When I was a teenager, my friends and I had a saying to communicate how much we liked a guy. If one of us girls started talking about a guy all the time, wanting to be with him when we weren’t, we’d say, “Girl, he’s got your mind!” That was our way of saying this boy had moved beyond the crush stage and had truly penetrated a girl’s desire and longing. Now that I’m older, and have learned something about the difficulties of being a dedicated follower of Christ, I look around at my sisters and inward at myself, and I ask,
“Who’s Got Our Minds?”
Who and/or what fills our thoughts? On what do we meditate regularly? What does that recurring tape in our heads say about God, ourselves, others, our circumstances, our future? If we can’t readily answer these questions, we should…pardon the pun…”give it some thought.” What’s on our minds matters. A lot. God has given us a mind to help us process our lives by making sense of the world around us and our place in it. But it’s not just a physiological mechanism; it’s a gift by which we can come to know and grow to love the Lord. And the Word of God makes clear that we are responsible for what we think, how far we allow our thoughts to go in any direction, and that we will experience the consequences of where our thoughts take us.
Thinking about a woman (or man) a certain way, even without acting on it, is adultery…Matt. 5:28
Thinking about ourselves too much and comparing ourselves to others is unwise…2 Cor. 10:12
Given the choice, we should choose to think the best…Phil. 4:8
Our minds can be kept peaceful and calm through prayer…Phil. 4:6-7
And perhaps most importantly, we have to make sure what we believe about our minds and thoughts is correct. The messages of the world would have us believe that we can’t really control what we think, as if thoughts just float through our consciousness without any involvement from us. Totally untrue. In fact, the beautiful truth is that there are basically two sources of our thoughts: either our thoughts are being determined by our sinful nature, or they are being controlled by the Holy Spirit. No middle ground, no neutral territory.
“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” Rom. 5:5-6
This is critical to understand because the ramifications are serious:
“For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.” Rom. 5:7-8
That stuns me. And sheds a lot of light, too. If we are having ongoing trouble controlling negative, prideful, bitter, self-absorbed, judgmental thoughts, it’s probably an indication that we are being dominated by our sinful nature. We are displaying a hostility to God and His laws, and this is not pleasing to God. But the good news is…there’s a remedy. Let the Spirit control our minds. Easy to understand, not so easy to do…at first. It’s like any other spiritual discipline–the more we engage in it, the more we submit to the Holy Spirit, the more room we allow Him in our lives, the “easier” it will become. What I have found most helpful is to study the Word…regularly. That way, when thoughts come that originate from that sinful nature, the Holy Spirit can remind us of a truth He’s already shown us in His Word. But don’t get it twisted…I STILL struggle…regularly. Especially when I’m stressed or anxious or just plain lazy.
But this is too important for any of us to ignore. Can we commit, as a community of women who want to please our Savior and Friend, to really focus on this in prayer and practice?
I’ll be on this topic for several posts, so let’s explore it together.