Thoughts are the product of ones mental activity, what one thinks of or processes in ones thinking faculty. It’s an idea, notion, reflection, opinion, reasoning, imagination or philosophy. Our thoughts are largely based on our feelings, views, judgements, contemplations and deliberations. Thus, people have different opinions about different issues and you hear avowals or declarations like ‘I am entitled to my own opinion’ which is undeniably very true.
Proverbs 23:7 is one of the most popular scriptures quoted and advocated by many Pastors, motivational speakers and self-help proponents and protagonists. It has also become a truism used in many writings and amongst many writers of today. The general idea from this scripture quoted out of context is that one can become what one thinks. In other words, think wealth and wealth would definitely come running after you. Think poverty and poverty comes knocking on your door. These are ideologies majorly propagated in most of our Churches today.
Some organisations call it positive thinking, whilst some call it the law of attraction. According to the law of attraction, when you want or desire anything all you have to do is imagine it (process it in your thoughts), believe it and speak what you have visualized. In other words, what you imagine and confess is what you become and possess. They claim to have the power within to speak things into existence. So if you don’t want the negative things of life, you would be advised to think and talk positively.
There are books that have referred to this scripture (Proverbs 23:7) and the bulk of their writings, end up advising and proclaiming that when one thinks the right thoughts again and again, one automatically becomes those thoughts. This is the only place where this quotation is found in the Bible.
So do we really become what we think? If this were true, it gives a connotation that one would be in one’s own world, manufacturing things and becoming things that one can think of, entailing and inferring that we have become gods. And from the perspective of the Church, why would I need to believe in Jesus since I can get and become all that I want because I have the ‘powerful tool of thinking’?
Before we go ahead in this discourse, let us look at the meaning of the scripture being referenced: “As a man thinketh, so is he” Proverbs 23:7 (KJV).
This portion of scripture was given by Solomon as a word of advice. And it implies that when one is in an environment of affluence or one is before an influential person, royalty or a rich man, Solomon advised that one ought to be very careful especially with regards to ones idiosyncrasies or mannerisms. The person should not gobble the food, nor talk with the mouth full, nor stuff-up oneself with too much food but by having control or bridle over ones appetite.
He further advised that, because one is before a prominent person, the ambience could be deceiving and one might readily begin to think of becoming like the influential person. He advised that we should not wear ourselves out trying (desperately) to become rich: we ought to have or exercise restraint in the process of seeking for money. In other words, there must be a limit in our quest for money.
So why did he say this? Solomon has said this because riches give a false confidence of what one is not. He said riches could disappear in the blink of an eye; wealth sprouts wings and flies off into the wind blue yonder. Look around you and ask yourself a question: why do I have so many friends and people around me? Some are genuine, some are not; some are there when things are supposedly fine with you and some for other reasons known to them. The society of today will relate to you positively or negatively based on the influence or affluence they think you have. The things of this world will not make us happy, they have no place or portion in the soul; those that hold them ever so fast, cannot hold them too long.
Let’s continue to examine the advice from Solomon – who’s had a wealth of life experiences thus advising us accordingly.
Now Solomon talks about the stingy man and advises that one should not accept a meal from the stingy man. Not just a meal, but also one should not accept anything special from them because the stingy man will treat you like he treats himself; he is stingy to himself. He would ask you to eat and drink yet he means no word of his request to you. In other words, beware of the deceitful men whose courtesies even you will repent of having accepted; his words eventually are a sham.
That was all Solomon said regarding this scripture. He did not give a principle on how you can become a god to yourself, like many have made it to be. Since Solomon didn’t say this, who then is authorised to say or imply otherwise or is this just a mere concoction? I will presume it’s the latter because we are so good at improvising and making up things.
Mankind has a fallen structure because of our progenitors and ancestors – Adam and Eve. They were chased from the Garden of Eden thus; Man came into planet earth as dead on arrival. We were born into a dark and evil world controlled and manipulated by the Devil. He has contrived (deliberately created rather than arising naturally or spontaneously) a phony righteousness, which appeals to human arrogance and people now presumptuously believe they can merit or earn God’s approbation through their efforts. Bible describes him as the god of this world, the master counterfeiter, the adversary, the accuser and he remains the irreconcilable enemy of God. He retaliated by inundating and flooding the world with counterfeit and false doctrines.
The world is called Kosmos in the Greek language, describing an orderly, cohesive system and organization with a purpose, policy and structure of authority designed to subvert the thinking of the human race. It is a vast order or system that Satan has promoted which conforms to his ideals, aims and methods. It is civilization functioning apart from God – a civilization in which none of its promoters really expect God to share, who assigns to God no consideration in respect to their projects; nor do they ascribe any causativity to Him.
Many Pastors fall under (by their messages) neutralizing faith with human works and to compliment this pseudo-spirituality, Satan emulates the power of God. Many are already deceived by this sham power signs and wonders performed by the devil’s disciples.
This is why a successful strategy in Satan’s repertoire is to promote teachings like this, distorting and twisting the Word of God, superficial understanding of cosmic thinking and worldliness (human viewpoints) among believers.
Jesus said “take no thought saying, what will you eat, drink or what cloths we are going to wear for our Heavenly father knows that we have need of such”. He did not say think and you become your thoughts. The statement was more of drawing our attention to the fact that we can trust God for our tomorrow. Matthew 6:33
Isaiah in his description of the heavenly protocol and order said, “His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than ours”. Isaiah 55:8-9.
Knowing that we have this fallen structure, we can then confirm that the thoughts within us will only and continually be evil unless we get help from somewhere. Paul disclosed this when he said and paraphrased that, ‘I know what good is and I know what evil is, but when I want to do good, the power to do it isn’t there. When I want to do evil, I find out that there is plenty power to do evil, which means that there is evil (the fallen structure) constantly present with me’. He screamed out of frustration that he needs help so that when he wants to do good, there would be enough energy supplied to carry out the good in spite of the evil present with him.
He also said that the weapon of our warfare are not man made but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds which are imaginations, thoughts and reasoning which are contrary to the knowledge of God and lastly bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
To say this differently, the weapons that come through God are for the smashing and warping of philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.
I don’t think we can really become our thoughts. If this were possible, some would have become the Queen of England, become Barack Obama, become Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and in fact some would have become a private jet.
But really, we can only become that which is written about us in the volumes of the book, engraved and carved by the Almighty: who is, all knowing, all powerful and present everywhere at the same time; to Him be glory forever more.