Thoughts run through my head every minute of every day…unless I’m sleeping. Lately, I wake up in the middle of the night and lay in bed for an hour or two, with thoughts just racing through my mind.
I wish I could say that all – or even most – of those thoughts were good and profitable. Or, as the verse above says, acceptable in the sight of God.
However, my mind often goes in an unwanted direction. Last week, my dad shared a conversation he has with the Lord when that happens. He tells the Lord, “God, you know that’s not what I want to be thinking about. That’s my flesh acting up.” We need to realize that the wrong thoughts we have come from our flesh. From there, we can consciously seek the Holy Spirit’s help in replacing them with good ones.
My thoughts can take me lots of places I don’t want to go. When I compare myself favorably to someone else, it leads to pride. Shame and guilt appear when I think about a past sin. Envy comes when I’m preoccupied with what someone else has that I don’t. Focusing on my husband’s faults makes me ungrateful, concentrating on difficult circumstances brings self-pity. Bitterness creeps in when I think about how someone mistreated me. Fear and worry are just waiting to attack my mind.
None of those thoughts are acceptable in the sight of God. So how can I develop a thought life that pleases Him? Here are a few ideas.
Philippians 4:8 is the ultimate litmus test.
“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.”
Any thoughts that fall into these categories will be acceptable in God’s sight. When you find your mind being occupied with a certain subject, see if it falls in line with this list.
2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to capture every thought and bring it into obedience to Christ.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;”
That’s quite a task! If I let my thoughts run rampant, they’re probably not going to end up somewhere good. I Peter 1:13 says we are to “gird up the loins of your mind.” We have to be aware of what we’re allowing to run through our minds, and take action if we need to change our thought pattern. Ask for Holy Spirit sensitivity to recognize when your thoughts are taking you to a wrong place.
Romans 12:2 encourages us to renew our minds.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Our mind is renewed by being in God’s Word. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God…is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Reading and studying the Bible will reveal to me my wrong thoughts.
Proverbs 4:23 is a warning to guard what enters my heart and mind.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.”
I recently wrote about ways that we can guard our heart. What we allow into our lives is going to effect what we think about. We need to protect our minds from influences that will tempt us to sin.
Proverbs 23:7 reminds me that what is in my heart flows into my thoughts and results in my words and my actions.
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he..”
What I think about will impact what I say and how I act. Having my thoughts aligned with God’s Word will lead me to do and say things that will be honoring to God.
Let’s quickly list a few ways to cultivate good thoughts.
God has redeemed us from the power of sin, which includes freeing our minds from wrong thoughts. May He Who knows all our thoughts empower us so that our thought life is pleasing to Him.