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Your Currently Most Dominant Thought

When I was in high school, they used to gather us in the basketball stadium for student assemblies, often “pep rallies” led by various motivational speakers.

(Yes, in Indiana, the high schools have basketball stadiums, not mere gyms-with-bleachers.)

(In fact, according to a 1998 article in The New York Times, 15 of the 16 largest high school gymnasiums were located in the state of Indiana.)

(And the gym at my high school, Carmel High School, which seats 4,000, doesn’t even rank in the top 50-largest Indiana high school gyms.)

But my point is about something one of those motivational speakers said at one of those pep rallies.

I don’t remember his name or background -- although something tells me he was an Olympic athlete of some sort -- but I’ve always remembered his main point:

“You move in the direction of your currently most dominant thought.”

That was intended as a helpful insight into the importance of positive thinking. An example he gave was from a baseball game, when a pitcher was facing a crucial situation. The coach called a time out to confer with the pitcher and said,

“Don’t throw it low and inside. This batter loves hitting low and inside pitches.”

Sure enough, the pitcher threw the next pitch low and inside. Why?

“Don’t throw it low and inside” is like saying, “Don’t picture a pink elephant” or “don’t think about a nice tall glass of lemon-iced tea right now.”

However the thought is stated, that is what we picture. And whatever mental picture is painted in our head, that is the direction we move.

We move in the direction of our currently most dominant thought.

I used to think of that as a simple “power of positive thinking” truth, but only applicable to sports or academics or in one’s career, whenever one needed to think positively about what one wanted to accomplish.

But lately I’ve come to realize it also has a spiritual, or theological, implication.

This was brought home when someone recently shared with me a similar quote from a preacher she’d heard:

“We become what the most important person in your life thinks you should become. If God is the most important person in your life, then you will become what you think God thinks of you. But you become ‘what you think’ God thinks of you.”

That’s why I spend so much time talking about how important our image of God is.

Because if it is true that we become what the most important person in our life thinks we should become AND if God is the most important person in our life, then we become what we think God thinks of us.

If we think God thinks harshly about us, we become harsh.

If we think God thinks judgmentally about us, we become judgmental.

If we think God thinks we are primarily sinners, we become primarily sinful.

On the other hand…

If we think God thinks kindly about us, we become kind.

If we think God thinks compassionately and mercifully about us, we become compassionate and merciful.

If we think God thinks we are primarily good-but-fallen -- that our hearts are created good but are under attack and in need of saving help -- then we become primarily good-but-fallen people who know their need of a helping Savior.

We move in the direction of our currently most dominant thought.

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