What are you thinking?
Ever catch yourself mid thought and question, “Where did that come from?” or “I don’t want to think like that.” Maybe your thoughts imagine every horrible thing that could happen and end up so panicked you are over come with fear? Or “the list” of a million things to do scrolls through your mind creating stress. Then there’s the “just think positive”and all good will come to you philosophy.
Many things beg for attention, urgent deadlines, small annoyances, crazy news, notification dings, concerns, fears & emotions just to name a few. When left unattended thoughts can wander so far, and often times to places that don’t lead to joy. Our thoughts matter a great deal and really effect how we live and function in life. We are instructed in Scripture to take our thoughts captive to Christ. For that is where they truly belong, and we are told in Scripture to take action with our thoughts keeping them godly.
So why the constant redirect of thoughts? God created us and wants good for us. He know us inside and out, so that means he knows our minds and knows what is best for us. He tells us to take our thoughts captive because he knows our weakness and that we are going to need to keep thoughts in line with him to live to the fullest. He gives us these instructions: “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2Corinthians 10:5 TNIV
Ok….so how do we do this? How does one take a thought captive to Christ? He has given us the how to and whys to explain his instructions in the Bible. Teaching us how to think and use the amazing minds he has given us, so that we can live a joy minded life in the midst of all that goes on around us.
Philippians 4 has a list of how to think. verse 6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 Did you see that? God says in every situation, pray to him about it. The thanksgiving part, as you tell him what is on your mind you can be thankful He is all powerful and all knowing. Thanking God for all he has already done in our life lifts our mind to good places. We can relax in him and trust him to take care of what is on our mind, and even more so as we recount how many things he has already helped us with.
The next verse, verse 7 goes on to say, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:7 Jesus is the safe place, Jesus is the one we lean on and look to. Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew11:29 TNIV
Our thoughts can cause us such unrest and burden, unrest is opposite of what Jesus has for us. We are offered the most amazing rest in Jesus, but we forfeit the rest when we let thoughts run rampant. When we think we have to figure everything out on our own. Trying to figure things out on our own is a way we put burdens on ourselves that were never meant for us to carry. Ever caught yourself saying or thinking, “How am I ever going to…..” That is why it says, in every situation, not just one or two situations, but every situation be praying about it. Keep talking to God all day long about your thoughts.
The sin condition we live in is the reason why our minds go places they aren’t supposed to. This very reason is why it is crucial, of utmost importance, that we know Scripture and actively fill our minds with it and follow it. Sin often times begins in the mind. We see things that are not of God and contemplate them, internalize them and can be quickly led away by these thoughts when we don’t take the thought to God right away. It is also why we are commanded to guard our hearts and minds, because when we let things in that are not godly we put ourselves in a position to be drug away by this wrong thinking which can lead to worry and even wrong actions, and deeper sin.
The truth of, “what goes in is what comes out” is very real. We have to guard our minds and hearts. We cannot fill our minds with violence, explicit images, worldly views that oppose God and expect to live in peace and follow God’s ways. We can’t expect to live a life of joy, love, grace and peace when we have filled our hearts and minds with the exact opposite. We have to protect our minds from what the enemy uses to drag us away from truth. Many times the mind has been referred to as a battlefield, we want to win and receive the life giving thoughts God desires for us. We must continually be filling our minds with Scripture to live the full abundant life Jesus died to give us. We must also continually match our thoughts to Scripture—to do that, we have to actually read Scripture.
When the mind is allowed to wander down thought paths that cause anxiety, depression, judgemental or condemning thoughts of others or myself, or any other lust or greed thoughts that go against what God has for us we lose focus of him and the abundant life he has created us to live.
When anxiety, fears, anger, bitterness or anything ungodly is allowed to consume my mind, what I am saying is I don’t really trust God. I don’t really believe him to take care of me or the situation, and I don’t need to live the way God tells me to. When I let my thoughts take over and stray far from God and His truth I bring difficulties into my life. Not knowing how things turn out can leave fear and anxiety filled thoughts, but God knows this, so he tells us to bring our thoughts captive to him. Allowing him speak into our lives about our thoughts brings us his peace.
We act & think like this life is our own, that we created it and we have to do everything. Truth is we didn’t create it at all and can only see a tiny sliver of it. Yet in the small minded focus on all the things around we begin to think it all depends on me…which means our thoughts are saying I am God,😬 trying to trust in myself and keep myself held together to “get it all done” or take charge, or take revenge…..when the reality is…. I can’t even tell you how my heart and lungs even know how to function together to keep me alive. It is imperative to take thoughts captive to Christ.
God knows absolutely every minute detail to all the way to the largest scale problem. Scripture says he knows how many hairs are on my head. How many grains of sand there are, wouldn’t we be so wise as to trust him with our whole heart and with our mind? He knows all…..He kinda made it after all!
We are given further guidance in Philippians 4:8 “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.” This is a great Scripture to match up against thoughts. Ask yourself are the thoughts running through your mind in line with these things listed? If not the thoughts need to be taken captive to Christ.
Being able to take thoughts captive and keep our thinking true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, we are going to have to ask God for help with this. We are going to have to ask the Holy Spirit to convict us the moment our thoughts go astray and to turn them to Jesus and His ways. We can’t transform our mind on our own, we must to bathe our minds in Scripture, the living, breathing Word of God and look to him to do this great work in us. That is one of the awesome things about God, he knows human weakness so he is not bothered when we daily, or by the minute ask him to help us with our thoughts.
It is of great importance that we are surrounded with people who are trying to live as God commanded. We need accountability people in our life. We need the gift of the body of Christ that we have been given to stay connected to God’s truths. He designed us for this. We need each other to stay encouraged to live a godly life. We all have heard how we become who we hang out with and what we immerse ourselves in and our thoughts come from these things. So let’s take a look around our lives and see what’s going on in our thought life.
There is a wonderful peace that God offers for us when we believe Him, rely on Him and trust him and do what he says. We enable ourselves to do this when we learn who God is by reading His word and learning and asking Him to help us actively live it. The more time we spend getting to know him, the more we trust him and believe him and live in praise of him during the day. Living in praise and confident hope is a beautiful place to live! Worship filled, gratitude minded, loving, grace filled, pure thoughts bring forth refreshment and joy in life. That is where God wants us to live!
So begin to take notice of the places your mind goes and talk with God about what you are thinking and why you are thinking that. Pray for him to bring your thoughts captive to Christ, from the largest concern to the smallest detail. This is something we must do daily. Don’t be afraid to take thoughts that are sinful or destructive to God. God does not want us to live with destructive sinful thoughts. He is so safe, ask him to help you rid those thoughts and replace those with pure, noble, excellent, praiseworthy thinking, refer to Philippians 4:6-8. The more we become aware of our thoughts and take them captive to Christ the more we are able to flourish in the good moments and flourish in those moments that Jesus mentioned, the troubles.
Be bold today and ask God to reveal parts of your thought life that needs transforming, Ask him where you need to guard your heart and mind so you can think in a manner that is life giving and worship filled. Ask God where your thoughts have led you astray and ask him to bring you back into his way. Psalm 55:3 hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught.”NIV is a prayer from a Psalmist that can be prayed as we seek God to transform our minds. I know I have some areas that my thoughts are not as they should be, I am excited to go on this journey with you asking God to transform me in this area of my thoughts. I am so excited and full of praise to God for the coming transformation! He is so faithful!
May grace and blessings fill your path,