Ruling Your Thoughts

“If anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV

God is with those in whose minds are thoughts pleasing to Him.

My thoughts and comments today are about “ruling your thoughts.”

Whatever dominates your thoughts eventually directs your life. You either rule your thoughts, or they will rule you. Your inner life consists of your mind, will, and emotions. And the mind often has a predominate role in directing your feelings and choices. Your thoughts act like a personal rudder that steers your decisions and directions you take. Though referring to the tongue, the Bible describes a ship’s rudder in ways that could also be applied to the disproportionate influence of one’s thoughts, “Ships . . although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.” James 3:4 NIV. A thought seems so small but it is far from powerless.

Direct your thoughts where they ought to go rather than allow their taking you wherever they seem to go. Make thoughts your servant rather than master. Some people’s thoughts are like a whimsical preschooler, extremely active but not particularly productive, unless properly, sometimes forcefully directed. In Peter’s first epistle, he links your mind and thoughts with your proper conduct. Read 1 Peter 1:13-15 NKJV.

Thoughts will dictate how you feel about your life, sometimes unnoticeably at the moment – coloring the memories of your past, interpreting and often misinterpreting present events, and projecting future expectations. That makes them important for you to manage. You need to guide your thoughts for them to be productive and carefully guard them to be profitable. Much hurt can result to you or others if your thoughts are not daily purified by the “cleansing with the washing of water by the Word” (Ephesians 5:26 NKJV), and daily “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 NIV.

The Apostle Paul often referred to your mind as holding the key to one’s happiness, “. . guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Whatever is true . . noble . . right . . pure . . lovely . . admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things . . and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9 NIV. The God of peace is with those in whose minds are thoughts pleasing to Him. “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Read Romans 8:5-6 NIV/See Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT.

Do you wonder how to accomplish that? I can assure you that such rightly directed thoughts do not come naturally. You have to do a lot of sorting and selecting. First, recognize the mind of Christ resides within you. “No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God . . but we have the mind of Christ.” Read 1 Corinthians 2:11-16 NIV/Philippians 2:5-9 NKJV. With the mind of Christ within you, you can choose truth over error, contrast right from wrong, crave purity over impurity, choose excellence instead of mediocrity, and recognize what is praiseworthy.

Ruling your thoughts includes you but begins with God. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me . . For the word of God is living and active . . it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Psalm 139: 23-24 NIV/Hebrews 4:12 NIV. When God has done His part, you must then do yours. “Pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments . . bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” Read 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 KJV.

My prayer for you today is that your thoughts are of things excellent and praiseworthy.