In his book Influence, Dr. Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University relates the story of a jewelry store owner who was preparing to go on vacation and left tasks for her staff to perform. She had a line of jewelry that hadn’t been selling well, and she wanted the price cut in half. In her haste, however, she left a note that was unclear. When she returned, she was delighted to find that every piece of the jewelry was gone. She was, however, shocked to find that her staff had doubled the price of the jewelry. The pieces that hadn’t been selling went out the door immediately once the price was raised because it changed the way people thought about them.
Our thoughts determine our actions. What seems to us to be shocking and out of character behavior would be explained if we could see the thought processes that had been going on internally. Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45).
It is impossible to do rightly while thinking wrongly for an extended period of time. What is inside will come out. If you want your life to be marked by righteous actions, you must think righteous thoughts. That is why Paul wrote, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).