Perry Emerick – Mesa Campus Pastor
A while back there was a movie about a team of people who would enter people’s dreams and sub-conscious mind with the goal of planting a thought or idea that would take root and change the way the individual ultimately thought, and eventually their actions would change related to that thought. It is a pretty far fetched idea…that one could consciously join another’s sub-conscious and plant a thought. But the truth is, that often does happen, and sometime through the conscious mind.
Let me give you an example…have you ever been in a room with a group of people, and somebody in the room begins to sing or whistle a familiar tune, and then a few moments later you find yourself singing or whistling the same one? Or maybe you are hungry, and you overhear someone talking about going to In-n-Out, and soon after, you have this strong desire to go get a double double animal style? (You probably are now!) Or maybe you are thinking of buying a car and you hear someone talk about a certain brand or model of car, and whereas you used to never notice that car, you now see it all over the place and begin to imagine owning it? These of course are all innocent examples of the power of suggestion and the way tiny ideas can grow and influence action…and you were wide awake when they happened.
But there are some that are far more dangerous and impactful to your life as well. When someone plants a seed of discontent, complaining about something you hadn’t even noticed or considered, and you find yourself annoyed by it…even affecting your attitude. Or someone posts on social media a provocative picture and you find yourself dwelling on that image or the idea that it planted. Someone talks negatively about another person and you find yourself totally seeing the person being talked about in a different and critical way. It happens all the time. Sometime, we are the ones planting the ideas!
The inception of ideas often come from others and can cause a lot of harm, which is why the Bible is speaks of the need to not only guard what we take in, but also what we give out. Proverbs 4:23 admonishes us to “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This is seen of greatest importance…something to do above all other things. The writer of Proverbs also reminds us that “those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” Pr. 21:23 James also warns us to tame our tongues noting how “the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3:5-6 Those are some strong words!
We need to learn to guard against destructive ideas that can take root, while taming our tongues from sparking negative thoughts and behaviors in others. I believe this is why Paul gives us an alternative…a different perspective to focus on. It is found in his letter to the Philippians:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Phil. 4:8-9
What you think will influence what you do. Think about the things that will cause you to do what is excellent and praiseworthy…not for you, but for God!