Lately, I’ve been sharing with you the words and actions that I have the most trouble with when trying to live obediently to God’s will. However, today I want to touch on the first and most significant task that leads to greater freedom from sin…training and taming our thoughts!!
Obviously, our thoughts lead to our speech and then subsequently our behaviors. It just makes sense that if we do not discipline the thoughts we have, how will we ever be able to regulate our words and actions? Curbing our speech and behaviors are a lost cause unless we adjust our way of thinking.
One of my favorite devotional writers, Mary Sutherland, said, “Discipline is obedience, a lifetime process that brings us to a state of order by training and controlling our behavior. Discipline is focusing and eliminating, zeroing in on what is important in every area of life. Discipline not only leads to right thinking, pleasing behavior and balanced emotions but also produces a purpose-driven life based on right goals and priorities.”
Personally, I want my priority to be God and for my goal to be living in His will and not my own. Seems like a daunting task, but it is doable through the power of Christ.
“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
I think it’s important to realize that we are in control of our thoughts. Taking this responsibility for our thoughts puts the onus of monitoring them and managing them on US. We truly can train ourselves to keep the negativity out of our heads by banishing them the minute we think them.
Plus, our thoughts are not just our own. They are shared and revealed to God even when we keep them to ourselves…uh oh! I’ve killed, massacred, bawled out and cursed many people in my thoughts and GOD HAS SEEN AND HEARD THEM ALL.
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13
So how in the world do we change our way of thinking?
- Ask for God’s help. – We can do nothing without His help. He wants us to make Him the priority and for us to be pleasing to Him. He cares deeply for our hearts and soul, so we would do well by asking Him to change us from the inside out.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24
- Start every day with thankfulness and praise to our Heavenly Father. – Living in a state of gratitude keeps our thoughts from becoming self-consumed with all the things we don’t have, people who have wronged us and the long list of grievances each of us has.
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:15-17
- Dwell upon Godly things. – Keep negativity from creeping into our days by banishing foul thoughts the moment they pop into our head.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8
Taming our thoughts to become God-pleasing is a lifelong journey. Nevertheless, we will all enjoy brighter, more joyful lives (even in our darkest hours) if we can train our thoughts to dwell on Christ no matter what our circumstance.
What thoughts do you need to banish today?
Some Wisdom for Today: Proverbs 11:2 – When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.