Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny. – Unknown
Our thoughts are important. Although they can’t be seen or heard by others, they are still quite real and can have a powerful effect on our lives and the lives of those around us. The things that occupy our thoughts can affect our lives in ways that can build us up or tear us down. They can lead us down the path that leads to peace, or they can take us down the road to destruction. Thoughts eventually become words and words become actions. Actions lead to habits, which eventually become our character, and our character has a profound effect on the path that our lives will take. That is why it is so important that we take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
When we give in to wrong thinking, we are walking down a path that leads to wrong feelings. Wrong thinking, focusing on the wrong things, can lead us to worry, to anxiety, to broken relationships, and, ultimately, it can destroy us by tearing us up inside, pulling apart our hearts and our minds. Where wrong thinking does not lead us is to peace. Perfect peace comes from God, and it involves our hearts and our minds. In his letter to the believers in Philippi, the apostle Paul was clear about what we need to focus our thoughts on to experience that peace. We must think about those things that are excellent and praiseworthy, things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8).
Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). He will always try to get us to buy into his lies, to control our minds and pull us away from the peace of God. But God’s Word is truth (John 17:17), and we must keep our thoughts focused on the truth of His Word. We must also think about things that are noble and right. These are things that are worthy of respect, things that are worthy of honor. We must focus on these things rather than on things that are dishonorable and displeasing to God. We must also think about things that are pure, lovely, and admirable. That means keeping our thoughts away from things that we know are morally wrong, such as sexual impurity, focusing rather on things that are beautiful in the eyes of God, things that are worth talking about. Our thoughts should be high and noble rather than the base thoughts of the world.
As followers of Christ, we should not waste our thoughts on things that would tear down us and those around us if we were to share those thoughts with them. Instead, we should focus our thoughts on God by filling our hearts and our minds with His Word. When we focus on God, when we fix our eyes on Him, not only will He keep us in His perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3), but He will also enable us to easily detect wrong thoughts when they try to creep into our minds.