Have you ever thought about how many thoughts you have a day? If you are anything like me, your mind jumps to hundreds (maybe even thousands) of topics per day. Some of those thoughts are deep, some are painful, confusing or anxiety-ridden. Other thoughts are extremely happy, peaceful, and joy-filled. Sometimes a thought comes and goes so quickly that we don't even know we've thought it. But then there are those thoughts that linger for much longer than they should.
Sometimes lingering thoughts come in the form of impure thoughts, or dwelling on a painful situations. Others come in the form of lies or condemnation: "you are doing the wrong thing... you made the wrong decision" (when you really didn't), or "you aren't attractive enough to work in that job". Thinking on things like this is completely un-beneficial and extremely volatile. All it will do is bring discouragement and keep you from where you need to be in life.
"Keep your minds fixed on the things above, not on earthly things." (Colossians 3:2)
So how do we train our minds to think on good things? How do we keep from dwelling on lies and discouragement? Here are three ways to start winning the battle!
Feed yourself what is good- Whenever you think on something that is worldly, untrue, or just plain negative, speak truth into your own heart. If it is a worldly thought, like, "Why would she leave the house looking like that?!", try combating it with, "You know, even though I wouldn't wear that, she has a beautiful face. I also know she is precious in the eyes of God". Likewise, if you start believing lies or false condemnation, such as, "I have made too many mistakes. I'll probably mess up everything next time too", combat it with the converse: "I am redeemed and God will help me with everything I set my hands to".
In addition to feeding yourself good thoughts and truth, you also need to feed yourself good media and literature. If all you watch on TV are shows with a lot of sexual scenes or references, you will most likely have a much harder time with lust, and if you read books with a heaping portion of cursing, you'll most likely have a harder time controlling your tongue.
Pray- This one is simple. Ask God to help you with the daunting task of training your mind. Ask him to help you take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Ask him to reveal to you where you are being worldly or believing lies in your thought life.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)
Seek Scripture- The bible is full of references about keeping your mind free of evil. It continually tells us what is right, and encourages us to move away from wrong thinking. Here a just a few examples:
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psalm 13:2)
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. (Pslam 139:23)
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. (Hebrews 3:1)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)If we are consciously thinking on only what is good, pure, and admirable, there is little room for impure, negative, or untrue thoughts. Join with me in improving this area of life!
Do you have any other tips for keeping focused on the right things? Please share them below.