There’s a war raging every day and it’s happening in your own mind. Our minds are under constant attack and we must learn how to take our thoughts captive or give way to the devil who is working diligently to take our thoughts away from God’s TRUTH.
In this post, we’re going to be breaking down the verse from Philippians 4:8.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right (honest), whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
My pastor is currently teaching on the power of our minds. I have seen some other pastors teaching on this recently as well and for good reason! Our mind is a powerful thing and our thoughts can dictate the course of our lives.
If we dove deep into the cracks and crevices of your mind, what would we find there?
Would we find thoughts that are true, noble, honest, pure, lovely, admirable, or praiseworthy?
Fear Zone Vs. Love Zone
One of the leading teachers on the science of the mind in connection with the Lord, is Dr. Caroline Leaf. She’s a scientist with an enormous passion for how the mind works based on science and God’s Word. If you get some time, her teachings are so thought provoking! It’s amazing the power our minds have in our lives!! She says:
You can’t control the circumstances in your life, but you can control your reaction to circumstances and life. You are in life as you are making decisions and dealing with stuff every day. You are using your mind to process incoming information. It comes into your mind and you are reacting. Either you react in the love zone, listening to the spirit of God or you are ignoring God using your free will. You step into the fear zone! As a scientist, the most important thing I can teach you is to set up a constant internal dialogue with the Holy Spirit because when you are faced with the events and circumstances, moment by moment, you are going to have to think and feel about what you’re going through and you’re going to make choices about what you’re going through.
So how do we fight against destructive thought habits? Let’s dive in.
7 Thoughts of a Healthy Mind
I don’t know about you, but there have been many times in my life when I have been misunderstood by others. This has led to thought habits within my mind of feeling unworthy and feeling like I’m not good enough or even too much for some. Then, one day it hit me. Who does God say I am? Who do I KNOW I am as a person? Am I truly what they say I am? The answer was a resounding NO.
You may be thinking, “well, duh, Kelly. Just ignore them!” But what happens in our lives, is feelings can become strongholds. These strongholds have such a grip on our minds because we have listened to them for so long, we have believed them strongly, and we have owned them deeply, that they become a part of our everyday thinking. This particular thought about yourself may not be another’s stronghold, but for you, it is.
So our thoughts should think TRUTH. That means, truth about yourself, about others, and about the world around you. By thinking about truth, we can combat the lies flying our way.
We are quick to point out the faults in others despite we ourselves having them. But God commands us to think on thoughts that are noble. That means they are thoughts that are ethical and virtuous. We can’t prevent every thought from entering our minds, but we can take hold of a thought that enters and turn it into something noble. If it goes against our morals, turn it off and redirect that thought into something honest and honorable.
3. Honest –
If we were to be honest with ourselves, what would our thoughts say? Sometimes they are thoughts of conviction. Sometimes they are thoughts of holiness. Just (as in justice) thoughts are honest thoughts. Why is it important to have honest thoughts? Because we tend to think on things that are based on how we are feeling in the moment. We tend to think on things that have become strongholds in our lives. We tend to think about others based on one bad decision they made. We tend to harbor unforgiveness in our hearts because we have allowed that stronghold to take over. The effects of allowing that to happen though, are powerful and really only hurting you.
For example, we may think, “What you said hurt my feelings, so I think you’re a bad person”, but is the person really bad or is that just your opinion? Maybe the issue isn’t that person; maybe the issue is that you have a stronghold in your life that is preventing you from healing and seeing others through the lens of honesty.
What is fair here? What is honest here? If you set aside your feelings, your stronghold, your opinions, what would the good, honest, innocent, holy thought be about that person?
Because the fact is, we’re all a mess. All of us.
4. Pure –
Because our thoughts influence our actions, it’s so important to think pure thoughts. When we begin to think unclean thoughts, it leads to unclean actions. It becomes a war inside our minds and sometimes an addiction. This can lead to adultery, pornography, lying, anger, selfishness, bitterness, depression, etc.
