You Are What You Think - Proverbs 23:7

Proverbs 23:7 - You Are What You Think

Pixabay / Composition: Sue Chastain

If you struggle in your thought-life, then you probably already know that immoral thinking is leading you straight into sin. The Bible offers good news! There is a remedy.

Key Bible Verse: Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. "Eat and drink!" he says to you, But his heart is not with you. (NKJV)

In the New King James Version of the Bible, Proverbs 23:7 seems to imply that we are what we think. This idea has biblical merit, but the verse actually has a slightly different, somewhat complicated meaning. Contemporary Bible translations, like The Voice, give today's readers a better understanding of what the verse is really saying:

"For deep down he’s keeping track of the cost. He may say, 'Eat up! Drink your fill!' but he does not mean a word of it.'"

Nevertheless, the notion that our thoughts truly affect who we are and how we behave is solidly supported in Scripture.

As You Think, So You Are

What's On Your Mind? is an uncomplicated little book by Merlin Carothers which discusses in detail the very real battle of the thought-life. Anyone trying to overcome a persistent, habitual sin would benefit from reading it. Carothers writes:

"Inevitably, we have to face the reality that God has given us the responsibility of cleansing the thoughts of our hearts. The Holy Spirit and God's Word are available to help us, but each person must decide for himself what he will think, and what he will imagine. Being created in God's image requires that we be responsible for our thoughts."

The Mind and Heart Connection

The Bible makes it clear that our thinking and our hearts are inseparably linked. What we think affects our heart. How we think affects our heart. Likewise, the condition of our heart affects our thinking.

Many Bible passages support this idea. Before the flood, God described the condition of people's hearts in Genesis 6:5:

"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (NIV)

What we think in our hearts, in turn, affects our actions. Jesus Christ himself confirmed the connection in Matthew 15:19:

"For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander."

Murder was a thought before it became an act. Theft started as an idea before it evolved into an action. Humans act out the condition of their hearts through deeds. Our actions and our lives resemble what we think.

So, to take responsibility for our thoughts, we must renew our minds and clean up our thinking:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8, ESV)

Adopt a New Mindset

The Bible teaches us to adopt a new mindset:

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

The human mind can only be set on one thing—either the desires of the flesh or the Spirit:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:5-8, ESV)

The heart and mind, where our thoughts reside, represent our invisible, inner person. This inner person is who we are. And this inner person determines our moral character. For this reason, we are what we think. As believers in Jesus Christ, we must constantly renew our minds so that we don't conform to this world, but rather transform into the image of Christ:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2, ESV)
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Fairchild, Mary. "You Are What You Think - Proverbs 23:7." Learn Religions, Dec. 5, 2020, learnreligions.com/you-are-what-you-think-proverbs-237-701777. Fairchild, Mary. (2020, December 5). You Are What You Think - Proverbs 23:7. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/you-are-what-you-think-proverbs-237-701777 Fairchild, Mary. "You Are What You Think - Proverbs 23:7." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/you-are-what-you-think-proverbs-237-701777 (accessed May 18, 2021).