I was just thinkingâ€¦
Learning to control our thoughts is a process that leads to freedom from an imprisoned mind shackled by lifeâ€™s challenges, past experiences, and seemingly senseless situations.
What are you thinking?
I honestly donâ€™t know what youâ€™re thinking as you begin reading this, or what you will think after reading this essay. Nevertheless, my intent is to encourage you in the disciplines of your thought life by applying selective thinkingâ€”choosing your thoughts based on biblical truths.
Iâ€™m sure you will agree that trying to control thoughts about even the simplest things of everyday life can be wearisome.
For example, when my 17-year old son was sure he found his first and only love, Bianca, he charted their month-to-month anniversary on the wall calendar. Their artistic creativity was exchanged through love letters, notes, and on scraps of papers I found throughout the houseâ€¦ (Yes I was a snoop if that’s what you want to call it!) But thereâ€™s really no â€œright to privacyâ€ law in my house). Â After finding all this, guess what I was thinking? Â Thoughts flooded my mind like a broken leveeâ€¦ Oh, no! This relationship cannot be that serious!Â Â What is he thinking? He should be thinking about graduation, college, and career.
My thoughts were out of control. I told myself to calm down. I knew if I didn’t redirect my thoughts I would become a weary, overprotective mother. Â Anxiety and uncontrollable emotions would eradicate any hopes of logic reasoning or spiritual insight. Â I could not predict his hormone reactions, nor manipulate his thinking process. The truth is, I really didn’t know what he was thinking. Therefore, rather than wasting time trying to manipulate his thoughts and make assumptions, I talked to him. I asked him about his thoughts on love and relationships.
I told him and showed him what Godâ€™s word said, and I personally modeled the way in my attitude and actions. I am not naÃ¯ve. I knew he was not sharing all his thoughts. Did you share all yours with your parents when you were a teenager? Rightâ€¦ Nevertheless, my responsibility was to teach him the importance of selective thinking; help him learn how to apply biblical principles in his relationships. It was my responsibility to show him that every aspect of life, especially his personal life, is governed by the power of his thoughtsâ€”positive or negative. Ultimately, he would have to learn how to manage his thoughts, or they would become the master of his life good or bad, right or wrong.
Controlling our thoughts through selective thinking empowers us to:
- Manage life without becoming emotionally bankrupt.
- Patiently endure adversity by redirecting our thoughts toward God and His Word
- Be victorious over every situation knowing that Godâ€™s got your back.
Letâ€™s consider Apostle Paul as our example along with his instructions recorded in Philippians 4. Although he was imprisoned in a Roman jail, he wrote this letter of encouragement to the church at Philippi. He was definitely in a situation where his perspective could have been distorted by his hardships. Unless he had controlled his thoughts through selective thinking, discouragement and disappointment would have been his daily doses of medicine.
How often do we let unfavorable circumstances be the energy that propels negative thinking?
In fact, studying Paulâ€™s life, we learn that we cannot allow our mind to be imprisoned by negative thoughts of adverse circumstances. Using selective thinking to control our thoughts enables us to stay encouraged and encourage others to stand firm through difficulties. If Paul had focused on the â€œdown-sideâ€ of his situation and restrained his thoughts to the same, he would have given up on sharing the good news (gospel) of Jesus Christ. No doubt, he would have aborted his divine mission. Instead, he chose to live in God-consciousnessâ€”seeing from Godâ€™s perspective and relying on his personal knowledge of God. Consequently, he experienced the peace of God in the worst of situations and could help others do the same (Philippians 1:12; 4:4-7).
We can experience this same peace in the midst of adversity through selective thinkingâ€”choosing what we think about.
Paul closed his letter to the Philippians with the formula for securing the peace of God through the application of selective thinkingâ€”choosing your thoughts.
Here is what he said,
Finallyâ€¦whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableâ€”if anything is excellent or praiseworthyâ€”think about such things (Philippians 4:8).
Also, what I find thatâ€™s equally important is Paulâ€™s example of leadership. (v.9), â€œWhatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in meâ€”put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.â€
We Christians should not only be selective in our thoughts, but we must remember that our conduct and conversations reveal our thoughts. We are all leaders whether we hold positions and titles or not. We are examples. Â We are Christâ€™s witnesses. Therefore, we must model the Way, Truth and the Life so that others can practice what they have learned from us, received or heard from us, and most definitely seen in us. Â Need I say, we should be modeling Christian character? Perhaps youâ€™re thinking what a petty example to use my son. But ultimately the point I want to make is this: Even in the simplest things of life we must channel our thoughts so that we add value to our life, our relationships, and our decision-making.
Learning to control our thoughts through selective thinking positions and empowers us to
- Offer encouragement to others
- Be insightful and apply wisdom and knowledge
- Teach and instruct others in Godâ€™s Word to live purposeful and victorious lives through Christ.
Â After all, what we think is central to who we are, what we do, and how we live.
I was just thinkingâ€¦
If every Christian accepted a leadership role, by modeling Christ-like character in daily simplistic living, using selective thinking, applying biblical principles, and obeying the Word of God, we could change what the â€œworldâ€ thinks about Christ.
And the Presence, Peace, and Power of God would be manifested in and through us to advance the Kingdom of God.
I was just thinkingâ€¦ What are you thinking?
Â©2007 Â©2015 Queen E. F. Phillips. Revised. All rights reserved. Permission granted to use for non-commercial use without written permission. Credit must be given to copyright owner.