Shape UR Thoughts

9 Mar

Human nature what it is, it’s easy to find lots of examples of people not thinking.Young Woman - Thinking

For example, a man called the hospital and yelled into the phone, “You’ve got to send an ambulance right away! My wife is going into labor!”

The nurse said, “Okay, but please calm down. By the way, is this her first child?”

“No!” he answered, “This is her husband!”

Another man, not so smart, got a job at a candy factory working in quality control, but he lost his job because he kept throwing away all the M&Ms that said “W.”

But then there are those quick-thinking people … like this smart dad:

A high school girl ran up to her father, exclaiming, “Daddy, Daddy, I need fifty dollars!

“Forty dollars?” said the father, “what do you need thirty dollars for? *

The older I (Dawn) get, the more I understand that our thoughts shape our lives. In other words, what we think about for a while, we tend to act out. The Bible says that as we think within, so we are (Proverbs 23:7). This isn’t just talking about passing thoughts, but thoughts that hang around and “stick to the walls” of our minds ~ thoughts we allow to dwell there.

Like temptation, thoughts can’t always be anticipated, but we can make choices about what we do with our thoughts when they come. By being selective, we can shape our thinking!

The tricky thing is, we don’t usually slow down long enough to “consider” or to “ponder” our thoughts. If we do, we can apply some basic principles to our thoughts to determine whether we want them to remain with us, shaping our lives, or whether we should reject them and cast them out before they destroy our families, relationships, ministries, etc.

Here are some guiding principles I use to evaluate my thoughts:

  • Does this thought qualify as “excellent” or “praiseworthy” thinking? (Philippians 4:8)
  • Does this thought have eternal merit? (2 Corinthians 4:18)
  • Does this thought bring glory to God? (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  • Is this thought based in practical and biblical wisdom, or foolishness from another source? (Proverbs 9:10; James 1:5)
  • Can you give thanks for this thought? (Colossians 3:17)
  • Is this thought an evidence of submission to anything other than Jesus Christ? (2 Corinthians 10:5b)
  • Does this thought evidence conformity to the world, or to the transforming truth of the Bible? (Romans 12:2a)

I don’t always stop to ponder my thoughts, but I’m growing in that stewardship of my mind, because I believe God wants us to manage our thoughts ~ to gain wisdom by seeking His heart and will. He wants us to choose whether to reject certain thoughts or allow them to remain and grow.

So how do we manage out thoughts?

Sometimes it helps to write out what we are thinking … to see it on paper. I know that I have actually changed direction after seeing my thoughts on paper and then evaluated them alongside biblical truth. A few of them were exposed as silly or impractical; and others seemed to make more sense. It’s a helpful exercise.

Don’t take wrong thoughts lightly. The Bible makes it clear that we are to cast out anything that exalts itself against Christ, and that includes our thoughts. We need to reject lies and distorted thinking from the enemy, from our culture, or even from within our own hearts.  A lie that crops up frequently in my mind is that I am a “nobody.” I have to cast out that lie every time.

But getting rid of wrong thinking isn’t enough. We need to replace wrong thoughts with clear, biblical truth. We substitute godly thoughts every time a lie or distortion arises. When  the thought comes that I am a “nobody,” I quote scriptures that show how much God loves me. I remind myself that I am God’s cherished child and His ambassador.)

Part of managing our thinking is to practice wisdom thinking every opportunity we get (Philippians 4:9a). I often come to God in prayer and, like King David, ask Him to train my thoughts as He teaches me His ways (Psalm 25:4-5).

The amazing thing is the transformation that can take place not only in our thinking, but our perspective. Over time, God’s wonderful Word shapes our thoughts ~ and ultimately, our lives.

Can you think of other biblical guiding principles that are helpful in guarding and shaping our thoughts?

* All jokes adapted from: http://www.baloneymobile.com/29jokes2.html

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5 Responses to “Shape UR Thoughts”

  1. Joy March 9, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    Thank you for the wonderful devotions.

    I’ve been under attack with negative thoughts by the evil one and rebuking it with scripture. Today’s devotion specifically spoke to my needs in a way that God knew I needed.

  2. Verna Lee Curry March 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    Wanting to make sure I got the wording right, “If you repeat a lie enough times it becomes truth,” I plugged it into Google and found that three are attributed to a variation of that phrase – James Goebbels, Vladimir Lenin and William James. However, the saying that has governed me for the past 30 years is “You behave the way you behave because you believe what you believe.” If that’s the case, then the line can be drawn between any lies that get repeated until they become truth and a person’s behavior. If you’re still following me, then you’ll understand that unless we debunk those lies – like “I am nobody” or “I am fat” or whatever “I am” you are telling yourself – our behavior will follow our thinking. The “I am” phrases are dangerous because they become a descriptor of who we are. To say that “I am fat” identifies me with that fat as opposed to saying “I am a person who is carrying too much weight.” “I am a person who doesn’t seem to have a clear identity” is different than saying “I am nobody.” Both of the preferred statements allow us our personhood but describe a shortcoming or problem. God’s Name for Himself is I AM. He knows exactly what word He wants to follow your “I am….” Trust Him for His ideas of who you are. Believe His “I am” for who you are and your behavior will follow.

    • Dawn Wilson March 9, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

      Verna, you are so right. When I attended a Bible college class, we were taught this sequence: Thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, actions, habits. It all begins with our thoughts. We do need to be careful what we think, and what we say to ourselves. We need to be careful that our thinking is biblical. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Patsy March 9, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    What a blessing. Just perfect words for what I needed today.

  4. Dawn Wilson March 9, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Patsy and Joy, I’m glad the post touched a need today. That’s our goal… to give women a moment of LOL, but then a lasting, practical truth principle for their lives. Glory to God!

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