Self control in thinking. How do to it! Part 2

This week has been a week of thinking about thinking, striving to understand the need to control our thinking, what thoughts lead us from God and finally, how to control the thinking process.

I quoted this passage in yesterday’s blog. Today, I want to look at it a little more.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 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. 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. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Php 4:4-9)

Before discussing it though, this is not an appeal to “Just think positive thoughts and it will all be ok”, it is more along the line of the song from Jungle Book “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative”. I am not naive enough to think that this will be an easy process. Simple (as I said yesterday), but not easy.

I think that if we apply this passage, it will help us control our thinking:

First, We will rejoice in the Lord! (shall I say it again? Sure, if Paul can, so can I!) Rejoice!

It is not easy to focus on things that get you down, cause you problems, or tempt you away from God if you are rejoicing in the Lord. This, to my mind, means that if we are properly thankful to God for the gift of salvation that He gave us, we will be rejoicing because of it. If we are truly thinking about the joys of going to Heaven, we will be anxiously looking for and waiting for our Lord to return.  Even when we go through the inevitable trials of life, we will do as James said and “count it all joy” and agree with Paul that the difficulties of this life are not to be compared to the riches of the life to come. In other words, it is hard to be thinking about sinful, gossipy, angry thoughts if we are rejoicing in the Lord. There is only room for one thought at a time.

Second, let your gentleness be known to all men. (“reasonableness” NKJV). This deals with how you treat others. It is hard to be focusing on your self wants if you are being kind to others, especially those who are not Christians. Your light (which you should always let shine “let it shine, let it shine, let it shine”) will reflect to them that there is a God and in chapter two of this book, we are called lights: reflective like the moon. How do you know that the Sun is shining bright when it is night-time? Because the moon reflects the sun’s light. How do you know the Son is shining in this world of darkness? Because WE reflect His light!)

The Lord is at hand.  No kid steals a cookie from the cookie jar with Mom in the same room. Remember the song “There’s an eye watching you” ?  Well, there  is!

In nothing be anxious. Still, there will be times that even with all of the intent of our hearts, we may still wind up being anxious or perhaps fearful and those are times to turn to God in prayer to remove the anxiety. Make those requests known! Even Jesus made a request just before going to the cross. However, we are to do so with thanksgiving and realize that everything we have is from Him, and that whatever path He leads us on, even should it lead to death, only takes us closer to being with Him.

With those steps, Paul says, the peace of God will guard our hearts and thoughts. If God is guarding them, then I would say they are in good hands. But Paul does go on and says that we should also THINK in a certain way. Those things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue or praiseworthy are the  things on which we should meditate. Not the conspiracy emails, the gain of riches, the gossip at work, the latest games our friends are playing on FB or their status, and as for the TV shows….oh don’t me started on the many different TV show messages that run contrary to the heart of God and therefore, should run contrary to  our heart as well!

What do you meditate on? David said the righteous man, meditates on God’s law (Psalms 1).

Then Paul says in different words but with the same thought “Imitate me, as I imitate Christ”. What better goal could we have than to attempt to bring our thoughts under control so that our actions, which proceed from those thoughts, will be godly and wholesome and God honoring.

Comments anyone?

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About Steven Sarff

If I were to offer any one piece of advice to one wishing to serve God, it would be to put Hebrews 11:6 and Acts 17:11 into action and let God guide you to grow in the grace and knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ.

Posted on May 19, 2012, in Christianity, Faith and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Hi Steven. I really enjoyed ALL of your postings on controlling our thoughts. In fact, I went through and read them all at once. I’ve been truly blessed by your writings. This is a topic that I often think about and want to change in my life. I like how you said if you are rejoicing in the Lord, it is difficult to stay thinking about temptations and our anxieties. And that we can only think one thought at at time. I remember a therapist telling me this one time. It was hard for me to understand at the time but you’re right. Even though it seems my thoughts are all over the place and I’m thinking “a million things at once”, our minds are only capable of one thought at a time.

    I have been so busy with work and learning my new position that I haven’t been spending as much time with the Lord as I should and my thoughts are not as they should be! In fact, neither are my emotions. I’m letting myself get overwhelmed and have been on the verge of tears and even irritable. I’m usually really exceptionally nice to customers and lately I’ve been “grumbling” to myself about them.

    Thank you for giving me that push I needed to get back on track. I’m up early today before my shift so I will definitely make time for God before I leave the house. Many blessings to you and thanks again for these awesome posts! ~~~Michele

    • Michelle:
      Thank you for reading over those posts and your compliment. I knew something was up when stats page showed more views by 6:00am than I had had the whole day prior! For a moment, I thought I had broken through to the big leagues and someone had posted me on the Freshly blogged page!! LOL

      The thoughts I shared are not original I am sure, but they are ones that I constantly need to be reminded of…so I remind others. If you look at 2 Peter 1 at verses 12-15 you will see Peter emphasize the reminder, not because we do not know but because we often forget. And, of course, Peter who forgot the words that Jesus spoke to him a few hours earlier denied Jesus and then…THEN, he remembered the words. How sad those tears must have been. Been there, done that too!

      How grateful we should be that God forgives not just our sins, but the forgetfulness that leads to them. (Ok,,,,I think I am writing another blogpost. Have to explore that sometime.)

      Good luck with your new job. I have been overwhelmed in a new job before, stepped back, prayed (a quick but sincere one), took a deep breath and got through it.
      Thank you again for reading.

      Steven

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