Your Thoughts RUN Your Life!
Proverbs 4:23 is such a powerful passage; it conveys a vital principle that’ll determine the very course of your life! It says: “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” The preface “above all else” indicates that guarding your heart is of the utmost importance and therefore you need to make it a top priority in your life. Your heart is the core of your mind and things get rooted in your heart based on your thought life and the ideas, desires or fears you choose to meditate on, that is, feed. This explains why the New Century Version of the Bible — a paraphrase — translates the verse like so:
Be careful what you think for your thoughts run your life.
Proverbs 4:23 (NCV)
Be careful what you choose to think about — impulses, inclinations, worries, desires, fears, etc. — because what you decide to dwell on in your mind will run your very life! Notice again how the NIV puts it: Guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life. The word “wellspring” in the Hebrew is totsa’ah (rhymes with matzah ball), which means “source” or “geographical boundaries.” In other words, whatever you allow to occupy your heart — your thought life — ends up being the source of your very life and determines your geographical boundaries; that is, how far you go or how far you don’t go. Put differently, what you allow to get rooted in your heart determines what you will be!
This corresponds to what Jesus said: “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart” (Luke 6:45). People produce according to what’s in their heart. This is why the Bible likens the human heart to soil, as shown in the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:1-15). Just as soil is neutral and grows whatever is planted in it — whether quality produce or weeds & thornbushes — so the heart is neutral and grows whatever you allow to get rooted in it, whether good or bad, productive or destruction, beautiful or hideous, pure or profane. This explains Paul’s instructions to meditate on positive things in Philippians 4:8 because whatever you meditate on inhabits your thought life and will get lodged in your heart. You thus produce accordingly.
This reminds me of a letter that a pedophile in prison wrote to Ann Landers years ago. He confessed that he was a pedophile and that his time in prison had not set him free — the walls could not change him. There was this monster in his heart, he said, and when he would be released in 7 months he was going to continue to do the very monstrous things that got him sent to prison in the first place. Why? Because he was in bondage to this evil desire that was lodged in his heart. In other words, this wicked desire that he allowed to get rooted in his heart by occupying his thought life was literally determining the course of his life! The good news is that there’s hope for people like this if they’re willing to humbly turn to the LORD in repentance & faith, receive spiritual rebirth and put into the practice the wisdom of God’s Word (e.g. Isaiah 55:6-9).
Needless to say: Be careful what you think for your thoughts run your life!
For more details on this topic view the corresponding video here.
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