought which resulted in an action. Another example. You wake up in the morning feeling tired. You think to yourself, "I am so tired." And the rest of the day you can barely keep your eyes open because you are so tired. What you think results in the way you are, whether that is from an external factor or not. Your thoughts determine who you are.
Proverbs 23:7 says, "As a man thinketh, so is he." You think you are cold - then you are cold. You think you are tired, and you will be tired. You think you are feeling depressed, you will be! God has designed us this way. Whatever you think, you are. With this understanding we must then start to not only control our actions but to control our thoughts. If your thoughts determine who you become, then managing what you allow yourself to think should become more of a priority than ever.
Jesus explained this concept even further in the book of Matthew chapter 5 from verses 21-30. Up until this point, the people believed that only if they committed a crime such as adultery or murder were they liable to suffer the penalties of it. However Jesus shocks them by saying that even if you are angry with someone that you will be subject to the same judgment as someone who commits murder! He continued by saying that if you look lustfully at someone it's the same as having committed adultery! Your thoughts, in other words, are powerful. So often we believe that as long as no one knows what we are thinking then it is fine. But the truth is that Jesus knows our every thought. (Matthew 9:4). We cannot escape the fact that your every thought is accountable to the knowledge of Jesus Himself.
Recently I was counseling a young woman who is battling with severe thoughts of lust. She is consumed with it to the point where she believes she cannot stop herself. These thoughts of lust have led to a lifestyle of evil thinking and self satisfaction and are robbing her from the joy and pleasure of sexual intimacy which God intended for us as humans to experience in marriage. As we started talking, God showed me a picture of a bird flying over her head. This bird was circling around her head. It then came and settled upon her head and started to build a nest. The Lord showed me that we cannot stop the enemy from trying to place his evil thoughts of lust or greed or anger or sin in our minds. The enemy will do whatever he can to try destroy you through your thoughts. However, we can stop him from settling in our heads and building a nest there. So let's get practical about this.
When the idea / thought of lust comes into your head you then have a choice. You can choose to accept the thought and start building on it, by continuing the fantasy. You can allow that thought to take root and ultimately determine how you will behave. Or, you can take captive the thought, refuse it any further entry into your mind and rebuke the enemy (2 Corinthians 10:5). You can stop the bird from nesting in your head! It's your choice. That is where free will comes into play. Likewise, you can wake up in the morning and 'feel' depressed. You then have a choice. You can choose to let the bird of depression nest in your head, climb back into bed and let the enemy win. Or you can choose to pull that thought down and refuse to allow it to take root in your mind. Instead replacing it with God's way of thinking - "the joy of the Lord is my strength!"
Your thoughts do determine who you are. So choose wisely about what you think. When you feel yourself starting to think in a destructive way, steer yourself immediately into thinking towards God's ways. Meditate on God's words. Sing songs which will cause your mind to become focused on Jesus. Allow the Holy Spirit's gift of self-control to rise up within you. Accept this gift and control your thinking, remembering that you are what you think!