When an unclean, impure thought enters your mind, take it captive and be intentional about sending that thought somewhere pure. I like to think of these thoughts as arrows shooting at me. Would you let the arrow hit you? Of course not! Catch the arrow, wrap it in grace, and send it back the way it came. There’s even a chance that if that arrow was thrown at you by another person, that their life can be impacted in a positive way as well!
5. Lovely and of Good Report-
My pastor likes to say that he’s not too manly to use the word “lovely”. Lovely refers to being friendly, welcoming, and accepting. Even men can have lovely thoughts! Take a minute and Google “lovely thoughts” and you’ll probably generate a bazillion quotes about positive things! Lovely thoughts are encouraging. So what lovely thoughts could you think of about the people in your life that you are unforgiving toward?
I remember back in the beginning stages of my divorce, I had to take the court ordered parenting class. My instructor was an amazing, passionate, lovely woman. She made the class a very interactive, safe place to be. One question she asked us was to think of something or some things we could say about our children’s other parent that is lovely. Even if all we could think of was ONE thing, that would become the one thing we would tell our child about the other parent.
Although my daughter was blessed to get my hair color, the texture is very much from her dad’s side of the family. So, my lovely trait has always been that she gets her beautiful, curly hair from her dad.
Yes, there are plenty of horrid things I could say about him, but when I allow myself to go down that path, nothing good comes of it except a heart and mind drenched in bitterness and anger. Instead, I stop those thoughts and if the only thing I can think of to direct my thoughts to is that our daughter has his curly hair, I’m still doing wayyyyy better than I would have had I chosen not to stop those thoughts from permeating any deeper.
You are lovely and you can choose to have lovely thoughts.
6. Admirable –
What are things that are deserving of respect? We often think of men as being those who are meant to be valiant and courageous, but there are many women I can think of who are admirable and virtuous. My mother is one. She’s wise and graceful. I admire her so much because she lives her life according to God’s word. Her actions and reactions are in check and in line with what the Lord would do. While she’s not perfect, I know she allows herself to be corrected in times when she feels she has gotten off track. I know this because she tells me so.
She tells me how she was feeling something, that she recognized those thoughts, and that she chose to take those thoughts captive and turn them around into thoughts that are good and pleasing to the Lord. I’m very fortunate to have such an example in my life as her example has trickled down into the lives of my sister and I and now into our children’s lives as well.
There’s nothing like hearing praise from the people you love, especially when you feel like you can’t get it together. You just can’t seem to do anything right. Everything seems to be falling apart around you. But then, someone takes the time to point out something great that you have done or are doing and something happens inside your heart. Those praiseworthy comments sprinkled on your spirit create positive thoughts that can affect your entire day!
What if, instead of participating in gossip and slander, we spread praise? What is something you can think about someone who is often spoken about in an ill manner, and tell to others?
President Trump comes to my mind right away. It seems so many are out to uncover his lies, manipulation, poor choices, etc. What if, instead of focusing on everything we think he ISN’T doing to meet our expectations, we spend our time supporting, praising, and lifting up a man who has such a great responsibility on his shoulders? What changes might we see in our country, especially in the hearts and minds of those throwing the arrows?
Praiseworthy thoughts. Commendable thoughts. Holy and good.
We can continue to walk forward with pride, stubbornness and an unwillingness to change, but how is that going for you right now?
I can imagine that anxiety, anger, bitterness, resentment, retaliation, and even more ugly thoughts and actions are resulting from those choices.
I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to live the rest of my life feeling that way.
Now think about the people in your life who seem happy and joyful. What is a common thread seen among those people? In my own life, those are people who find joy in the everyday. They give from their hearts without expectation in return. They speak kindly about others. They praise others, they encourage others, and they believe the best in others.
Strongholds have ruled my life. I am only now beginning to finally understand and apply this new way of thinking to my own life and so far, I have seen an incredible change take place in my mind. The thing is, friend, that God has already given you all the weapons you need including a shield.
I finally found my shield and it has taken a beating just within the last few months. But when we decide to use those weapons, there is a peace that passes all understanding as God becomes your strength. He reaches out and holds the shield for you and those arrows being shot by people in your life are unable to penetrate through.
That is peace. That is joy. That is mind renewal at work. Are you ready to turn over a new leaf?
New to Lettered Roots? You might be interested in: