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, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things (Philippians 4:8).
For us to experience the best that God has for us in this life, we must take control of our thought life. Most people allow their thoughts to wander unbridled throughout the day. Thought association occurs in a millisecond. You hear a song, you smell something, you see something, and your mind associates the present event with something in your past.
When I first came to the Lord, I found this happening to me every day. It was as though my mind was trying to hijack my relationship with the Lord. At the time I was going to college and working in a grocery store stocking shelves. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to put a can on a shelf, and I had a lot of time for my mind to wander.
I would allow my mind to wander for several hours before I recognized what was happening. The new birth changed my spirit; old things pass away and all things become new. But my mind was largely unaffected. It was still filled with the debris from my old sinful life. Left alone, my mind would seek to pull me away from God back into familiar paths of thought. Emotions and thoughts go hand in hand, and I would feel spiritually away from God after these episodes.
I decided that if I was going to be a committed believer I must also commit My mind to the Lord. So I began to assert control over my thought life. To begin with, I tried to make negative thinking leave by praying, by commanding Satan to leave in the name of Jesus, or by praising God. None of this worked. My thoughts still took me back to old familiar, negative paths.
I decided to take a scripture a day, place it on a notecard, and when I had idle mental time I would pull that note card out and look at the scripture. Once I had it memorized, I would force myself to think on it. I found that I could make my mind think on what I wanted it to think on! This revolutionized my life.
I was so undisciplined mentally that my mind would wander for hours and I didn’t realize it. As I kept reigning it in by catching myself thinking on wrong things, I found that the time of out of control thinking lessened over time. Now, over forty years later, I catch myself almost immediately when my thoughts stray.
Make a decision today to assert control over your mind. Copy a scripture a day onto the notes section of your phone. Pull it out and read it ever so often. Make yourself think on that scripture for a few minutes. Then, when your thoughts go to the dark side, pull out your phone again, look at the scripture, and make yourself think about it. Don’t allow it to wander off into negative things. If you will practice this hour by hour, and day after day, soon you’ll have a new mental habit of thinking on wholesome things.
Start today to force yourself to think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous or positive, and praiseworthy. You will form new mental habits, and your life will change, and Jesus will become more and more real to you. Life will be better and brighter!