Choosing what to think about!
Among the many choices which we must make in our lives, what we think about is, by far, one of the most important. We spend a lot of time with our own thoughts and what those thoughts are can influence us greatly.
Eve was led away in her thoughts as Satan caused her to focus on the potential good in being wise “like God” and not on the commandment of God “to not eat from that tree”. Are we led astray like Eve? (2 cor 11:3) We know that those who did not want God to be in their knowledge, whose thinking turned to futility are on a pathway that leads to many sins and types of living, things that are a shame even to speak about.
We know that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. His are higher and purer than ours. Yet, we who choose to follow Him, want to become more like Him and so our thoughts should become more and more like that thoughts of God and not those thoughts that we learn from the world, or traditions of our fathers.
There are many different types of sinful thinking. Some examples might be:
Self preservation. Not the kind that makes you run out of a burning building but the kind that keeps you from doing something that is right or standing up for someone who needs your help for fear of damage to you, generally in the form or status or reputation. Esther was warned not to think that she would be immune from the command to kill the Jews but to use her position to deliver them. (Esther 4:13) I don’t know if Esther would have thought that but Mordecai’s words seem to be preemptive: Don’t allow yourself to think you can be saved by being quiet.
Revenge: Surely we have all had these thoughts. I am going to get back at the person; I am going to repay the favor…with interest! I will avenge myself. Yet, we know that “Vengeance belongs to God” (Rom 12:17)
Many other types of thinking can be found to be wrong. And the more you dwell on these wrong thoughts, the more they grow.
So how do we control our thinking?
First of all, remove the stimuli that leads to such thoughts. This may not be as easy as it sounds but it is necessary. If one of your child’s friends were sharing crude jokes, you would certainly do something about it, even to the point to removing your child from that friends influence. We should do no less for ourselves and the influences we are exposed too.
Second, Paul tells us in Philippians 4 what we should think about:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Php 4:8)
Each of these items are good items to think about and rather than dwelling on the bad and ugly things in life (of which there are many to choose from), these items will help you minimize those bad thoughts and keep your own thoughts centered on more godly things. Don’t think it is pollyanish to do this, we are not talking about ignoring evil just not letting it take root in your mind.
We need to have the mind of Christ and we know that Christ did not give place to revenge, self preservation, his own desires, or even to do things contrary to God’s law.
Question: Do we have the mind of Christ?
If you would like to hear this mornings sermon on this topic, click here!