The Final Trail of Thinking
We have nearly completed our current trek, as we are visiting the 12 waypoints on the Trail of Thinking where we have sojourned for the last 7 notes. So far, we have stopped by waypoints 1-11 and have only 1 more waypoint to visit.
I encourage you to apply each waypoint to your life so that you can become more wise and successful. If you have missed any of the previous Wisdom Notes, please go back and read them first. We certainly don’t want to leave anyone behind.
As when we ended each of the previous notes, I asked you to deliberate on two more questions:
- Am I continually considering others and their journey in order to think with maximum cooperation?
- Do I stay focused on productive thinking so that I can gain the maximum results and reap the full potential of my thinking?
Study these weekly questions, and then apply them to your life. Doing so will radically change your thinking and gradually change your life. Just like our trek in life, progress is usually slow and may be burdensome but is required to become wise and successful.
As we reach waypoint #12 today, we are switching our focus from how to think and are concentrating instead on what to think about.
12. Concentrate on What You Think About
As we consider this last waypoint, I am reminded of a quote I recently came across from Peter Lord that I feel is quite appropriate as we look at how to concentrate on what you think about.
“We have no control over how we feel, how we act — our attitudes, and actions — except as they are determined by our thoughts. All these elements are irrevocably tied together. But since we do have control over what we think, it is possible to control our attitudes and actions…All thoughts can be divided into two basic categories: true and false. The thoughts that come from God are true. He is the God of all truth and has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and to guide us into all truth. If I can receive God’s thoughts, I can think the truth. Therefore I will have the right attitudes and actions. How do you get the air out of a glass? By filling it with water. How do you get rid of wrong and untrue thoughts? By filling your mind with true and right thoughts from God. The control of our thought life, then, comes by thinking God’s thoughts with Him,” Peter Lord.
“Since we do have control over what we think, it is possible to control our attitudes and actions.”
I recently reread a short book by James Allen titled “As a Man Thinketh” in which the core foundation is taken from Christ’s teaching in Luke [6:43]-45,
“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thorn bushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. 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. What you say flows from what is in your heart.”
Remember in Scripture that many times the word heart and mind can be used interchangeably as they refer to our internal thought process and reservoir.
“What you say flows from what is in your mind.”
In the chapter “Effect of Thoughts on Circumstances,” James Allen puts it this way, “Man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth (or produce). If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed-seeds will fall therein and will continue to produce their kind…
Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and beard its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit; bad thoughts, bad fruit.
Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results. Bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles. Men understand this law in the natural world, and work with it. But few understand it in the mental and moral world (though its operation there is just as simple and undeviating), and they, therefore, do not cooperate with it.”
While I don’t agree with James Allen’s entire premise, the core ideas of his book are solid. Our lives reflect and are a product of what we think about.
In God’s divine sovereignty, there are exceptions to these basic laws of humanity. There are situations where seemingly bad things do happen to good and positive people. The book of Job illustrates this concept. Also, innocent people do suffer at times at the hands of those who are not. In most cases, though, our lives reflect what we have planted in our minds.
“A person does not attract that which they want, but that which they are.”
I would encourage you to read “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen. It is available to read online for free on several websites and only takes about 30 minutes to read in its entirety.
Waypoint #12: Concentrate on What you Think About can be summed up in the letter written to the Church in Philippi by the Apostle Paul.
Philippians 4:8 reads, “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. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me — everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
We need to learn and then adopt the thinking habits described in today’s podcast. It is then we will become wise and successful people. Remember though, it is not enough just to learn something. We must also put it into practice for it to become effective.
Focus Question: “Do you concentrate on what you think about as much as how you think?”
Based on your answers to all 12 of these questions, where are you strongest? In what kind of thinking do you need to grow?
Develop in any of those areas, and you’ll become a better thinker. Master all that you can, especially the process of concentrating on what you think about.
As your guide, friend, mentor, and fellow sojourner, I encourage you to “keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me — everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you,” Philippians 4:9.
In our next note, we will take a hard look at life and realize that sometimes you just have to “Suck it Up and Deal With It,” especially with those events over which we have little or no control.