Did you know that the average person receives forty-six notifications a day to their phone? While that’s only two per hour, it doesn’t include the persistent news we get from text messages, TV, Googling, and conversations.

I love technology and how it enables us to be more connected, but the frequency in which we’re receiving information makes it harder for us to process our own personal lives while filtering the world. Deaths, wars, layoffs, stocks, and failures are just a few of the things we have to process. Occasionally we are fortunate to add some good news to the mix, but it’s often and quickly overshadowed by another misfortune.

Unfortunately, if we’re not conscious and intentional about processing the daily influx of information, we’ll find ourselves cold, numb, and apathetic to life itself. To be clear, by information, I don’t just mean digital. I’m actually more focused on the information from our day to day relationships, even the voices we hear when we look in the mirror.

Long before French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin penned “tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are” in his 1826 book “Physiologie du Gout,” King Solomon witnessed that our thinking dictates who we are.

We’ll explore Solomon’s wisdom in this Bible Study, focusing on the premise that you are what you think. If you are struggling with your identity and how you view yourself, it’s my prayer that you’ll see how this struggle is directly related to the information you allow into your life.


Before proceeding to the next section, complete the following steps to get the most benefit:

  • Pray for understanding and growth
  • Get something to write or record your questions and own personal revelations
  • Try to read uninterrupted for the next 7 minutes (approximate reading time).


Believe it or not, but this study will only focus on one scripture: Proverbs 23:7. Yes, we’ll look at others, but I always aim to break down one verse and one point. I guess we could call it a one-on-one 😅.

Before we begin, it would be helpful to read Proverbs 22:1-3,6-8 for some context. Here are the scriptures if you don’t have access to your Bible at the moment:

'When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, Consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, If thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: For they are deceitful meat.' Proverbs 23:1-3 (KJV) 'Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, Neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; But his heart is not with thee.' Proverbs 23:6-7 (KJV)

How does information influence our identity?

Much of the introduction to this chapter highlights the importance and application of prudence – the quality of being cautious – in new relationships. While this introduction is revelatory in itself, Solomon hides some keen insight into understanding how information influences our identity within the first few verses. Let’s begin by taking a look at our key scripture, Proverbs 23:7.

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; But his heart is not with thee.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭23‬:‭7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

If you’ve been alive within the past 100 years then you’ve most likely heard this scripture or some variation of it. Outside of religion, this is one of the most shared proverbs within humanity. So much so that James Allen popularized it in 1903 with his classic self-help book “As a man thinketh.”

James Allen, along with many other philosophers and theologians have long used this proverb to teach the power of thought – how we can create our own destinies by modifying the way we think and process information.

While I generally agree with this, I wanted to use this Bible Study to help us see how this scripture works and enlighten us to how information from relationships forms who we are.

So what does “thinketh” actually mean?

Thinketh is the Hebrew verb saar (šāʿar, Stron’s # H8176) — pronounced shaw-ar’ (or shaw-air). It **means to split or open (as in a door).

Honestly, when studying, I wasn’t expecting for the definition of shaar to be “split open.” I expected for it to be “having an idea or opinion about something.” While there is a hint of that within the definition, holistically this is not the case or spirit of the word.

Saar is a denominative verb which means that it is derived from a noun. Saar comes from the noun Shaar (shah-ar or sha-air) meaning gate. One source elaborates that this gate is “the entrance into the city as well the activities carried out there such as marketing and judging.”

Notice that at this gate there is judgement. Gates historically are used to protect the cities or people within, but in ancient middle eastern culture, they were also used as civic centers. Proverbs 31:23 gives an example of this.

“Her husband is known in the gates, When he sitteth among the elders of the land.” Proverbs 31:23 (KJV)

In the infamous Proverbs 31 breakdown of a virtuous woman, we find her husband at the gates of the city, stationed there with the other reputable men.

According to Deuteronomy 21:18-21, parents with troubled children could even bring them to the elders at the gate for judgement and discipline.

“Then all the men of his town must stone him to death. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you, and all Israel will hear about it and be afraid. The parents must say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’ In such a case, the father and mother must take the son to the elders as they hold court at the town gate. ‘Suppose a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or mother, even though they discipline him.’” Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (NLT)

Whew! Thank God for grace that we are no longer being stoned to death for disobedience.

Putting this together, the gate is where judgment is made. In reality, the judgement of the gatekeeper determines the safety of every inhabitant. If he chooses wrong or processes information incorrectly, his error can result in the death of everyone inside. This is why Solomon uses this imagery when discussing the matters of the heart in Proverbs 4:23.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4‬:‭23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When you open the gates of a city, you let something in or out. In either direction, you must guard it. You must be sure that whatever comes in is safe or else it will spoil everything valuable on the inside.

This brings me back to my premise: You are what you think. More specifically, you will become what you let in and out of your heart.

This is who we are. Our very identity and the course of our life is controlled by the judgements we make about new information and people. If your judgment is to hold on to unforgiveness, then you will become bitter. If your judgement is to give people a chance, then you will be known as a peacemaker. Let joy in, you’re happy. Let peace in, you’re calm. Let love go, you’re mean. Let optimism go, and you’re prideful. Let low self-esteem go, and you’re confident.

Looking back at our passage of scripture, this man thinks or opens the gate of his heart in a way that is suspicious. Note that this is different from him being prudent or exercising reasonable caution. He is distrusting of new people. He is prejudice that they are unworthy of his riches. He is unfriendly. He wants to be open but the way he thinks (opens the gate in judgement) doesn’t allow him to even receive the love he wants. Ouch.

His true identity is revealed at the end of verse seven. There he offers his guests food and drink but it’s with great hesitation. He represents himself as a giver, but his vision is evil, most likely because of his personal history, so his character is evil. “Eat and drink, saith he to thee; But his heart is not with thee.” In other words, he doesn’t mean it. Giving from the heart is outside of his character and who he is. Some translations even define this man as stingy so you can visualize the face of someone giving that really doesn’t want to.

This is what verse six means when it says he has an “evil eye.” Because of the way he thinks, his vision of others has been affected. He himself has also been polluted as something has entered through the gates of his heart and stayed longer than it should have.

“Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, Neither desire thou his dainty meats:” Proverbs‬ ‭23‬:‭6‬ ‭KJV‬‬

This is why even though he is sending an invitation to eat and drink, his countenance shows that he doesn’t really mean it.

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; But his heart is not with thee.” ‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭23‬:‭7‬ ‭KJV‬‬


Ultimately, some part of our lives and how we view ourselves is largely influenced by the information we process. We have become the lies told by others, the insecurities projected onto us, the voices we’ve listened to in our own heads, and the unforgiveness that we make comfortable in our heart.

Do you struggle to understand who you are? If so, take a moment, preferably in prayer or meditation, and process how you judge. How you make decisions is how you think. What you think becomes who you are.

Do you desire a new identity? Take some time in prayer with a counselor or mental health professional and unpack the things in your heart you allowed to stay beyond expiration.

There is hope. There is a different way to think that leads us to blessed lives.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5 (KJV)

During your meditation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What information have I processed incorrectly about people?
  • Is my framework for meeting new people keeping me from experiencing God’s love?
  • Who have I become?

Take the next few days and meditate on Proverbs 23:7, Proverbs 4:23, and Philippians 2:5.

If you have questions or comments, email me at marcus@marcusbattle.com and if you think someone else can benefit from this study, share it with them.