Teach Your Thoughts
By: Amanda Idleman
We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. - 2 Corinthians 10:5
The battle for a joy-filled life starts in the mind. When we are living a spirit-filled life, it is then we can more easily see when our attitudes or thoughts don’t align with the instructions of Christ.
In other words, in order to find joy, we have to be dialed into the Holy Spirit. We must allow the Spirit to convict us when our thoughts don’t align with the truth of God’s Word found in 2 Corinthians 10:5 and begin to “capture every thought.”
The temptation to let our thoughts spiral out of control is hard to overcome! All it can take is reading one article about some scary new study finding or come across a piece of news that hits a little too close to home, and the mind can start to race with fear. We must use wisdom about what information we allow into our lives and how we let it affect us. These are the seemingly tiny choices that make a huge impact on our spiritual health, peace of mind, attitude, and ability to have joy even in the midst of a storm.
Matthew 6:34 says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Focus your minds on the now. Engage with what we know today to be real and true. Only God knows what the future holds, it is not ours to worry over.
We defend against negativity that so easily creeps into the mind by kicking those thoughts out and replacing them with more grace-filled meditations. How then do we take it to the next level and begin to go on the offensive against joy-killing thoughts? By purposefully meditating on the good. Here are some great ways to feed ourselves with positive messages that will push out the negative.
1. Write a daily gratitude list. Thank God for the ways He has provided for you each and every day.
2. Create a list of verses that uplift your heart and mind. Commit as many as you can to memory. Read through them when you find yourself feeling frustrated or overrun with anxious thoughts.
3. Choose a Christian Bible study, podcast, or Devotional to read through. Let the principles you are reflecting on that take the place of the negative messages that want to flood our thoughts.
4. Limit your use of media and carefully vet the shows, books, social media, and music that you consume.
5. Evaluate your closest relationships. Are they encouraging you in your faith or reinforcing the negativity of the world? Set boundaries when necessary to help preserve joy in your life.
Paul tells us we have to actually “teach” our thoughts to obey Christ. We cannot be passive about what’s going on in our minds. The way we win joy in the day-to-day is through training our minds to expect it.
Amanda Idleman is a writer whose passion is to encourage others to live joyfully. She writes devotions for My Daily Bible Verse Devotional and Podcast, Crosswalk Couples Devotional, the Daily Devotional App, she has work published with Her View from Home, on the MOPS Blog, and is a regular contributor for Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Amanda on her Facebook Page, Blog or follow her on Instagram.
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