What Are You Thinking?!
Have you ever thrown this question at someone, certain that the rational part of their brain has officially packed its bags and left? I sure have. We say this when frustrated with people because we all know that a person’s outflow--their actions, words, decisions, etc.-- comes from what they think.
God knows that we are this way and for this reason, He said, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). Whatever we allow our mind to dwell on will eventually show itself to the world. Every. Single. Time.
I’m a young wife who’s still figuring things out, but here is one golden nugget of advice I’ve picked up already: don’t go take a shower. I always tell people that the worst thing for me to do if I’m upset with my husband is to take a shower.
I know that sounds dumb, but let me explain.
You would think that alone time and distance would help me clear my thoughts when I'm frustrated but it apparently does the opposite for me, and I had to learn this the hard way. I would go take a shower and start dwelling on all of the things I was upset about, spiraling into deeper discontent and even anger until I would step out fully convinced that he didn’t care for me in the slightest and our marriage was destined for failure. Until I regained control, I would be snippy and cold toward my husband. My thoughts found their way out. I had to learn very quickly that these thoughts were a tool of the enemy to cause division and distraction in a home that so desperately wants to please the Lord. Recognizing where my thoughts were not rooted in the reality of the Word helped me cut off the enemy’s sneaky lies and not give in to the emotional roller coaster that our minds can produce (can I get a witness?).
The Bible speaks on our thoughts often, about “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5) and the oft-quoted, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Our thoughts are a battleground of sorts. It’s where the enemy wages war and where we have the opportunity to respond with the Sword of the Spirit. It's a war that sometimes has devastating casualties. I have watched good, faithful people fall short of their potential because they allowed the thoughts from Satan to sell them short--convincing them that the world would be better than living for God.
It's up to you to win the battle in your mind. When the enemy comes in to sow seeds of disunity and division between you and your leadership or another saint in the body, recognize it. It’s not a thought that God placed there, so throw it out. When the enemy comes to you with thoughts of condemnation to drive you away from your prayer time because he’s made you think that God doesn’t care for you anymore, recognize it. Throw that thought out to the dung heap.
This idea that your thoughts will always make themselves known is a two-sided coin. If you dwell on those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, etc., you will find yourself in contentment and joy. Scripture says that the Lord will “keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Is. 26:3).
When we consider the goodness of God, His ways, and His love for us, we won’t find ourselves feeling bogged down.
I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to feel dejected and praise the Lord at the same time. Worshipping the Lord and honoring Him in our thoughts is bound to bring us to a place of contentment and total trust in Him. Our situation may still be a mess, but we have done like David and encouraged ourselves in the Lord. Those thoughts will find their way out and we'll become more and more like Jesus.