What do you think about as you drift off to sleep? What is the first thing on your mind when you wake up? (Besides coffee!) Do your thoughts cause anxiety or peace? Our thought life is an important matter as thoughts can lead to sin and sin separates us from God.
“ But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:14-15 (NKJV)
Proverbs 23:7 states, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” The minute we are truly born again, God begins the sanctification process. It is His will to transform His adopted children into the image of His son, Jesus Christ. This supernatural spiritual growth process is a painful one for it includes a series of many little deaths. The Holy Spirit will bring a sin area to our attention and ask us to lay it down. Sanctification takes a lifetime, as it is a continual process.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 (NKJV)
Tozer once said, “Make your thoughts a sanctuary God can inhabit, and don’t let any of the rest of your life dishonor God.” Imagine your thoughts as a place God considers a sanctuary and refuge! For many of us, this would take some serious house cleaning!
The Bible says we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind and take every thought captive. But how is this accomplished? It takes practice and a vigilant effort.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2
“Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV)
The Greek word aichmalotizo means to control, conquer, and bring into submission. It is our responsibility to take ungodly thoughts captive! When we decide to submit our thoughts to God’s truth we will gain inner peace.
When we’re tempted to think evil of another person, we need to step back and ask, “How does Christ see this person?” The answer is… with eyes of love. God certainly knows when we have sinned and He will confront sinners (Pharisees and Lawyers in Luke 11:37-45) but He does this with love and a desire to see repentant hearts.
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
If your thought life is full of fear and anxiety you need to work on trust issues. Remembering the faithfulness of God in past circumstances will help you to cast your present and future difficulties aside, trusting Him to work them out. There are many Scriptures in the Word that tell of people putting their trust in Jesus when circumstances were not in their favor. Consider the widow who fed Elisha (1 Kings 17:7-24) and Hannah (1 Samuel 1).
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
If stress has you overwhelmed, ask God for the perfect peace that transcends all understanding. The Bible tells us to meditate on things that are noble, just, pure, and lovely. This practice puts our focus back on God and takes them off our woeful circumstances.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)
“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV)
Working on a godly thought life is challenging but worthwhile. Don’t become discouraged if you fall back into an old sin habit or negative thought life. The enemy wants you to think you’re unable to overcome your habit of fear and anxiety, lustful addiction, or attitude of hate and unforgiveness. It’s a lie. All things are possible with God! Get back on the horse and force those thoughts into submission. Take action! Counter every temptation to think evil thoughts with a verse from the Bible. Keep repeating it until your thoughts succumb to the truth. Becoming more like Christ makes the devil angry. Changing your thought life will be a spiritual battle. Take up your spiritual sword and fight every day to keep your thoughts pure enough to be a sanctuary for God to inhabit.
“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.” Romans 7:19-23 (NIV)
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)