Mark Alan Williams
Remember two things in life: take care of your thoughts when you are alone
and take care of your words when you are with people. –Unknown
Take care of your thoughts when you are alone and take care of your words when you are with people. And I would add that we need to remember to take care of our thoughts and words all the time, regardless of whether we are alone or with people. That’s because the mind and tongue are two areas where Christians are especially vulnerable to temptation.
This is a guest post by Beth Harris. She is a wife, mother, Bible study leader and volunteer editor for markalanwilliams.net.
As a new believer, 30 years ago, I would get very upset whenever I had intrusive and unwanted thoughts. I didn’t know how to take care of my thoughts. I just knew as a Christian that they were wrong. It took time for me to memorize Scripture and then to begin using it to fight those thoughts.
Also, I’ve had to apologize and ask for forgiveness for the things I have said to people on many occasions. One time, I was finished at the pharmacy and I was convicted in the parking lot to return and apologize for my demanding words. I went inside and waited in line again to explain that I was a Christian and ask for the person’s forgiveness, which they graciously extended.
I’ve had to learn to remember to take care of my thoughts and words. I regularly ask God to help me govern my thoughts and control my speech. One of my favorite verses to use to resist temptation is James 4:7, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
“Take care” is a phrase that most people have often heard since childhood. We’ve probably been told by our parents, grandparents, friends and others to take care of ourselves. But how many people have told us to remember to take care of our thoughts and words?
This quote cautions us to remember two areas in life where we can get into trouble if we are not careful.
As Christians, we need to remember to take care of our thoughts and words at all times.
This secular saying contains Scriptural truth, because we know from the Bible that both the mind and the tongue can wreak havoc in our lives, if left uncontrolled.
The mind is a battleground where wars are waged, and battles can be lost or won on a daily and sometimes even moment by moment basis. We need to be prepared to fight and thankfully, Christians have the Holy Spirit to help us.
Romans 8:6 says, “So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” (NLT)
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through any the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.” (Romans 8:12-13 NLT)
We need to remember to pause regularly to be filled with the Holy Spirit and ask Him to govern our thoughts. It’s not a sin to be tempted, but if we entertain sinful thoughts, we are more likely to give into them and sin.
We need to take care of our thoughts by monitoring the things we read and view, as well as our email and social media. If we find ourselves tempted, then it’s best to un-follow, unsubscribe, and stop reading and looking at all suggestive material.
James 1:14-15 says, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” (NLT)
We need to take care of our thoughts by filling our minds with Scripture and letting God change the way we think.
Romans 12:1-2 says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice--the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (NLT)
In addition, the Apostle Paul gives us a wonderful list of things to think about in the book of Philippians.
Philippians 4:8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (NLT)
Thus, we should remember to also take care of our words, because our tongues can get us into a lot of trouble. The tongue is a restless evil; that also requires vigilant monitoring.
Remember, one day we may regret what we have said, because our words have the power to hurt others; and ultimately cause harm to ourselves.
Matthew 15:11 says, “It's not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” (NLT)
James 3:6 says, “And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” (NLT)
A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.” (Matthew 12:35-36 NLT)
How do you remember to take care of your thoughts and your words?
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Additional resources about related subjects on this site:
How to Handle Guilt and Stop Holding a Grudge Against Yourself
Podcast: Is it necessary to pray to be filled with the Spirit?
Video vlog: Wilderness Gardens Mill, the Word and the Spirit
Podcast: How can I overcome pornography?
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