Thoughts-Attitudes-Actions

This Sunday we will continue our series on James by talking about the tongue in James 3:1-12. When James talks about the tongue, he’s talking about our speech. One of the concepts we won’t go into detail about on Sunday is the role our thoughts play in our words, so I want to talk about how our thoughts impact our words in this post.

Biblical Foundation

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”- Colossians 3:1-2

Colossians 3:1-2 forms a strategic point in this epistle as Paul moves from talking about what we need to know (Chs.1-2) to talking about what we need to do (Chs.3-4). The transitional piece between knowing and doing is winning the battle of the mind, or as he puts it setting our minds on thing above.

Last week in James 1:19-27 we learned this: Authentic Christianity is a life of receiving and doing the word. The task of receiving the word, or believing and trusting in faith that what God says is true, is in many ways a reaffirmation of what Paul is saying Colossians- the Bible, which is where Christ’s Spirit focuses us on Christ, is where our minds must be focused.

Thoughts -> Attitude -> Actions

So, why does the Bible make such a big deal about your thoughts? Here’s the answer: our thoughts lead our hearts. The truth of God’s word MUST override the emotions we feel. This does not mean that our emotions will always be in conflict with God’s Word, but when they do conflict, God’s Word always wins. How I feel about something is never more important than what God thinks.

Thus, for the believer, our thoughts ultimately lead our attitudes or emotions. The attitudes/emotions we carry will influence our actions. This influence starts with our body language, but eventually moves to our words.

For example, if I’m upset with someone because I think they’ve wronged me, it’s only a matter of time before that attitude manifests itself in my actions. The more I sit and think about how wronged I’ve been, the more upset I become. The key in this situation is to let God’s Word drive my thinking and thus my feeling.

Rather than thinking about being wronged, I must let the gospel inform my thinking- I am child of grace who stands forgiven by the Creator and King of the Universe. If indeed I’ve been wronged, I must let that situation run through the filter of the gospel. Once I remember how forgiven I am, I am leading my heart to the goodness and kindness of grace. This in turn brings a very different response in my actions, and especially in my words.

As we will learn this Sunday, our words overflow from our hearts (Luke 6:45) and our hearts are led by our thoughts. See you Sunday and invite a friend!

Luke 6:45- “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”