Your Thought Life

Posted: April 1st, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

 Your Thought Life

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What is the state of your mind today? What thoughts keep running through your head?

Do you feel anxious? Worried? Fearful? Insecure? Inferior? Jealous? Guilty? Shameful? Discouraged?

Are you telling yourself a good story about your life? Or are most of your thoughts negative and self-critical?

Do you say things to yourself you’d never even think of saying to someone else? Do you mentally berate yourself for mistakes? Do you hold yourself to a standard you’d never hold others to? Are you beating yourself up over past sins?

What are your thoughts about God toward you? Is He disappointed in you? Or angry even? Is He looking for you to step out of line, so He can give you a good whack?

In Romans 8, Paul says…

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

If your mind is governed by the flesh, then you are experiencing a thought life of death. As a result, your emotions are negative. And they’re overflowing into your relationship with your spouse, with your children and with others.

On the other hand, if your mind is governed by the Spirit then you are experiencing a mind full of life and peace. It doesn’t mean you have no problems or that life is easy, but it does mean your mind is not in turmoil. It means you are bringing your thoughts and circumstances and concerns under Christ’s authority.

Doing this doesn’t happen by accident though. It requires intentional effort. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul said, “…we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

Think of a negative thought as an unwanted intruder in your home. If you let him in and do nothing to make him leave, then he will be content to make himself at home and eventually begin destroying everything he touches. You’d become a prisoner in your own home.

If you’ve let wrong thoughts about God, about yourself or about life enter your mind, then it’s time to take them captive and throw them out. That’s not enough though, they must be replaced with the truth.

An even better way to deal with unwanted intruding thoughts is to not even allow them into your mind in the first place. It’s like setting up a fence and an alarm system around your home.

Where are the negative thoughts in your life coming from? Here are some possible places:

  • Old thought patterns from when we were kids. Those negative things our parents, teachers or friends said about us.
  • The media. It could be the television news, your Facebook feed, Twitter or a website. Maybe it’s talk radio.
  • Your family, friends or co-workers. This isn’t to suggest you’re hanging around with evil people, but unless someone is walking in the power of God’s Spirit, they have the potential to speak negative thoughts into your life.
  • Satan and his demonic forces. They can whisper lies to us if we let them.

If you find yourself feeling negative emotions today, pause for a moment and trace your thoughts back to where the emotion started. The feeling of hopelessness or despair or worry didn’t just appear out of thin air. It began with a thought you allowed to come into your mind and take up residence.

It’s time to kick out the unwanted “guests” and replace them with Jesus, who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” And His promise is to give us life and peace.

Mind Weeds

Posted: May 27th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Truth | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Right now. How are you feeling?

Are you happy? Content? At peace?

How about tired? Weary? Or sad?

Are you worried? Anxious? Afraid?

Just like the weeds in my yard are an indication that my lawn needs attention, negative feelings are a sure sign my mind needs some work. And just as with my lawn, for some reason the mind weeds grow fast and are hard to get rid of. It takes persistence and hard work.

Paul wrote to the church in Philipi:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Picture a perfect green lawn. No brown patches or bare spots. It’s well-manicured and free of weeds. It’s bordered by beautiful flower beds. That’s the mind at peace. It’s how your mind is meant to be.

Persistent feelings of anxiety or worry or fear mean that wrong thoughts have taken root in the soil of your mind. Just as with the weeds in your lawn, wrong thoughts must be removed.

For me, the most persistent weed is simply unbelief. It shows up when I try to handle life’s problems and difficulties on my own. It may be a financial concern for which I see no solution. It could be a work-related problem that only seems to get worse. It might be any number of issues that are important to me, but over which I have little control.

Wrong thoughts must be identified and rejected. Then they need to be replaced.

It doesn’t work if I just tell myself, “Stop worrying about money” or “Don’t get so worked up about him/her/it.”

Yes, God says “do not be anxious about anything”, but He also goes on to say “present your requests.” I can’t do one without the other. It just doesn’t work. Error must be replaced with truth.

The only way to stop being anxious is to present my requests to God AND then continually remind myself that He is good, He is all-powerful, He sees my needs, He knows what concerns me, He loves me and wants the best for me, He is faithful and trustworthy, etc.

How’s your lawn looking? Got a few weeds that need to be pulled? What are they? Identify them and dig them up.

Then give your concerns, your problems and your difficulties to your Father. Present them to Him. Then choose to remember He’s got them all taken care of. The result is a mind at peace.

It’s not easy, but it is possible.