Sow a thought; reap an act.
Sow an act; reap a habit.
Sow a habit; reap a character.
Sow a character; reap a destiny.
The thoughts of our hearts have a dominating influence upon our actions, which become habits issuing in the formation of character. We are admonished in Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” I recall Leroy Eims suggesting that we use this verse to help us determine which movies to watch at the theater. We should open the Bible to this verse, and match the description of what is said about the movie to the list of true, honest, just, pure, lovely, good report, virtue, and praise. We may smile at the attempt to choose our entertainment by this method, but only because it is so far removed from our practice. Our lives are continually bombarded with exposures that keep us on the defensive with our thought lives. And that is precisely where our enemy wants us to live; on the defensive. His lie to us is that you must stop gratifying the thoughts that are a part of our sinful nature in order to live by the Spirit. Scripture states just the opposite. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” By immersing our minds and thoughts continually in the scriptures and in prayer, the Holy Spirit forms a barrier to that which would assail our thoughts. Leroy Eims once stated “When is the last time you were tempted in your thought life while you were leading someone else to Christ? or praying at the bedside of a sick friend?”
We are not responsible for all the random thoughts that come our way, but we are responsible for what we do with them. To sow a thought means to allow it to be deliberately planted in the soil of our mind; to water it; to fertilize it; and to allow it to grow. What does scripture say about how to deal with these “random thoughts?” I have found the following three steps to be helpful.
1) Pray for protection from unwholesome thoughts. Psalm 139:23-24 relates “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
2) Bring the thoughts into the presence of Christ. II Corinthians 10:5 states “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” When I do what this verse suggests, I picture myself holding the thought by the neck and depositing it before the throne of Christ, asking Him to deal with it. It has been my experience that the Lord immediately dispatches that thought to whence it came, freeing me from its recurrence.
3) Some thoughts may not leave us because we have not dealt with the root cause. Ephesians 4:22-32 relate that change in some areas occurs only when we replace the old with the new. Suppose, for example, that I am continually troubled by envious thoughts about a colleague who has enjoyed success in an area where I have experienced failure. Perhaps it is irritation over someone who has taken some of my medical techniques and marketed them as his own. In addition to confession concerning envy, irritation, and pride; I must congratulate them on their recognition and begin praying for their continued success. Only then will I have put on the “new man” (Ephesians 4:24) in Christ.
As described previously; sowing a thought means deliberately planting it in good soil, watering it, fertilizing it, and allowing it to grow into its fruit, which is an act. Each of us have daily opportunities to sow God’s thoughts from the word of God into the soil of our lives. (Isaiah 55:8-9) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” As we water these thoughts with prayer, and fertilize them with the further study of scripture; acts of His righteousness are reaped in our lives. These acts lead to habits which will reflect the character of Christ. We can then say with the apostle Paul, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) What gain is Paul referring to here? It is to reap a destiny, a destiny for which we were created; to know, to love, to serve, and to worship God throughout all eternity.
In Christ, Richard Spann