“As a man thinks within himself; so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7 NASB) This simple yet powerful truth holds a major key to life transformation. Steven Covey says, “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” Note that it all begins with how one thinks.
Thinking is the inner processing by which we come to conclusions about life. It would be nice if thinking was a neutral, objective process, but it is not. Our thinking merely serves our value system. Whatever we value, our thinking tries to get it for us.
We do not all value the same things. Sometimes we value things that are not good for us. Sometimes we value good things, but not enough. Sometimes we value good things too much. Our thinking will support our values no matter what they are.
Imagine the underlying value-system of a heroin addicted person. It is such that if one were to offer a job or assistance quitting heroin to that person his thinking would help him avoid the job and the help. Additionally, it is the problem of the value system which produces thinking that approves of needle sharing.
When we speak of values, if we use terms like “right” and “wrong” we can quickly cut off dialogue, and we can miss the greater point that we may be over-valuing things that are harming us or are under-valuing things that could be of great benefit.
In a country that values individual rights at the expense of individual responsibilities, any discussion of values can result in accusations of rights infringement. It is true we have the right to value whatever we want as much as we want it. I have found this emphasis to be the origin of many dysfunctional lives.
Here at UGM of Salem, we believe God created life, and He created life to work a certain way. If we honor His design of us, life works better than if we disregard that design. It is our chosen values and their consequent results that reveal whether or not we are honoring our design.
While it can be challenging to address one’s values these days, we find, however, that addressing values is the only way to change the thinking and change the life. Therefore, the majority of our New Life Fellowship recovery program focuses on close examination of values. We are looking for false beliefs (thinking errors) and unhealthy attachments (values). If we can provide better alternatives that more closely match our human design, then we can help the man or woman regain success in living.