Have you ever sat down thinking certain things over yourself and then end up feeling down and sad? That’s because our thoughts create feelings.
Today I want to talk about how to control our thoughts so that we can reap actions, habits and a character that please the Lord.
The bible tells us to dwell (think about, meditate) on heavenly things. That’s because we are in this world but we don’t belong to this world. God desires for us to not let our mind control our lives and eventually our decisions. “as a mind thinks in his heart so is he”
What we think about is what controls us. Our relationships, failures, etc. That’s how we think. Our mind is our control tower. This affects us because you may be where you are because of wrong thinking or vice versa. So what determines what I think?
You can actually program yourself to think the way God thinks. Think of spiritual things, so you can understand the things of the Spirit. The problem is that we would rather think and do with our minds the things that entertain us and entice us to sin. What do you do with your mind all day? Do you spend more of your time watching sexual shows or do you spend your time meditating in the word?
So how do we control our thoughts, which determines our lives?
The bible says:
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2: Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3: For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4: When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5” Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6: On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7: In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8: But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
So what does it mean that you were raised up? You died to your old life and you raise up in your new life. That’s what baptism represents. So it says to keep seeking and to set our mind in the things above. This is what happens when you come to Jesus. We are dead to sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed, and the things of this world. So put away the things that don’t fit your new life.
THE PATHWAY TO CONTROLLING OUR THOUGHTS:
A: Understanding our relationship with Jesus
- We were raised up to a new life. If I want to think Holy, Righteous, I have to start up in the mind. Put away those old thoughts. Focus on your new life with Jesus. He came into your heart, seek that relationship with him daily.
- You have a new identity in Christ, don’t let what others think of you determine your life. Your mind controls every aspect of your life. What you think controls your relationships. Some people are raised up going through life with what they were brought up to think about themselves. As a result they end up living what they were taught to think about themselves. What they’ve heard from someone. When you trust Jesus as your personal savior he gave us the right and power to think Godly as his creations. We have the power to think right. We are meant to be separate. We are to be different. We are to follow Jesus and not the world.
B: Challenge to control our thoughts
- God commands us to think about the things above. “Whatever things are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report meditate on these things.” Php 4:8
- We’re to live Godly in an ungodly environment (be different). Some people have difficulty thinking godly. But it is essential to learn how to live with others. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. 4 Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God. Satan blinds the mind of the unbeliever so that they can’t, don’t want to, believe. Understand that the environment around you is blinded to the truth of God – be different and separate yourself from situations and things that will deceive you.
- Don’t dwell in the past. The enemy will enable you to recall things that happened years ago and you keep recalling it and you start feeling bad. We suffer the results unless you fill it with the truth of God. It makes a difference what you think. Satan works in your mind. Whatever goes up there is what affects every aspect of your mind. Whatever you put in your mind is there until Jesus delivers you from it. Your life is an expression of what you think. Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life. Proverbs 4:23 You have the Holy Spirit living in you and he enables us in our thinking. He is there to be our helper to help us think right.
C: Our thoughts have consequences
- What you become is a direct result of what your mind dwells on. Life consists of what you think about all day. Your actions are an interpretation of your thoughts. Your tomorrow is where your thoughts take you. Peter warns us “prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control” (1Pe 1:13 NLT) Where we are is a result of what we’ve been thinking all these years.
- Don’t sin because of your thoughts “Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me…Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Ps 19:13-14 NKJV) Note the words “meditation of my heart.” The word for you today is: Take control of your mind.
- Watch out for visible evidence of sin in your life. Unseen thoughts produce visible consequences. The way you think is gonna be visible upon your face. It’s going to show, but it came from your thinking. We determine what we’re going to be because of the way we think. Where is your heart? That is what God is concerned with. Do you have a heart wholly after God or do you have a divided heart?
