Your thoughts do not stand still. They move. They act. They are causative. Your thoughts matter.
Do your thoughts follow the lead of your mind and will? Or, does your mind, will, and life lag behind your thoughts? A strange question, you might think. But, it is an important question. When answered and acted upon it can alter the course of your hour, day, or life (and, ahem, your mood).
While free-ranging beef might be healthy, free-ranging thoughts are not. Let’s see how we can rustle and round up our thoughts.
God gives us the opportunity, ability, and power to harness our thoughts. He does it by His Word and Holy Spirit. We cannot do it on our own. We need Him. He delights in our reliance upon Him. In Philippians 4:8-9 the Bible reveals how we can gain control over our minds, and the benefit of doing so.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
Let’s begin with the end of these verses. Knowing the peace of God is the result of controlling and focusing our thoughts as He prescribes. Working backwards from verse 9, Paul shows us how this can be realized in the life of a believer.
Philippians 4:9 shows us that having the peace of God in our minds is realized by “doing.” The Christian faith is a full contact faith, not one that stands on the sideline and observes. Paul says that we are to practice, or do, what we have learned from God’s Word. Bible study is not a passive activity. We are to read and study God’s Word, then apply it. It is not knowledge to placed upon a shelf and admired, it is not to be agreed with, it is to be applied. James says that we are to be “doers of the Word.” (James 1:22).
Once we consistently apply God’s truth to our lives we can begin to focus our lives, and thoughts, on a particular kind of thinking: namely, good thoughts, and though patterns, that honor Him. Philippians 4:8 instructs us to think on — this word means to think on, dwell on, and meditate on — things that are true, good, praiseworthy, etc.
Here is a key that unlocks our thought life: God grants us the power and ability to decide what to think about. You are not captive to your thoughts. They should not control you. You have the choice of driving your thoughts, or bumping along behind them. As God tells us to think a certain way, and on certain things, He is pointing out that we can determine how we think and what we think about. In 2 Corinthian 10:5 we are told to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
You can gain control of your thought life by following Philippians 4:8-9. Then, and only then, the peace of God will reside between your ears. You will soon notice that once planted in your mind, the peace of God will bloom in the rest of your life.
Do your thoughts often stampede away dragging you behind them? You can take charge of them. You can begin this process by committing Philippians 4:8-9 to memory. With a bit of effort, prayer, and awareness you will be amazed as peace and contentment take root in your noggin.
Time to take the wheel and drive …