As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Is it really that important what I think about? I scroll thru my Facebook feed, I click on Yahoo News to see what’s going on in the world today, I turn on CNN or Fox News to watch the evening news. In our current cultural, political and economic climate, any one of these options will likely lead me to think thoughts that are less than encouraging or inspiring. But does this really mean that “so is he”, or so am I?
Is it possible to really control what I think about? In 2 Corinthians 10:5 we see that there is a way for us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. The context of this passage is Paul encouraging the church to use the divine power available to them to demolish strongholds in their lives. Our world is certainly an increasingly unstable, evil place and our tendency to dwell on this negativity can actually be a spiritual attack on us, a stronghold in our minds. But thankfully Paul says that it is possible to require these thoughts to be obedient to Christ. This can only be accomplished by the supernatural power of prayer and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
There are multiple ways of keeping our thoughts of what we see in the news from turning into a stronghold. The first way is to give them much less space in our heads. While it is not wise to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that all is well around us, I believe many of us could handle a whole lot less of this type of information. Are we willing to “throw off everything that hinders” as we “run with perseverance the race marked out for us”? We have a calling to fulfill, and if our obsession with the news is hindering us from running well, we need to be willing to do with much less of it.
However, whenever we remove something, it is always wise to replace it with something else, which brings us to the second way of demolishing this stronghold. In Philippians 4:8-9 Paul gives us the antidote for this kind of stinkin thinkin. Here we will find what we can place in that void that is created when we give less attention to the mainstream media of our day. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me, put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (NIV)
These two verses make it clear that there is a way to clean up our thoughts. The things Paul encourages us to think about are all around us if we just start looking for them. Then as we begin getting accustomed to looking for these things, it can actually become second nature for us. And the beauty of this is found at the end of verse 9 where he says that the God of peace will be with you.
Which will you allow to take up residence in the prime real estate of your mind? The depressing and corrupt news of our society, or the peace of God? I choose peace!
Pastor Phil Mast