In recent blog posts, ”Are You Exercising?” and “Would’ve Should’ve Could’ve”, I encouraged you to examine your thought life and consider how you can exercise control over your thoughts rather than allowing them to run rampant and out of control.
The effect of your thoughts on your lifestyle is extensive and far deeper than what I have addressed so far. And though this is not an easy topic to understand, in order to experience freedom, it is imperative that you begin to comprehend the tremendous impact of your thoughts on your lifestyle and then begin to exercise control over them. The Bible tells us in Proverbs 23:7a (NASB), “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” This alerts us to the truth that our thoughts, though hidden, are a major force in determining our character. Our thoughts are a significant part of who we are and who we will become.
It is important to recognize the source of your thoughts in order to know how to sort through them. We are told in the scriptures (Romans 12:2) to be transformed by the renewing of our minds rather than being conformed to this world. This brings great hope. First of all, God knows us and loves us, and He says that every one of us needs our mind to be made new. He has given us a way to do that, through His truth and our willingness to change. And He has told us that He wants us, mortal human beings, to think thoughts of the Kingdom of Heaven rather than the thoughts that are common in the worldly realm. He has a wonderful plan for us, for our health – in mind, soul and body – and He is there to help bring that about.
A good standard for how we should think, is the Bible verse in Philippians 4:8 (NASB), “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” This can be a dependable and effective “thought filter” to help you identify unhealthy thought patterns and develop healthy ones.
Once you recognize that you have repeated thoughts that are not true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, etc, there is a solution. First, look at what kind of thoughts are going through your mind. Then, seek what is behind those thoughts. Ask some simple questions to understand if there is something deeper that you need to address in your life. Dealing with the roots behind those thoughts will help you to change your thoughts and your actions. Ask these questions to the Lord, to yourself and possibly to some trusted person in your life that may help you to find resolution to inappropriate thoughts.
After you have asked the questions, think about and even write down the answers you receive. Once you discover what is challenging you so deeply, there are different actions you can take.
Consider what action you can take to control those thoughts:
I encourage you to seek truth concerning your thought life. You may think it is private, just in your own mind – but, think again! Look again at Proverbs 23:7a, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” Your thoughts are a very important part of who you are. What your thought life looks like will eventually be what your external lifestyle looks like.
If the change in you and in your thought patterns is not immediately apparent in your life and seen by others, remember seeds are being planted. They will grow. Your life will become an external manifestation of what goes on in the privacy of your mind. You can choose to plant good, pure, honest thoughts that develop Godly character and lead you to freedom, or you can plant seeds that will encourage habitual and destructive habits and character.
There are many different aspects to our thought life. It is a complex topic, but there are solutions and there is hope. If you have a testimony of how you have grown in this area and how you have effectively dealt with recurring thoughts that bombard your mind, I would love for you to comment and share your insights.