As A Man Thinketh


It’s interesting how small conversations can stay with you. One such conversation occurred with my Dad over twenty-five years ago. I don’t recall why we were riding together in the car but this day found us traveling together over the countryside.  I don’t remember much about that day, the weather, the time of year, nothing…except an excerpt from our verbal exchange that day. I was talking about how a man who traveled a lot in his job might find it easier to be unfaithful because he was not really accountable for his whereabouts to his spouse.  And without accountability, he might be more inclined to yield to temptation. He replied, “You have a job like that!” I thought for a moment and said, “Well, I guess I do.” At the time my employment was very flexible. I traveled all over the state of Maryland and was only accountable to a boss who resided in Ohio. My wife never knew of my whereabouts during working hours,  nor was it a question of concern to her. That short exchange with my father taught me a lesson that day. I had made a statement that I believed to be true but that was patently false.  I was living the life that I thought was of greater temptation but my type of job  had not made it harder for me to be faithful to my wife, family and self. I discovered that in reality, it wasn’t the job that made it more difficult to be honorable in marriage, it was the type of man. I had bought into the myth that many men use to justify their infidelity. That somehow it was the circumstance, the job, the situation. It’s a lie! It isn’t any of that. It’s the character of the man! I was reminded that day of the great proverb:

“For as he thinketh in his heart; so is he” (Proverbs 23:7)

The lesson I learned that day can be applied to almost any aspect of our lives. We can justify almost all of our bad actions or sins by rationalization. It was a stressful time or I wasn’t thinking straight. Or, it was someone else’s fault I behaved badly or…name it, the list is endless.  And it is true that we are more vulnerable at certain times in our lives and prone to do wrong things that we normally might not do. But…still! Maintaining control of our thoughts and intentions of our heart can go a long way in helping us through difficult times. We are ultimately responsible for our actions!

I, like you, have been in thousands of 7-11’s in my lifetime. But its funny, because there are liquor isles in them all, and I have never walked down one to see what kind of wine or beers are available. In reality, that isle doesn’t exist for me. Why would I walk down it? What for? I’m not buying any of it so why should I even acknowledge that it is there? Consequently, I’ve never been tempted to buy any alcohol because it never crosses my mind that it exists, let alone that I might be buying it.  Our actions never come before our thoughts!

A small myth was dispelled that day for me. A fathers small insight to his son reaped large rewards. I was reminded of this proverb: “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee…Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding…give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways” (Proverb 23: 22-23, 26) My father taught me that day the old principle of “as a man thinketh in his heart, so he is”. And…so he is!

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