D: Overcoming our thoughts
- The Father sent us the Holy Spirit: You have within you the power of the Spirit of God to enable you to think rightly. John 14:26 reminds us: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
- You have his word. When you live by God’s Word, you have stability. When you live by your feelings, it’s like riding a roller coaster; one day you’re up, the next day you’re down. God wants to bring you into emotional maturity, but you have to cooperate with Him. This calls for a daily act of your will; choosing to do things His way rather than your own. Colossians 3:16 says “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” This word in greek plousiōs (richly) means “extravagantly” it means it’s going to have a powerful effect in your life. It’s not gonna have this effect if you don’t pick up your bible all week. The word of God needs to fill our mind. This is a resource. It overflows in you and no matter what you have a response. You sense the strength and power of God to help you. Richly, extravagantly, overflowing. That’s a lifestyle. Your mind has the power. You keep yourself pure if you keep His word in your mind. Treasure it. Let it overflow in your heart. The truth is in there.
- You have authority over your mind. Your mind is your battleground. It’s like having the keys and authority over your home. Now, you don’t let everyone who knocks on your door come in and make themselves at home, so why would you let every emotion that surfaces dictate the direction of your day or decide your responses? It’s your thinking that produces your feelings, not vice versa! That’s why Paul writes, “Capture every thought and make it…obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NCV). In other words, if a thought doesn’t line up with God’s Word, don’t give it a voice or a vote.
- Even when you don’t feel him, he’s right there with you and sometimes you don’t recognize him because you’re depending on your sight. “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). This may come as a surprise, but as a Christian, you won’t always feel God’s presence. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to two of His disciples on the Emmaus road, yet they didn’t recognize Him. Why? Because they were occupied with their feelings! How did He lift them out of their negative emotions? “He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27 NKJV). Bottom line: You must be led only by God’s Word.
E: Become a security guard of the grounds of your mind.
- Ask questions, check them at the entrance:
- Where will these thoughts lead me?
- Will these thoughts get me where I want to go?
- Are these thoughts scripturally acceptable?
- Will these thoughts build me up or tear me down? So you have to decide because it has an impact on your life.
- Could I share these thoughts with someone else?
- Where did these thoughts come from?
- Do I feel guilty for thinking these thoughts?
- Do these thoughts fit our mind as a follower of Jesus?
- Watch out for WHAT YOU WATCH: 80% of our memories are determined by what we see. You’ve got to make sure that what you see isn’t going to fill your mind later on. Whatever you are watching if it’s not right: shut it off. You may say that you’re weak because in fact you think of yourself as weak.
We’ve decided as a country to think opposite of what this nation started out as. And we will reap what we sowed. In this country sex is so important. Everything in this country is leading towards worshiping the god of sexual immorality. Lust is sin. It is disobedience. It destroys. Lust creates anxiety. Lust is a desire out of control. Lust is selfish. Lust doesn’t wait. Lust is greedy.
We have to choose to obey the commands of Christ. If I am going to live a godly life I have to be obedient.
But it says in Colossians 3:1 “Keep seeking the things above”
Seeking the things above means setting our minds to the things of the father. If I am seeking these things I am going to keep habitually doing it. Keep seeking means make up most of your thinking as God thinks. What kind of thinking is that? He’s always thinking what’s best for you.
He says keep seeking. Set your mind “Continually” on things above. Thinking God’s thoughts. How does he want us to live? When you think about what He is thinking, things begin to happen in your life. Thats why it says “set your mind”. As something that goes on continually. Then he said put on to death those things that bring you down. The Holy Spirit gives you the power to do that. You decide your victory or your defeat in your mind. Your feet will travel where you set your mind. We have to guard what we think. We died to that.
You may say that you’re too weak because you think you’re weak. You may say you can’t do it because you’ve been thinking you can’t do it.
You decide who you want to be, you decide what you want to accomplish. You make a lot of decisions in your mind. Satan has lied to you, deceived you, but there are consequences. You have to decide what kind of future you want to have. You will make the right decisions if you’re wise.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
We need to put to dead the things that brought us down in the past.