There is an old saying, “A penny for your thoughts,” which was usually uttered to somebody who was in deep contemplation. It might be “a hundred dollars for your thoughts” today. Typically, our thoughts are kept to ourselves since they are not meant for public scrutiny. Some thoughts may be so mysterious, provocative, and controversial that we would not reveal these thoughts for anything less than a million dollars.
I never had significant control over my thoughts. I can remember when I wanted to beat others up. I can remember when I wanted to have sex with beautiful women that I saw. I can remember when my thoughts were outrageous, but fortunately I never acted on many of my thoughts. I felt that I was better than others who lost control and committed murders, rapes, assaults, burglaries, and other deranged acts. However, I really was not better than anybody else, because I had given in to deranged thoughts.
In the Beatitudes found in Chapter 5 of Matthew, Jesus emphasized that we must have clean thoughts. I always believed that if I believed in God and did not, in fact, commit adultery or other bad acts, I was a good person, who would be eligible for God’s kingdom. But Jesus said that lusting for a woman is committing adultery in your heart. This goes beyond being saved by believing in Jesus as the sacrificial lamb for our sins. This goes beyond being saved by doing good deeds during our lives. It reaches into a completely new zone where only a small percentage will tread. Jesus instructed us in Matthew 7:14 that only a few of us will find this narrow path to Heaven. Only those few with clean thoughts will pass through the gate.
I would guess that all of us have allowed our emotions to invade our thoughts. We all have been angry at some point during our lives. I know that I have been, especially when I have to scream “representative” a hundred times in order to talk to a person on the phone. But Jesus said that anger could place us in jeopardy of not reaching the kingdom. Jesus appears to be telling us that our thoughts will be our primary activity after we die. Our thoughts may be the pathway to everything that happens to us from our death through eternity.
So, let’s stop and think about what Jesus may have been trying to say. We know that when we die, we will either be thinking or not thinking. Jesus appears to be saying that all of us will continue thinking whether we believe in God or not. Those of us who are thinking bad thoughts will be judged accordingly. Probably there will be just a few of us who will be thinking good thoughts, and these will have a better chance to pass through Heaven’s gates.
It actually makes sense if you think about it. If you are still thinking at death, your thoughts will be what take you in whichever path you follow. If your thoughts are clean, then you will take the high road; but if your thinking is faulty, then you will be on the low road. And the scary thing is that your good thoughts could turn into bad thoughts at any time during the process. By linking and unifying with God, you will have the best chance to stay on the right path.