Managing Our Thought Lives
by Adam Wittenberg
Your mind is important. What you think, and what you think about, matters—a lot.
Your mind is so important that Scripture exhorts believers to cast “down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
This is hard work. It’s a battle, and it won’t come easily, but if we take control of our thoughts, our actions will follow.
Choosing Our Thoughts
Scripture tells us that it’s not natural to think godly thoughts all day long. Even if we are Christians, we must fight to regulate our thought lives.
The world, the devil, and the flesh all try to fill our minds with thoughts and ideas that oppose God and His ways. We can’t pretend to be neutral: if our thoughts aren’t set on Christ and grounded in His Word, they will drift to other things.
This is why Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
The good news is, we can choose our thoughts.
Over time, we can train our minds to do exactly what Paul said. It will take the Holy Spirit’s power, but He is in us and will help us, because this is God’s will for us.
Retraining Our Minds
It starts by turning from what the world, flesh, and devil have told us—about ourselves and others—to the glorious truth of God’s Word. There’s nothing more pure, noble, and praiseworthy than that!
For instance, if we’ve grown up in an environment that taught us negative thought patterns, we can renounce them and start living by what God says.
If we’ve believed lies spoken by others (and repeated them to ourselves), we can confess that to the Lord and begin to embrace His truth.
It’s usually a process, but God’s Word brings breakthrough, for “the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
There’s nothing too hard for God! If we humble ourselves, accept this, and partner with Him, we will encounter His grace and see stunning transformation.
But be warned: this is difficult, if not impossible, to do without God’s Word.
Using The Word
His Word is the truth, truth that will outlast heaven and earth (Mark 13:31), and so we need it in our lives, and in our mouths, every day (Joshua 1:8). It’s part of the prayer Jesus taught us to pray: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).
Memorizing scriptures about how God thinks and feels about you will go a long way toward breaking accusation off of your life.
When the devil, the world, and the flesh come to accuse you for past sins, you can answer back—out loud—“I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
When those voices say we’re unworthy or unloved by God, we can quote Song 7:10, “I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is for me.”
The Word transforms our hearts and minds, aligning us with heaven. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Meditate on these key scriptures. Write them down over a number of days. Post them on your mirror, desk, school locker, or car, in places where you’ll see them daily.
Focus on God’s love and go deep in it. Make it your fascination. Fill your life with His Word and truth, which includes His thoughts and feelings toward you (Jeremiah 29:11).
Praying Short Prayers
In addition to quoting scripture, many believers pray short, 10–15 second prayers throughout the day. You can tell God things like, “Thank You for loving me;” “Thank You for making me; let me feel Your love;” or “Jesus, You are the King. Help me follow Your Word.”
These prayers can aid in a time of crisis—or whenever we’re lonely, bored, or needing a touch from God. They’re a great way to fill time, and can be used in our devotional lives as well.
Mike Bickle, International House of Prayer director, has compiled a list of short prayers based on acronyms such as FELLOWSHIP and TRUST, powerful tools to build your prayer life. You can download “Prayers to Strengthen Your Inner Man” for free here.
It might seem small at first, but taking our thoughts captive and praying God’s word will bring your heart, mind, and life into greater alignment with God’s will.
Give it a try for the next week. What have you got to lose (besides those negative thoughts!)?
For more on managing your thought life, watch Mike Bickle’s teaching Loving God with All Our Mind »
Question: How can you fill your mind with God’s Word?
A Detroit native who was raised in Vermont and Connecticut, Adam worked as a newspaper journalist until 2012, when he moved to Kansas City to complete the Intro to IHOPKC internship. Afterwards, he earned a four-year certificate in House of Prayer Leadership from IHOPU and is now on full-time staff in the Marketing department at IHOPKC. He also serves in the NightWatch (overnight prayer hours) and is active in evangelism. He, and his wife Stephany, have a vision to reach people everywhere with the good news of Jesus Christ.