As a Man Thinketh
All that a man achieves and fails to achieve is the direct result of his thoughts. Individual responsibility
must be absolute in a justly ordered universe where the loss of internal balance would mean total destruction. A
man’s weakness and strength, purity, and impurity are his own and not another man’s; they are brought about
by himself, and not by another; and they can only be altered by himself, never by another. His condition is also
his own, and not another man’s. His suffering and his happiness evolve from within. “For as he thinketh in his
heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). And, one might add, “As he continues to think, so he remains.”
A strong man cannot help someone weaker unless the weaker one is willing to be helped, and even then,
the weak man must become strong himself; by his own efforts, he must develop the strength he admires in
another. None but himself can alter his condition.
He who has conquered weakness, and has put away all selfish thoughts, will find he is neither an
oppressor nor oppressed. He is free. He acquires knowledge of the truth when he comes to know Jesus. A man can
only rise, conquer, and achieve by lifting his thoughts. He will only remain weak, downcast, and miserable by
refusing to lift his thoughts.
Before a man can achieve anything―even worldly things, he must lift his thoughts above selfish
indulgence. He may not, to succeed, give up all selfishness by any means, but a portion of it must, at least, be
sacrificed. A man whose first thought is indulgence could neither think clearly nor plan methodically; he could
not find and develop his inner resources and would fail in any undertaking. Not having control over his
thoughts, he is not in a position to control affairs and adopt serious responsibilities. He is not fit to act
independently and stand alone. Instead, he is limited by the thoughts which he chooses.
There can be no progress, no achievement without sacrifice, and a man’s worldly success will be in the
measure that he sacrifices his conflicting desires. You can’t have your cake and eat it too! Many life examples
offer themselves of people who brought disaster upon their lives simply because they could not control their
thoughts–unrestrained thoughts of pleasure, lust, avarice, and so forth. The higher the thoughts are lifted the
more upright and righteous one becomes; the greater will be his success, the more blessed and enduring will be
his achievements. The universe does not favor the greedy, the dishonest, and the vicious, although, on the
surface, it may sometimes appear to do so; it helps the honest, the generous, and the virtuous.
Spiritual achievements are the consummation of holy aspirations. The person who constantly lives in
pursuit of noble and lofty thoughts, who dwells upon all that is pure and unselfish, will, as indeed as the sun
rises, become wise and noble in character, and grow into a position of influence and blessedness.
Achievement, of whatever kind, is the crown of effort, the diadem of thought. A man ascends with self-
control, resolution, purity, righteousness, and well-directed thinking; if his thoughts are lazy, impure, corrupt,
and full of confusing thoughts, a man descends.
A person may rise to high success in the world―even to lofty altitudes in the spiritual realm―and again
descend into weakness and wretchedness by allowing arrogant, selfish, and corrupt thoughts to take possession
of him. Victories attained by right thinking are maintained by watchfulness. Many give way when success is
assured and rapidly fall back into failure. All achievements, whether in the business, intellectual, or spiritual
world, are the result of directed thought life, thoughts that are consistent in their exposure to that which is
righteous and holy.
He who would accomplish little need sacrifice little; he who would achieve much must sacrifice much;
he who would attain highly, however, must sacrifice greatly.