Over and over again I am presented with people who suffer due to what goes on in their minds. In fact, one might say that the history of the human race is mostly centered on a battle for the mind. God has made it clear that what we think releases power to bring forth good in one’s life or to destroy it. Proverbs 16:32 states: “He who rules his spirit [is better] than he who takes a city.” Proverbs 23:7 says: “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Yet, the situation of life is this: Sometimes we think thoughts that are untrue. We believe lies that have been perpetrated from within about ourselves and about the world around us. These thoughts result in worry, fear, and anxiety, lead to division and strife, and/or stop us from moving forward with the things God has in store for us. Sometimes we think unjust thoughts about God, about ourselves and about others. And, sometimes there are un-pure sexual or other ungodly thoughts that enter into a person’s mind that separate them from experiencing the life of God. Yet, it seems that we are not in complete control of what thoughts enter into our heads. So, what can we do?
Of course, we can guard the gateways to our soul – our eyes and ears – limiting, images and sound bites that record into our computer-like brains. Still, there are thoughts that enter even when one has never seen or heard anything other than good. For instance, I can remember when my grandson had a nightmare as a very young child. Although he had never seen a scary movie of any kind or been exposed to anything we would consider ungodly, he saw images in that dream that he had never seen before that were frightening. Where did these come from?
I have concluded from my study of life and Scripture that we are all born with a sin nature (Romans 5:12). Therefore, sinful, disturbing, and destructive thoughts are generated from within us at times. I also believe that our enemy – the enemy of our Creator – that old serpent, the devil – plants thoughts in our minds. Have you ever experienced a passing thought that you questioned, “where in the world did that come from?” I do not believe God reckons these to the Christian believer as practicing or living a sinful life when let go of. However, these thoughts need to be controlled if we are to live free from the negative results they can bring. Yes, when we have ungodly or worrisome thoughts, we can choose what to do with them. We can choose to meditate upon them (think on and roll over and over in our minds, consider) or, we can choose to put them where they belong – into the trash bin. It is the thoughts we keep and meditate upon that have the power to bring success or the unwanted problems and suffering into our lives. Psalm 1:1-3 declares the power of meditation. Particularly notice the results of meditating upon the counsel of the Lord as stated in verse 3.
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”
We can replace our ungodly and unwanted thoughts. We can take them captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). This means we can replace our thoughts with thoughts of Christ, thoughts of His obedience to the cross, and the results of that obedience. We do this through meditating (thinking and rolling over and over in our minds) the Scriptures, and the good and perfect things of life. Philippians 4:8 also gives us clear guidance in this area: “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.” Isaiah said, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3).
What you believe is important. The thoughts you roll over and over in your mind will either bring life or destruction. Will you choose to surrender your mind to Christ and His lordship?