The importance and value of right thinking is today more than ever pressed upon people’s attention. Books, newspaper articles, and advertisements all show that there is a great interest in the working of the human mind and the rules of behaviour. Know your own mind, we are constantly told; train your thinking, it has a cash value as well as a cultural one; and the words of Solomon, in a garbled form, have become commonplace – “As a man thinketh so is he.”

“Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: for as he thinketh in his heart so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” What thoughts the man cherishes will at last find expression in act.

The control of thought, the selection and nurture of the good and pure, are the ways that help the formation of a good character. In the words of Paul, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil 4:8). And after thinking comes doing. “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Think on the good: copy the actions of those who have won the approbation of God as recorded in His Word, and the blessing of God follows. And since God is called the God of peace, we might conclude that the particular blessing is in the possession of the peace of God, which gives a peace of mind, and guards the heart and the thoughts in Christ Jesus (v7).

“Sow a thought, reap a character”

Just as the flow of liquid through a channel either fouls or cleanses according to the nature of the liquid, so does the flow of thought in the mind. There are some subjects which are not good for general discussion and as subjects of regular conversation. They must, human nature being what it is, be named on occasion, but for anyone to dwell on them continually is not good. “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks” (Eph 5:3,4). Sometimes conditions of work may be such that questionable talk is heard among one’s work-fellows; it becomes a danger that familiarity dulls the mind of its sensibility of the foulness of the talk. All the greater need then exists for the antiseptic application of the Word of God.

It is possible in ecclesial life for the consideration of some subjects, due to offence, being so prolonged that the mind acquires such a familiarity with some forms of speech that degeneration can gradually come upon us. The apostles’ admonition that such “becometh not saints” and are “not convenient” is overlooked.

Let us read the scriptures, and get to know the mind of the Spirit; matters then assume their relative place. Unpleasant matters are dealt with scripturally, and the energy is put into the development of the mind of Christ. “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

The Christadelphian, p510, 1934