“We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
See 2 Corinthians 10:5
Your thoughts will destroy your life—if you let them. For years, I didn’t realize that my thought life dictated how my day would go. I’d wake up every morning like a sheep being led to the slaughter. As soon as a thought popped into my mind, I’d agree with it as truth.
Each and every thought that the enemy put in my mind (along with my own incorrect learned thinking) would immediately ruin the day before it even began. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I didn’t realize just because I had a thought which created fear, anxiety–or made me want to give in to sin—I didn’t have to act on it, or even pay any attention to it.
As I began to grow in the knowledge of God’s grace through prayer, Bible study, and good Christian books, Jesus opened up my mind to what I should be paying attention to:
“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” (Philippians 4:8).
“Well Matt, that’s easy for you to say! I can’t help what I think!”…No, you’re right, not always. But you can begin to recognize the thoughts that are true, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy, and then think (focus on, pay close attention to) about such things. It’s all about what you choose to focus on–so begin to focus on the good stuff!
If we are going to get the most out of this life, we must have our minds transformed and renewed into that of Christ’s! (See Romans 12:2, 1 Corinthians 2:16). This happens by paying close attention to our thought life.
We must consciously and consistently guide our thoughts toward Holy Spirit thoughts, which are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23). So when a thought hits you that doesn’t match up to this, SPEAK UP AGAINST IT! Correct it! Here are some examples:
Incorrect thought: “This person is never going to change! Give up on them! They keep hurting you! They don’t appreciate you! They don’t even love you!”
Corrected thought: “This is where I feel like God wants me to be. God can change the heart of any person, if they let Him. I’m staying faithful, I’m praying for them diligently, and I’m trusting that God is using this unfair situation for a good, future purpose.”
Incorrect thought: “You’ll never break that addiction! You are weak without it! Don’t even try!”
Corrected thought: “No, I can’t break this addiction, on my own. But through Christ’s strength in me, I can do anything! And He says that He loves me just as I am. So He will help me defeat this addiction as I learn more about my perfect spiritual identity in Him. Today is a new day which He’s given me to enjoy, eventually I will beat this through Him, and then He’ll use my painful testimony to help many people who struggle with the same things.”
Incorrect thought: “If God is so good, why does He let bad things happen to you?”
Corrected thought: “God loves me more than I can possibly understand, and because of His great love for me, He doesn’t even have the ability to allow any harm to come my way without a greater future purpose. It’s my job to simply relax in His grace and allow the Holy Spirit to teach me how to react to unfair situations how He wants me to. After all, Jesus’ crucifixion was very unfair, but He knew that it was for an amazing future purpose! So I’ll trust Him even when it hurts because I know He still loves me and something good is in the works–even if I never get to see it.”
So today, my friends, know this: Don’t just ignore your incorrect thoughts, correct them! When you allow the Holy Spirit to correct your thinking, you are allowing yourself to be molded into the image of Christ! You may even have an incorrect mindset of being hyper-critical, self-righteous, or graceless. You might look down on others who don’t do the “Christian things” like you do—that is incorrect thinking as well, so we must correct it! It’s like Grandma used to say, “Matthew, you can’t stop the crows from flying over your head, but you don’t have to let them make a nest in your hair”–she’s right! No, we can’t stop the thoughts that hit us, but we can choose to not agree with them, and then correct them through Jesus’ Spirit!
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your mindset. Please begin to make it even more clear WHAT exactly you want us to do for each situation in our lives. Continue to mold OUR lives into YOUR life, through our thought life! Keep the devil far from us and reshape our minds into being peaceful, confident, and loving. You can do this! I know you can! You can do all things, so thank you in advance! In Christ’s name, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 1. Get your copy here!