One of the greatest revelations of my life is: I can choose my thoughts and think things on purpose. In other words, I don’t have to just think about whatever falls into my mind. This was a life-changing revelation for me because as Proverbs 23:7 says, As he [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he. I like to say it like this: Where the mind goes, the man follows.
Now God is concerned about the hidden man of the heart, which is our inner life. Our inner life is what we think about. And like the scripture above says, the way we think determines how we live and who we are. That’s why we need to think about what we’re thinking about.
It’s so important for us to understand this because if we don’t learn how to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:4-5), we won’t live the life Jesus died to give us – a life of peace with God, peace with ourselves, great relationships, real joy and the ability to become all God has created us to be. It comes down to choosing to believe what God says (the truth) more than we believe our feelings, what other people say or our circumstances.
The Bible specifically talks about three things we must do to develop a mind that agrees with God. I want to share the benefits of each of them.
Set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things… (Colossians 3:2)
This is the key to resisting temptation. See, when we make up our mind ahead of time what we will and won’t do, then when temptation comes, we have laid a foundation to make right choices and are more likely to successfully overcome the temptation. For example, before you get into social situations, decide “I am not going to gossip. I’m not going to ruin someone’s reputation and offend the Holy Spirit.” Other temptations may require you to decide things like “I’m not going to eat four candy bars today.” Or “I am not going to look at pornography on the Internet.” Or “I am not going to hang out with people who are bad influences.” My point here is, we don’t want to wait until the temptation comes and then react based on how we feel about it.
Do not be conformed to this world…but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind… (Romans 12:2).
Renewing the mind is an ongoing process. Every day we need to take time to study the Word so we can purposely think according to what it says. And we can’t keep one or two “junky” areas in our thought life because it just keeps us from the best God has for us. I’m not saying we have to be perfect with this, but we need to make progress each day so we can keep our mind renewed and grow in our relationship with God.
Gird up the loins of your mind… (1 Peter 1:13).
You are probably thinking, What does that mean? It’s basically saying we need to get all the junk in our mind out of our way so we can keep running our race in Christ Jesus and have the victory God wants us to have. Then we are ready for action to follow God’s plan for our lives.
One practical way we can accomplish these three directions from God is to have a think session every day. Just sit down and say, “I’m going to think about some things on purpose.” Then spend some time thinking about scriptures that renew your mind with the truth about what God says – about His love for you, His plan for you, how He wants you to live and behave… Use a concordance to find verses that cover areas you are struggling with or need to know more about. I want to encourage you to write some of them down and put them places where you will see them every day, like the bathroom mirror or refrigerator.
If you will commit to set your mind on God’s Word, renewing your mind with truth and getting stinkin’ thinkin’ out of your way, then you will experience the fullness of new life that we can all have in Christ. All it takes is a little more progress one day at a time.