“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NCV)

Negative thoughts are much like a needle in a groove. As the groove gets deeper and deeper, the needle has a harder time getting out of the grooves. In the same way negative issues become magnified in our mind. They control how we feel in the morning and at night. They dictate how we react to situations or conversations. They constantly drift toward focusing on our unhappy circumstances. reminding us of our shortcomings and flaws and stealing our peace and joy. Negative thoughts can weigh down not only our emotions, but our outlook on life, including spiritually.

Proverbs 4:23 give us wise advice on dealing with thoughts: “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” This passage was written by King Solomon. Solomon didn’t focus on advising about royal matters like how to handle money, job responsibilities or best tips for leading the kingdom. Instead, he spoke of more important things such as the value of controlling their thoughts, which determine how they felt and how they lived. Solomon teaches us to be careful how we think, because the quality of our thoughts will always determine the quality of our life.

Whatever our minds focus on is what will play out in our lives and eventually shape who we are. Our thoughts turn into feelings that have the power to control our lives, gradually steering us and possibly our faith, in a direction we do not want to go. King Solomon knew this to be true, and counsels us to be careful about what we think and feel. He knew it’s often our thoughts, not our circumstances, which cause us to falter. And that is especially true of negative thoughts.

When we face disappointment, when people offend us, when problems seem to multiply, negative thoughts can create a stronghold.  When we think negative thoughts, we feel negative feelings, leading to believing life is negative overall. The  truth is that when we intentionally change our thoughts, our life changes as well.  It is times like this when we need to embrace God’s truth and keep our mind fixed on Him. God can fill our minds with optimism and help us learn to transform our thoughts, heart and life.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why is it so easy for negative thoughts to find a stronghold in our mind? 
  2. What can we do this week to challenge negative thoughts?