“Be careful what you think, your thoughts run your life” (Proverbs 4:23, The New Century Version). This same verse is translated by the NIV as “Guard your heart, for it’s the wellspring of life.” Heartfelt thoughtfulness is likened to the inner source of strength for the vitality of our livess…out of which pours forth blessing, honor, grace, peace, encouragement and love. The Bible is replete with examples of how a thoughtful heart pleases God and empowers others. What are the thoughts which are resident deep within your heart today?
In one of his concluding admonitions, the Apostle Paul urges the Church in Philippi with this clear exhortation, “Finally, brothers and sisters, 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” (Phil. 4:8). These eight attributes of a thoughtful heart are worthy of our consideration as well.
1. True: all that’s agreeable to the unchangeable, eternal truth, both in God’s Word and in the natural world
2. Noble: whatever is honest, grave, or venerable in speech, in contrast to levity and frivolity that withholds integrity
3. Right: that which is just between two individuals and in relationship between God and humankind, in opposition to injustice, violence and oppression
4. Pure: whatsoever is virtuous in word and deed, in agreement with the will of God and promotes holiness of heart and life
5. Lovely: that which cultivates and increases love, friendship, and cordiality among individuals, and which is lovely in the sight of God
6. Admirable: of good report, well spoken of, which leads to a name and a reputation which is precious, respectful, kind and virtuous
7. Excellent: the virtue of promoting the general good of all, with outstanding merit, gracefulness, and godly intent
8. Praiseworthy: deserving commendation by others due to the stewardship and generosity offered to all who cross one’s path
A thoughtful heart considers ways to fan into flame these eight attributes, all of which contribute to the health of the body and the expansion of the kingdom of God. When righteousness and holiness dominate our thoughts, then our hearts and lives are expressed in agreement with the seeds planted in our minds. The most thoughtful people in our lives believe the best of God for the totality of our days, and pour courage into our hearts as a result. Choose thoughtfulness toward others and think about these things, letting them penetrate the deepest recesses of your spiritual mind and activate the richest charity toward others.
When the believer in Jesus Christ both practices and recommends these eight thoughtful exhortations, then the heart of the gospel of Jesus Christ is fulfilled through the heart of the Church, for the sake of the heart of another, and for the expansion of the Kingdom of God here on earth. The thoughtful heart is a true reflection of God’s heart, forever considerate of our best interests and our greatest needs. Will this become your prayer and the choice of your will as well?