…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).
A pure mind creates a pure life. The Father wants our minds to be conformed to the image of His Son just as much as He wants that for every part of our being.
My mind was filled with all sorts of impurities when I first came to the Lord. Before Christ I was almost completely controlled by my mind and my emotions. After I submitted my life to Jesus and was baptized in the Holy Spirit, I often found thoughts in my mind that my heart resented.
My mind would frequently run from one thing to the next as though it had a life of its own. I discovered that you can have an educated yet undisciplined mind. An undisciplined mind is a mind that is allowed to go wherever it pleases at the will of environment and circumstance.
I realized that thought association occurs in a millisecond, and happens so rapidly that you scarcely notice. Anything you see can remind you of an unpleasant or sinful event in your past. A certain color of clothing, a particular style, the silhouette of someone in the distance, an overheard song, a certain smell of cologne or perfume, a particular model of car, a certain location, an overheard conversation while walking in the mall, or a host of other things stimulate our minds and remind us of past happenings. And our mind takes these things and starts a trail of thinking. The problem is that you may not like where the trail leads, particularly if you’re a believer!
I tried everything to control my thoughts by singing some praise and worship, by speaking the name of Jesus against the thoughts, or just plain refusing to think about them by trying to make them go away. Each time they slowly came sneaking back. The only thing I found effective was to place a scripture in my mind and force myself to concentrate on the scripture. When I did this, I found I could control my thoughts.
At first, I struggled. I would let the mental thought trail run for several hours before I even became aware that my mind was going in the wrong direction! I knew that to change a habit, you don’t concentrate on the negative of refusing the habit, but you replace the habit with something else. So the moment I found myself going the wrong way down a one way street mentally, I would force myself to think on scripture, and to my utter surprise, it worked!
Now, after years and years of practice, I can say that my mind is under my control. I choose what I think about, and will not allow my mind to go into certain areas. It has to obey me! My mind is not in charge! My spirit, the real me, is in charge of my life as directed by the Holy Spirit through the Word!
Start today to take mental inventory. Are you controlling your thoughts, or are your thoughts controlling you? Begin today to purposely think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, and worthy of praise. If you’ll keep it up for several weeks, you’ll begin the process of forming new habits of thinking. And you’ll begin to experience the peace of God in daily life.