If someone were to ask you to describe your thought life, what would you say? Is it deliberate and intentional? Do you entertain thoughts and ideas you shouldn’t? How much time do you spend each day worrying about your to-do list or day-to-day activities? Or maybe your thoughts are consumed with your job, your kids, or your hobby.
The truth is that everyone has a thought life; and according to the Bible, it’s important. Your thoughts matter. They have the power to inspire action and change in your life. But they can also cripple you and keep you from your calling.
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Your mind is a powerful thing indeed. It was created by God for many purposes. We meditate, make decisions, imagine, create, organize, worship, pray… and the list goes on. So yes, your thought life matters. And it is up to us to be deliberate about how we choose to think.
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. – Philippians 4:8
Whatever is true… Do we fill our mind with true statements? Are we truth-seekers? It’s so important to fill our minds with the truth when we have a very real enemy who is literally described as the father of lies. Spiritually speaking, Jesus identified Himself as the truth, and we certainly need to be filling our minds with Him. But we also need to make sure we are truth-seekers in other areas of our life. Are we believing the world’s lies about who we are and what we need to be? Are we buying into the lies of the enemy that our prayers don’t matter?
Whatever is honorable… An honorable person is one who is honest, both in public and in private. How would you feel if your thought life were on public display? Would you be proud of your thoughts? Would they be worthy of honor?
Whatever is just… To have “just” thoughts simply means to think righteously. Is your thought life in line with God’s Word? Would they be acceptable by God’s standards? We can’t allow sin to creep its way into our thoughts.
Whatever is pure… In the same way that we are called to have “just” thoughts, they should be pure, clean and innocent as well.
Whatever is lovely… It’s amazing how God calls us to think lovely thoughts. It’s so easy to be consumed by our to-do lists that we fail to take time to think about all things beautiful.
Whatever is commendable… How do we think of others? Do we point out their flaws and weaknesses? We are called to think kindly towards each other, to see their potential in Christ, and to love unconditionally.
I think it’s safe to say the Bible is clear on one major point concerning our thought life: We decide how to think.
God wouldn’t have commanded us to replace our worldly thoughts with godly thoughts if it was an impossible task. He also wouldn’t have commanded it if it wasn’t up to us to make the change.
God won’t change our minds for us, but He will be faithful to reveal to us the areas that need to change. (Philippians 3:15) It is up to us to make the necessary changes (with the Holy Spirit’s help of course.)
So start being intentional about your thoughts. Think about what you’re thinking about. If your thoughts were on display for the world to see, would the world describe them the way Philippians 4:8 describes the mind of a believer? Or would changes be in order?
I speak from experience when I say that changing your thought life is hard. It’s a life-long process, to say the least. But I do know that it is worth it because everything we do for God is worth it.
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. – Romans 8:5-6
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*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.