Oftentimes in our confession we say, “Father, forgive me for I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed.” An interesting trinity of ways in which you can go wrong and even be destroyed by your own actions. In a past sermon I quoted James Allen, author of “As a Man Thinketh”:
You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.
I am far from a self-help, Norman Vincent Peale positive thinker, although I have nothing against it. However, it is true that our thoughts can influence the entire direction of our lives. There is such a thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy, in which you become what you fear most. Your thoughts may take you to pornography sites on the internet; your thoughts may bring you into states of rage. As they say, many crimes are committed out of the passion of the moment because lodging in your mind is such anger.
I have always felt that St. Paul has given us a big clue into how we need to be and act as people in the Book of Philippians when he talks about always rejoicing, always being thankful, and always using your good thoughts to speak well of others. In fact, when I was a bit hesitant about running the NYC marathon, I was told by the then-director of the Rye YMCA to repeat these words: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. I did that for 26 miles – it made a difference in my attitude and endurance.
My advice: go and do likewise.