We have a tendency to follow our thoughts instead of leading our thoughts, because, honestly, it’s just easier.—RESET by Debra Fileta M.A. LPC, pg. 63
How many times have you thought the same exact thing repeatedly in a short amount of time? I’m talking, like, the same thought repeating no less than five times within 10-15 seconds. Yeah? Me, too. And unfortunately, it seems to happen often. Especially when I let my thoughts roam as they please.
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Like Debra’s quote, it really is easier to follow our thoughts instead of leading them. But it’s so much more rewarding to take the reins, submit our thoughts to God, and lead our thought life before it gets the best of us.
When we follow our thoughts and let ourselves think whatever and however, we set ourselves up for unnecessary pain. For example, I’ve been thinking about a certain family situation and, recently, my thoughts consumed my mind to where I had a terrible dream at night that included all the worst possible scenarios. I woke up feeling panicked! I knew this wasn’t okay, so I reminded myself to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Make each thought obey!
We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.2 Corinthians 10:5
Our thoughts form our beliefs and shape the way we view ourselves and others. Along with that, our thoughts lead to the way we speak (our words), how we behave (our actions), and, evidently, the consequences that result from our words and actions. Our mind is a powerful tool that God designed for our benefit, yet we still struggle to own our thoughts and change our thinking patterns.
There’s another powerful verse in the Bible that helps us understand the importance of our thoughts. In Romans 12:2, Apostle Paul says, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The place of conformity always happens in the mind first. We see something; we see others doing it; we consider it, and before we know it, we’re doing it, too. Whether or not subconsciously, we submit, imitate, and, therefore, choose to behave a certain way. Paul was right to encourage the churches to imitate him, because he full-on committed to imitating Christ to the best of his ability, and could confidently bring others along. But nowadays, most Christians wouldn’t dare say the same thing.
Back to Romans 12:2. Paul says to be transformed by the renewal of your mind. I view this part of the verse as a key to leading our thoughts instead of following them. When we renew our minds, we will get transformed. There are practical things we can do to own our thoughts before they get the best of us.
Personally, different things have worked for me in various seasons. Right now, Debra Fileta’s book has been a game changer for me. Every time I’ve picked it up, the short chapters seem perfectly tailored to what I’m dealing with in my heart and mind. Along with it, I’m rereading an all-time favorite book called Secrets of the Secret Place by Bob Sorge. Bob’s book has ministered to me uniquely over the years and, because it’s focused on prayer, my mind has experienced constant renewal, especially in the secret place. (I have the older edition, but there’s a newer legacy edition available for less than $20).
There are all kinds of helpful books and devotionals, but nothing beats the Bible. When I get caught up in my thoughts, I know the best place to look is in the Word. By doing so, I shift my thoughts toward God’s voice instead of conforming to the world. Our minds will follow what we feed it. If we continue to look to the ways of the world and conform to its ways, our mind will follow and try to take control. But when we look to God, His Word, and His trusted ministers of faith (I carefully say “trusted”), we renew our minds and find transformation. Then, by testing, we may discern what is God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will, and live a life transformed.
God created and formed our minds, but the world and sin fights for our attention. We have the power to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. We have the choice to renew our minds to be transformed.
I encourage you to take some inventory of your thought-life starting today. Consider taking notes for the next 24-hours (like physically writing notes in a journal or in your phone) of any repetitive thoughts that may cause you stress, anxiety, depression, and fear. Have a conversation with a trusted friend, mentor, or therapist. Doing so may help untangle any thoughts you have, and help you verbally process what’s going on inside. Take a walk and talk to God. Sometimes we just need an honest conversation with our Creator, and what better way to get fresh perspective while getting fresh air. Read the Word! Take some time in your daily routine and commit to reading your Bible consistently. Take initiative because, not only are there resources and people available, but there is hope and constant, consistent peace ready for your taking.
Live transformed in Christ by choosing to lead your thoughts, today.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Take inventory of your thoughts
- Find and read through or watch helpful resources (like Debra Fileta’s book)
- Have a conversation with a trusted friend, mentor, or therapist
- Take a walk and talk to God
- Create a small Bible reading plan you can commit to for two weeks
What helps you lead your thoughts?
How have you taken the lead of your thoughts instead of following them?
What other ideas would help us lead our thoughts?
Stay tuned for the next monthly newsletter!