Have you ever noticed in the past twelve months that your thoughts can easily spiral down? Maybe go down deep to that place where you feel like you have no hope? It is easy since we are living in unprecedented challenging times. The amount of stress and confusion surrounding the pandemic with the often-conflicting information that is being presented to us can easily grind away joy in our lives. The current political and social climate can consume our thoughts and lead us to despair if we dwell on it too long. The isolation that many of us have had to endure just aggravates everything further. It is possible to feel like maybe one is coming up for a little spiritual air, a little bit of mental break, a little repair of the emotions and then find our minds leading us back down a path of unhealthy or unproductive thoughts. You know how it goes: you experience an emotion that triggers a thought pattern that can lead to unhealthy behavior, which can affect your relationships and cause undesirable consequences. It is easy to spiral downward and find yourself in a pit that is often difficult to dig yourself out of.
The good news is that we can break out of this pattern. Yes, we have a choice! Romans 12:2 says “..let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Notice that the power behind this does not come from ourselves, it comes from God Himself. God’s plan for believers is radical thinking. We are not to think as the world thinks. Repeat: we are not to think as the world thinks. God wants us to be conformed to His image; to think as Christ thinks. We are told in 1 Cor. 2:16 that, as believers, we have the mind of Christ. Because of the Holy Spirit we can have power over our thoughts. Power to think like Jesus, taking every single thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) This is the only way we can successfully live for Him in the midst of chaos – to submit our thoughts to His control. As believers, we can actually choose to direct our thoughts away from negativity and focus on God.
So how do we do this? Let’s look at Paul’s example in Philippians. We know that Paul endured a tremendous amount of suffering. He was threatened, beaten, left for dead, mocked, driven away, arrested and imprisoned, just to mention a few. Several of the letters in the New Testament were written while he was imprisoned. But Paul had great joy, even in the midst of it all. He kept his focus on Christ so that his life would always honor Christ, whether he lived or died. (Phil. 1:20) He took great joy in knowing and serving Christ.
Apply: Am I allowing every thought to be taken captive by Christ? Remember our enemy wants us to dwell on negativity and everything that is wrong in this world. He wants us to spiral down in our thoughts to where we think that we have no hope. Our thoughts can produce actions that impact eternity. But the knowledge of God is our greatest joy. We can immerse ourselves in God’s Word, pray for His guidance and grow to be more like Jesus. We have the mind of Christ. Am I using it to think the thoughts that Jesus might think?
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