Ever since I was a little kid, I loved the idea of having my own mind. (Bear with me, I know that sounds weird.) When I was younger, I constantly had an imaginary story running through my head. I’ve always thought that it was so cool to have my own little place that nobody could enter. All of my thoughts were safe and sound, and my mind was my own to do whatever I wanted with it. Then I became a Christian and realized, “Dang, I better clean that thing up.”
Once I started following Christ, I saw how much of an impact my thoughts had on my life. The more I let my mind get consumed with sin, the worse I treated my family and friends, the less motivation I had to work hard, and the more downcast I was in general. My thoughts directly correlated to my actions, which directly correlated to the quality of my life.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.”
Our thoughts run our lives. And our thoughts are a very easy place for Satan to make his way into. He starts off with a single little thought that isn’t a “big deal.” Maybe it’s just one snide thought that pops into your head about that girl you can’t stand at school. But before you know it, you’re consumed by them. When your mind becomes filled with evil things, it only takes a short time for your entire life to be affected. Your relationships, work, time, and energy suffer when your thoughts are in an evil place.
But, you probably don’t need me to clue you in on all of this. It’s very easy to tell when your thoughts are sinful. Your life stinks. What I always wanted to know when I was struggling was how to keep my mind off these things. No matter how hard I tried, evil thoughts kept creeping back in. I still struggle with this, and it is never easy to overcome any sin, but this is what I have gathered from all of my trials and errors;
If you want to think about sin less, think about God more.
Seems pretty elementary, but think about it: if you wanted to stop eating sugar so much, you wouldn’t spend all day sitting in an ice cream shop. Instead, you would spend your time doing other things to keep your mind off sugar, or eat something else that was healthier. Our thoughts work the same way. If we want to stop having evil thoughts, we need to turn them into a different place.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Turning our thoughts to God will vastly improve the quality of our lives, because as we previously established, our thoughts run our lives. Keeping our mind fixed on God will keep our minds way too occupied to focus on sin. We need to make our thoughts align with God. “…bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”- II Corinthians 10:5
As a final parting gift, here is a checklist for your thoughts which is straight from the Bible: “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 (honorable), if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.” -Philippians 4:8.
How are you using your mind? Are your thoughts driving you closer to God, or pulling you away from Him? How can you make your thoughts more God- honoring today?