Earl Nightingale is considered by some as the “father of personal development”, and is considered to be one of the great thinkers and inspirational men of our time. In “The Greatest Secret,” Earl makes the discovery that “we become what we think about”. Earl goes on to state: “success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” Earl may have been speaking more about success in a secular sense. But is there a message here for our Christian journey?
In a previous 4thdayletter, Who Are You Feeding, I touched on the topic of spending our thoughts on Christ. In Cursillo, we learn about the importance of having an authentic ideal and I wrote about it in Piety as an Ideal. We learn that an ideal is the combination of ideas, hopes and preferences which attract a person and propel him/her forward to attain a goal. Further we learn that in order to put on the mind of Christ we must allow Christ to incarnate us. We must first be transformed to allow Christ to touch others through us. So how do we achieve this progressive conversion? We look back to Earl’s secret, “we become what we think about”
Throughout the ages great thinkers have had this to say:
“A man’s life is what his thoughts make it.” -Marcus Aurelius
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.” – Buddha
“A man is what he thinks about all day long.” -Ralph Waldo EmersonOf course we all know the real Father of personal development and Lord of our life is our saviour Jesus Christ. So, what does Jesus have to say? He says this in Mark 12:28-31:
“One of the scribes,when he came forward and heard them disputing and saw how well he had answered them, asked him, “Which is the first of all the commandments?” Jesus replied, “The first is this: ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
And in Matthew 7:7-8 He says this:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
If we are called to love our Lord God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, how are we doing? If we become what we think about and if we want to become Christ-like Christian people, we must orient our thoughts to God. So, what do we spend our time thinking about? How much time do we spend thinking about God each day? Notice Jesus did not say, “Love me with some of your heart, your soul, your mind and strength. No He said ALL!”
If we truly seek a progressive conversion as a Christian we must spend our time thinking about our God. We must talk with and listen to Him in daily prayer. We must put on the mind of Christ through daily study of Scripture and other Christian writers. By doing these things, and with His grace, and through faith we will become the person God calls us to be. Don’t keep the secret a secret. Let everyone know the power of thinking about Jesus Christ!
Please know that I wrote this just before leaving for my 8 day silent retreat. I will be on retreat from November 12th-19th. I assure you I will offer everyone who reads the 4thdayletters up in prayer during this time. Please pray for me as well.
Heavenly Father please keep our thoughts always focused on you. Amen.
If you want to listen to Earl’s talk on the Strangest Secret you can click here and hear his entire talk.