The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is the simple fact that we are the result of our thoughts. Whatever one is today, it is the result of thoughts yesterday, last week, or last year. No one is able to say or do something without first thinking it.
The writer of Proverbs 23:7 wrote: “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” James Allen took this thought and wrote a literary essay entitled “As a Man Thinketh” and published it in 1903. The essay is now in the public domain in most countries of the world. It is available in book form at this site. The book is a true classic and has been widely read; it has stood the test of time for it carries a profound message. As a Man Thinketh begins:
Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes
The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: --
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass.
Matt Walsh published an interesting essay about this subject entitled “Christians, Now Is Probably a Good Time to Stop Watching `Game of Thrones’” that thoroughly explains the current topic.
After admitting that he makes bad choices at times, Walsh explained, “… I recognize, even in those moments, that entertainment is not a neutral exercise. In every instance, it’s going to be a net positive or a net negative for my mental and spiritual welfare. I am inviting these messages, images, and ideas into my mind. I am doing something that is active and purposeful, and it will either help me or hurt me in the end.
“Music, movies, TV, games – we spend so much of our lives wrapped up in all this stuff because it affects us. There’s a reason why, in this economy, Americans still commit an inordinate amount of their income to cable bills, Netflix accounts, movie tickets, and video games. It’s important to us. Too important, clearly. But even in proper proportion, this is art, and art is a powerful thing. Art says something to us and about us. It drives us. Art moves the heart and the mind in a particular direction. It can pull us closer to Him or push us further away, but whatever it does, it does something.
“So anytime we sit in front of the tube, we should ask: Am I progressing or regressing? Is this drawing me to God or away from Him? What am I getting out of this?"
Walsh ends his essay by saying that we need to get a higher standard for our entertainment. This is true whether our entertainment is oral, visual, written, etc. The mode of the entertainment is not important, but the content is. Our minds are like a computer, and they record every thought, word, and action we have. They are put in some “file” in our brains and kept for ready access when we want it. If our thoughts are good and pure, they will lead us on the upward path. If our thoughts are otherwise, they will take us on the downward road. We become what we allow ourselves to think. We can cast out bad thoughts and replace them with good ones, but we must constantly be on guard to keep the bad thoughts at bay. It is much better to stop viewing entertainment that brings bad thoughts than it is to try to control them once they are there.
When we stand before the judgement seat of God, we will be judged on our thoughts, words and deeds (Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mosiah 4:30). We will not be able to hide any of them because they will determine the person we become. We are the results of our thoughts – good or evil. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he!