Jesus said, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mark 12:30). Paul, writing to the Philippians, urged that we should use our minds to meditate and reflect on whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, gracious, virtuous and praiseworthy. Said Paul,
“Think about these things” (Philippians 4:8).
A great preacher of the nineteenth century, Thomas Chalmers, preached a memorable sermon on the topic, “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.” In this discourse he sought to prove that the best way to cast out a wrong affection is to invite a right one. In the same way, we can drive out a low thought by putting a high one in its place. Banish the unclean by entertaining the pure.
We should think on these higher, nobler things, too, because thinking is the manipulation of memories. The brain is a memory machine. We cannot think of things that we do not have some memory of. Even so-called new thoughts, or insights are, at best, rearrangements of patterns of ideas or experiences stored in our memories.
How important it is, therefore, that we store up the proper memories. We turn to the storehouse of memory and find that our stock of the true, the honest, the just and the pure is low because we failed to build up our resources.
Reading the Bible and other good books, attending church, seeking the company of good people are some of the ways we can go about storing up worthy memories. If you want to bring forth good things, see that your treasured memories are of the best.
Thoughts are the basis for action. Solomon wrote in his proverbs, “For as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7 NKJV).
Let us face the truth, then, that we cannot think low thoughts and expect to perform high actions. Paul admonished: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
We all have recollections of moral failures and wrong choices. But such memories can lose their guilt-ridden, peace-destroying power if we will confess them to God and believe in His loving willingness to forgive. Then, with Paul, we can say, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13).
Bramwell Tripp, To the Point