"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." ... Philippians 4:8
In Pam's comment to my last post she wished she knew "why it's so tempting to hold onto some of the junk."
Oh! Oh! See Debra in the back of the classroom raising her hand because she thinks she knows this one. :)
The unrenewed, undisciplined mind always goes down. That's the natural way. You know, like a rubber raft will lazily float downstream unless somebody inside of it paddles like crazy against the flow.
Anybody's thoughts can spiral downward. Anyone from an atheist to the just plain clueless or Christians, even, who haven't disciplined their thoughts.
My thoughts used to go down to their boggiest point when money got tight or Naomi would return home late or I'd mail bags of letters but receive only a trickle. I'd dwell on the down stuff when the skies stayed grey for days, temperatures would hover around 0 or friends wouldn't reciprocate my invitations. Or if Tom left the house upset or when relatives (and others) snapped at me, accusing me of ideas I'd never even imagined.
Going down is a cinch. Anyone with a brain can do it.
But did you see the verse at the top of this? It was a biggy in my getting 'a whole new head.' The main thing? For years I consciously did this:
Whenever I'd have a Down Thought, I'd choose an Up Thought instead. A pleasing memory rather than a dreadful one, a sweet hope not a dread. Over and over. Even if that Down Thought resurfaced 60 times, I would choose an Up Thought 60 times to replace it.
You do that for a couple years and wow. You notice the choosing becomes automatic, this switching to Up Thoughts. And then you wake up one morning and your world seems brighter, different and you wonder, "How did I miss all this before?"
But real peace never 'just happens'. In this present world, what comes naturally is The Down Stuff. Lasting peace requires intense discipline, training and loads of The Word and Grace:
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." ... Hebrews 12:11
And oh, after the discipline! Those harvests of righteousness and peace wave like golden fields inside a disciplined mind. Nothing else compares to those myriad good thoughts, especially when you've still got them after all the world went bad.
"You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon You because he trusts in You." ... Isaiah 26:3
... (We) take every thought captive to obey Christ ..." ... 2 Corinthians 10:5
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." ... Romans 12:2
How do you stop thinking bad thoughts? Choose good thoughts, instead. And please don't reply with the ol,' 'easier said than done' thing. Everything in Life is easier said than done...
I can't even explain to you how vital this all was for me to understand and start doing 20 years ago! I used to think sad/mad/discouraged thoughts all day and it felt normal, but now? If one of those negative thoughts camps in my head, it's almost like, "What's this? What's going on here?" :) It stands out and immediately I know I must deal with it. There is no soaking in that junk, even subconsciously, all day anymore. Thank God. Truly.
Free Kindle book:
Confessions of a Transformed Heart
For more Bible verses about the battlefield of the mind, go here.