Finally, brothers, 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. (Philippians 4:8-9)
Centuries ago a man by the name of Erasmus wrote, “We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny.”
Though there are some events that occur in life which we can’t control, a huge part of what we experience is the direct result of the decisions we make along the way. We cannot blame everything on God or Satan. Sometimes we experience sadness and discouragement, not because God has failed us, but because we have allowed ourselves to entertain negative thoughts. Sometimes we commit sinful actions and blame it on the overwhelming power of Satan, when in reality, leading up to that point we have allowed sin to reign in our mortal bodies. (Rom 6:12) Sometimes we fail to see our spiritual walk prosper and we say that God does not bless us as He blesses others, when the truth is – we have failed to put into practice the things we already know to do. Brethren, ‘Faith without works is useless.’ (Jas 2:20)
I have often shared with the folks at Twin Oaks the turning point in my life when I finally yielded to the Lord’s call to enter the ministry. For years I had been struggling with the decision, questioning whether or not God was calling me. Back and forth I went until one Sunday night my pastor spoke on James 4:17, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” That night I realized that the only way I would ever enter the ministry was by taking that first step of obedience. The only way I would ever know more of God’s will was for me to follow the part of His will that He had already revealed. The only way I would experience His peace was to be submissive to His plan.
Too much of our Christianity is ‘reactive’ rather than ‘proactive.’ Paul tells us that we must choose the things that we will allow to fill our minds. We must actively put into practice the things we have already learned to do. According to Erasmus, ‘The thoughts we choose to sow today will have a direct bearing on the destiny we will reap tomorrow.’