Proverbs 4:21-27 Monday, Day 26
This teaching helps us to stop negative thoughts the very moment we receive them by applying the Word of God to our thinking.
Moments in Proverbs
As we wind down chapter 4, we see a lot of repeat of what Solomon has been saying many times over again. My personal thought here is that whenever we see Solomon saying to his son to give attention to his word or incline his ears to his saying is simply another time of teaching - like a teacher saying to a student on another day - "students, what we will learn today is of importance, (even though she,he is about to say something has been taught before), she is emphasizing the importance of knowing what she is about to repeat.
So that I don't repeat again what King Solomon has said in my own words, let me read verses 20-27 in a easy to understand paraphrased version, and I will stop when I want to footnote a verse.
Proverbs 4:20 child, pay attention to my words; listen closely to what I say. 21 Don’t ever forget my words; keep them always in mind. 22 They are the key to life for those who find them; they bring health to the whole body. 23 Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.
Now, let me stop here and talk about verse 23 - be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life:
I'm reminded of the scripture verse in 2 Cor. 10:5 where the Apostle Paul is telling the believers in Corinth to cast down arguments (or imaginations) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Let me start out by saying: Satan does NOT know what you are thinking, having no ability or capacity to do so, unless we speak them out. In addition, we are all creatures of habit. Our mannerisms are very predictable. Satan knows exactly how we respond to all situations, and will put the most outlandish thoughts in us - even evil thoughts. How you respond to those thoughts can be vital to your success in life. If you accept the thoughts Satan plants within you, meditating and feeding on them, they will eventually become a part of YOUR own thinking pattern. Since we usually put our thoughts to speach and action, we are in danger of bringing on our own destruction.
Did you know that you have the God-given ability to stop any negative imaginery thoughts, even in the middle of a thought? God would not have told you to take "every" thought captive to the obedience of Christ if He didn't give you the ability to do so. The very moment you realize you are thinking a negative thought, replace it with something that the Word of God tells you. Take a promise of victory and repeat it over and over. Turn those thoughts around to work in a positive direction for you. To begin with, it may take a while before you even realize you are thinking negatively. But when you do, that is the time to take action. Immediately replace that thought with one of God's thoughts - such as one of His promises toward you. Then pray and ask God to show you sooner when you get into negative thinking, and He will remind you. You can then take action again to stop those thoughts immediately. As often as Satan tries to put a negative thought in you, the more agressive you have to become. (Phil 4:8) Keep meditating on God's Word instead of those negative thoughts.
- Think on God's Word.
- Set your mind on the things of God - His promises, His blessings, His kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and every wonderful thing He has provided for you.
- Think about the answers, and the problems will be left behind.
- BUT if you think about the problems, sadly your answers will be left behind.
Because our minds have been trained to think negatively, replace it by speaking the positive things of God, even though your mind tells you something different. It will want to go right back to your old pattern of thinking - but don't allow it. Get right back into thinking what the Word of God says. In time, your mind will begin to think God's way!
Let's continue on and finish the chapter in a simple paraphrased version.
24 Don’t use your mouth to tell lies; don’t ever say things that are not true.
25 Keep your eyes focused on what is right, and look straight ahead to what is good. 26 Be careful what you do, and always do what is right.
27 Don’t turn off the road of goodness; keep away from evil paths.
Our mouths were never meant to lie, gossip, or say bad things to and about other people. We are called to love others as we do ourselves. We are called to edify one another, even though sometimes we are required to speak the truth in love....again I said...in love. As Christians, we carry a huge responsibility to those around us. Our flesh may want to do the opposite of what the Word of God says, but we must always remember, that we are ambassadors for Christ, always having within us the purpose of showing God's love to other people.
- We want to win the world for Christ, not repel them so they will go to hell.
So then, we must do what is right in all situations, and stay on the course, or path, that God has set before us.
There we have it - keep away from evil paths. Those ruts in our lives have to be the ruts or grooves set up by the Lord, or else Satan will lead us down his path - which only leads to evil and death.
Pastor Joyce Erickson