I enjoy watching competition shows like America’s Got Talent. When magicians come on, I try to keep my eyes on their hands knowing they rely on distractions to do some of their tricks. Sometimes I even watch it in slow motion trying to see how they pull off these tricks. Even with my utmost concentration, I still miss it at times. I think that’s why the Bible tells us so many time to set our mind and to fix our thoughts. God knows our enemy is great at slight of hand and distraction. He’s trying to get our minds off of the truth in order to fall for his shell game. When we take our mind off of heavenly things, we can fall for temptation, lose trust in God and make wrong choices. It’s critical that you and I set our minds on the truth of God’s Word.
Here are some Bible verses on setting your mind.
1. Brothers and sisters, do not be children [immature, childlike] in your thinking; be infants in [matters of] evil [completely innocent and inexperienced], but in your minds be mature [adults].
1 Corinthians 14:20 AMP
2. For those who are living according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh [which gratify the body], but those who are living according to the Spirit, [set their minds on] the things of the Spirit [His will and purpose].
Romans 8:5 AMP
3. Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.
Philippians 4:8 TPT
4. So then, have your minds ready for action. Keep alert and set your hope completely on the blessing which will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:13 GNT
5. Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value].
Growing up, I was taught that what I thought about mattered. In children’s church I memorized Philippians 4:8. It says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (NLT). If I said something or did something that was out of line, people at church understood it was a reflection of what was going on in my mind. They would then ask, “Is that true? Honorable? Right?” They would go down the list. It created a filter to run things through as thoughts entered my mind.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks within himself, so is he” (TPT). You will always become a reflection of your thought life. If you’re constantly thinking about issues, problems, lies, revenge, etc., your life is going to show it. Those things get into your heart and show up in your actions. If you think about things that are true, honorable, right, pure, etc., those will also get into your heart and show up in your actions. The things you dwell on in your mind can have a positive or negative affect on your life and your relationships with others. It’s important to develop a filter from God’s Word to run your thoughts through. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ” (NLT). It takes some discipline to capture thoughts and realign your thinking.
Everyone of us face situations that are out of our control. Situations create internal feelings. Those feelings create thoughts, and those thoughts create actions. If you want to change how you react or behave, you have to change those thoughts. If you want to change those thoughts, you have to change how you feel because you can’t change the situation normally. You have to capture those thoughts and feelings when they come in. Challenge them by holding them up to the standard of God’s Word. If the don’t align, then you must change them to dwell and think on what is true. Insert what God says about the situation rather than what your feelings say. Remember how and what you think will affect every area of your life. Creating a standard to hold your thoughts up against before you let them filter into your life will change your life.
I told my son yesterday, “You’re living in an unprecedented time in history.” As the world buckles down because of the Coronavirus, and social distancing becomes a thing, I find myself watching social media more and even listening to the news radio station looking for information. My son is asking questions about all that’s happening and we’re answering them the best we can with what little information we have. As public gatherings get canceled, grocery stores run out of food and people go into hiding, I cant help but remind myself and my family to keep going back to God’s Word. The world is offering up fear and panic, but God’s Word brings peace and life.
Our enemy’s tactic has always been isolation. He knows if he can get you alone, he can get I to your mind. If he can get into your mind, he can direct your thoughts and stop you in your tracks. Think right now about what is dominating your thoughts. How is that affecting your mood, your relationship with others and your actions? What’s driving your emotions right now? It stems from your thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take every thought captive to make it obey Christ. I’m not saying you and I shouldn’t be informed about what’s going on in the world and what actions you should take. I’m saying quit letting the thoughts and what if’s dominate your mind. Instead, Philippians 4:8 tells us to think on good things, true things, right things, lovely things and good reports because they bring us life.
Proverbs 4:21 says, “Fill your thoughts with my words until they penetrate deep into your spirit” (TPT). Don’t let the fearful thoughts rule your mind. Bring them captive and replace them with the things God says instead. In Matthew 6, Jesus reminds us not to worry because He’s in control. Philippians 4:6 tell us not to worry, but to pray instead. The Bible is full of promises from God that should dominate our minds, bring us peace and fortify our mind against the daily barrage of fear. When you find yourself worrying, stop the thoughts, and ask, “What does God say?” Spend more time reading God’s Word to put it in your heart and mind. It is your sword to fight fear and the thoughts that cause them.
Several years ago, Apple was floundering as a company. They had lost their soul and direction. They decided to bring Steve Jobs back as the CEO to see if he could turn it around. One of the things he did after revamping their product line was to change advertising agencies. The agency that won pitched him the idea of the now famous “Think Different” campaign. The commercial showed different geniuses from history with a voice that started off, “There are people who see the world differently. They see things in new ways.” While the commercial went on to advertise Apple, it’s a reminder that you and I ask Christians are called to think differently.
Proverbs 23:7 tells that our thoughts determine who we are. We must then learn how to control them or at least stop the negative thoughts that lie to us. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us that we must bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. We can’t just allow idle thoughts or negative thoughts to float around in our heads. We must capture them and change them. It’s easier said than done, I know, but it starts with challenging the thoughts that don’t like up with what God says. When those thoughts come in, you counter with who God says you are and what He’s promised to us as believers. God knows that the way to change our lives is through changing our thoughts.
Isaiah 8:11 says, “The Lord has given me a strong warning not to think like everyone else does” (NLT). Why would God do that? Because we are called to be and live differently. We are to be set apart and to see the world in a different way. We are to change culture rather than to be a reflection of it. The only way to do that is to think differently and to see the world as God does. He transforms us by the renewing of our thoughts and in turn, we transform the world. Don’t get caught up today thinking and seeing the world the way others do. Pray and ask God to change how you think and see so that it reflects how He sees it. In turn, you’ll begin to fulfill your purpose and help others along the way.
As we close the door on one year and open the door to another, I think it’s good to have a spiritual resolution for the new year as well. I believe Philippians 4:4-8 provides us with some great things we should resolve to do not just in the coming year, but throughout our life. Verse 4 says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (NLT) In 2019, don’t let anything steal your joy. Joy shouldn’t be based on your circumstances, and it’s where you get your strength from. Trust in what God is doing and stay joyful.
Verse 6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Refuse to let worry have a foothold in your life. It uses today’s strength for tomorrow’s problems. Turn your worry into prayer. Let the The things you can’t control push you closer to the One who can control them. Prayer changes our perspective and helps us to let go of the burdens that are too heavy for us to bear. Put them in God’s hands and take His burden which is light.
Verse 7 says, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Having peace in your heart, your mind and in your life is a wonderful thing. We were not created to live in turmoil. When we learn to trust a God with our decisions and with the things in our life that we can’t control, we can have God’s peace. Let His peace guide you in the coming year so that you operate in His will for your life.
Finally verse 8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Choose what to think about. Your thoughts are powerful and determine the direction of your life. Don’t dwell on what could be, but focus on what is true. One true thing I focus on is that God is in control, and nothing that happens in my life is a surprise to Him. 2019 is already history to God. Resolve to make it the year that you trust Him completely and you will experience joy, peace and faith.