James H. Cagle
Our thought life is the genesis for our practical life. The way we think determines the way we’ll act. We can’t think one way and live another way. When we try we become divided against ourselves and are hypocrites, and of all men most miserable.
Thoughts have moral value; “The thought of foolishness (silliness, frivolousness, folly, and perverseness) is sin” (Pr. 24: 9), and “The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord” (Pr. 15:26). When no act of evil has been committed the thought of evil makes one a sinner before God. (See Mt. 5:28). Someone said, “If you’re ashamed to do it before men you should be ashamed to think it before God.”
Thoughts have moral power and shape our morality and character. Therefore they bear fruit and have their reward; “I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts” (Jer. 6:19) and, “Then they that feared the Lord . . . that thought upon his name . . . shall be mine . . . spared” (Mal. 3:16, 17).
Science credits the brain as the source of our thoughts but the Bible gives our heart (our spiritual being) as the source (Mt. 15:18, 19; Pr. 4:23, 23:7 et al.). The brain is the bridge that spans the gap between the spiritual and physical. The heart secretes its thoughts into the brain and the brain articulates the thoughts of the heart and turns them into words and deeds. As a generator transforms the power of a river into electrical power and sends it into our home, the brain takes spiritual power and transforms it, in compliance to our will, into physical power and sends it to the tips of our fingers and tongue in the form of words and actions. Everything physical has a spiritual source.
This is how our inner man creates our outer world, society, our culture. It’s created as a result of our thought life and world view that we live by. Society is a reflection of the state of the heart of the general public. As all rivers flow into the sea, so all philosophies, and world views flow from individuals to the masses and influence the world for good or evil. And the world we have made is not very pretty. Something’s terribly wrong inside man.
This something is a sin nature. Man is void of the indwelling Christ, Who is received at the moment of repentance and faith in Him. The Christian is indwelt by Christ, and if his thought life is right, and he has the “mind of Christ,” he will be the salt and light in a corrupt and dark world. Victory through Christ’ lordship will be seen in his practical life if Christ is Lord of his thought life (II Cor.10:5).
The all-important and life changing question is still, “What think ye of Christ?” (Mt. 22:42).
When the mystery of the power of thought dawns upon us,
That strange awakening when the mind is first used,
When we first came to realize that we could think;
Not when our minds first had thought,
But when a willful thought was deliberately conceived.
It is then that the mind is quickened,
By the power of a single point of spiritual light,
And the thought life begins to take form
As the intellectual life is energized,
By an ideal to which it will conform.
Soon thereafter with our thoughts we learn to reason
And we can form a train of thoughts,
The old process that we call thinking,
A point of view or a one track mind,
Something we accomplished all by ourselves.
As sunlight spreads on the eastern horizon,
And ranges out and up across the morning sky,
Through the clouds its light is dulled and filtered,
Creating shades and shadows where the woods
Are barely distinguished in the midday shroud.
So is our thinking when at first it dawns upon us
Like a novelty we let it range o’er many things
Pursuing so many frivolous, foolish, fairies,
Having vain thoughts that are shallow and useless.
Or as the sunlight pierces through the cloud
With a concentration of a beam of brilliant light,
Directing its light and arresting our attention
To some pleasant and beautiful sight
Like a bed of scarlet roses crowning a far verdant hill.
So we must concentrate our thoughts on pure and noble things,
And we must give them our fullest attention,
As we silence every noise and ignore distractions,
As with our thinking we work to mold our man.
For our life is made of the thoughts we think.
James H. Cagle