“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NCV)
Negativity is nothing new. Since Adam and Eve were first banished from the garden, life has been hard and we have been complaining about it. Too often other people or our circumstances cause us to feel offended, angry, or hurt, and to be reminded of our shortcomings and flaws. It is difficult to find peace and joy in such times.
Proverbs 4:23 was written by King Solomon. If you read chapter 4 you see that while Solomon was king, he didn’t focus on advising about royal matters. Instead, he spoke of things such as the value of controlling their thoughts, which determine how they felt and how they lived. Is teaching us to be careful how we think because the quality of our thoughts will always determine the quality of our life.
It doesn’t take a Ph.D. from Harvard to discern that we live in difficult times. Certainly “peace” would not be a word that we would use to describe the world we live in. The more likely words we would use would be pandemic, racial division, strife, and political division: The list goes on. It is easy to be discouraged and let negative thoughts run rampant in our lives.
Whatever our minds focus on is what will play out in our lives and eventually shape who we are. 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 be discouraged and negative. When we think negative thoughts, we feel negative feelings, leading us to believe life is negative overall.
The solution is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, try halting yourself and think of something positive. There are many Bible verses pertaining to our “minds” and “thoughts.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” Isaiah 26:3 adds, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” And finally Ephesians 4:23: “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”
Ask God this week to help us conquer our negative thoughts and focus completely on Him.
- What happens to us inside when we overemphasize negative things? How does our negativity influence others?
- What can you do this week to minimize the negative in our lives?