God’s Word teaches us that we have the ability—and the responsibility—to pick and choose what we let our minds dwell on.
It is exciting to realize that we can have control over our words, our moods and our attitudes when we choose what we think about. When we take the advice of the Apostle Paul and choose to think about things that true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report (Phil. 4:8), we will see our life improving in amazing ways. Above all, we will be taking a long step toward having our lives acceptable to Christ when He comes.
Choose to Focus
The apostle Paul fought to stay focused on his main goal. He had set out to capture the prize that Christ had set before him, the prize of life eternal.
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3: 13-14). The same apostle admonished the Romans to set their minds on spiritual values, on the things of God. “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6). He knew that filling the mind with pure thoughts would take away the worry and fret of daily life and give us peace. God has given us all the tools we need to think pure, uplifting thoughts. We use these tools by reading and hearing the things that will elevate our thoughts, and make choices based on God’s word. We must set our minds and keep them set on what God calls good. “Beloved follow not that which is evil but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God but he that doeth evil hath not known God” (3 John 11). And Col. 3:1-2 says, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
To keep our minds focused on what is good requires discipline. The Scriptures tell us in 2 Tim 1:7, “For God hath not given us thespirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” A sound mind is a disciplined, controlled mind, a mind that has set goals and a firm focus on achieving them. The key to spiritual success is to discipline our thoughts and our self-talk to keep it always good and up-lifting. Discipline is our friend not our enemy. It takes both time and effort to discipline our thoughts and our self-talk, but we must not “grow weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap if we faint not” (Gal 6:9).
Choose to Use Time Wisely
It is very important that we learn to use our time wisely, that we do not waste valuable time and energy on things that do not help us grow spiritually. We only have a certain amount of time and energy each day. The Day of salvation is almost over, there is little time left to reach our goals. To be successful we must put the most important things ahead of the less important. That is what Jesus meant when He said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). This does not mean we will not have interruptions or roadblocks in our lives, but these only give us opportunities to make better and still better use of our time. The apostle Paul prayed for the churches to choose what is excellent and of greatest spiritual value. “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:9-10).
Choose the Best
What we think about other people is more important than what they think of us. Here again we must choose what we will believe or think. Too often “surmise” is circulated as fact, and can be very destructive. If we allow our minds to dwell on the negative things that bother us, we are not likely to respond to them in a Christ-like way.
Thinking or speaking evil of another only implants that thought more firmly in our minds. James says plainly, “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren” (James 4:11). The Bible calls this sowing discord among brethren (Prov. 6:19) and sharply condemns it, because what we say or do can easily influence someone else.
By our words and by our actions we need to be encouraging others to be more Christ-like (I Cor 13:7). As Paul says, again, “Charity [or love] believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” There are countless ways that we can benefit one another when we are patient and kind–– no matter what.
Yes, we are in control of what we choose to think about. We also control what we let influence those choices. “As [a man] thinks in his heart so is he” (Pro. 23:7).
What we choose to dwell on can make us or break us. No one else can control the thoughts we harbor. To grow into the full stature of Christ we must fill our minds with the very best, follow Christ’s example, and keep focused on pleasing our Heavenly Father. It is the only way to life.
I hope something that has been written helps you in your daily walk in Christ. —DW