“The desire of the righteous ends only in good; the expectation of the wicked in wrath.”Proverbs 11:23
The character of the person who seeks righteousness thinks about and desires things that are good. The character of the person who seeks calamity for others or pushes others down to build himself up will find the wrath of God upon his pride and wicked desire. Many places in God’s Word discuss the concept of thoughts, words, actions, and character being connected (Genesis 6:5, Matthew 15:11, and James 3:10 to name a few).
Solomon, here, expresses a simple axiom that is the basis for many versions of this wisdom seen in many cultures around the world. A version of the quote below has been reiterated by famous philosophers and writers such as Gandhi, Voltaire, Stojanovic, Bergson, Chia, Marcus Aurelius, Alfred Roberts, and Margaret Thatcher, and is also credited as a Chinese Proverb:
Be careful of your thoughts,Unknown
Your thoughts become your words.
Be careful of your words,
Your words become your actions.
Be careful of your actions,
Your actions become your habits.
Be careful of your habits,
Your habits become your character.
Be careful of your character,
Your character becomes your destiny.
I have often said to my children, “The truth is true no matter how much you argue over it.” This truth, spoken by the wisest man and not only in Proverbs 11:23 (versions of this also in Proverbs 4:23-24 and 23:7), reminds us that what we think about governs and guides what becomes our character. Therefore, we should mind what we think about, and teach our children to do the same.
Father, in Jesus’ Name and by the Holy Spirit, praise and honor belong to You because You are worthy and because You have given us direct access to You.
Lord, I praise You because You have shown us what righteousness looks like through…
Because You are the only righteous One, I give You thanksgiving and praise because…
Father, forgive me for the wicked thoughts that I have when…
Lord, give me the strength to take captive the wicked thoughts I have of… (consistent distracting subjects)
Spirit, strengthen me to focus on You when I encounter conversations that… (lead me away from righteousness)