Controlling Your Thoughts
by Charles F. Stanley
Scripture: Colossians 3:1-3
I. Introduction: Do you have problems controlling your thoughts? Perhaps you struggle with negative, ungodly thoughts. What you think determines where you end up in life, so it's vital that you learn to master your mind.
II. Scripture: Colossians 3:1-3
III. The Bible is full of truth about the importance of controlling our minds.
- Unbelievers set their minds on what comes naturally to humans—pursuing sensual, selfish or materialistic things (Rom. 8:5-7).
- God gives disobedient people over to their depraved minds (Rom. 1:28).
- We have to be careful that our minds aren't led away from pure devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 11:2-3).
- Controlling our thoughts is a vital part of spiritual warfare (2 Cor. 10:4-5).
IV. How can our transformation into new creatures affect our thought lives?
- The Holy Spirit enables us to walk out the Christian life. We died to our old life, and were raised to walk in newness of life. Example: a caterpillar turning into a butterfly.
- We can learn to view ourselves primarily as children of God: born-again and citizens of heaven.
- To have the mind of Christ means that we agree with Him about what's good and evil in this world. We share His values and begin to think like Him (2 Cor. 2:16).
- We have to guard our minds from the influence of the world. Example: watching soap operas.
- We must prepare by being alert to erroneous thinking (1 Peter 1:13). "Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a destiny."
- Seek first the rule of God in your life, and He will provide for your needs (Matt. 6:33).
V. If you want to be happy, even in difficult times, you must think rightly. How do you do that?
A. Screen your thoughts. Let the Word of God be the grid of your mind. Reject the thoughts that aren't compatible with the Bible. Ask yourself these questions:
- What's the source?
- Where will it lead me?
- Is this scripturally sound?
- Is this thought going to build me up or tear me down?
- Can I share this thought with someone else?
- Does this thought make me feel guilty?
- Does this fit who I am as a follower of Jesus?
B. Reject ungodly thoughts. If you ask yourself the questions above and realize the thought isn't godly, choose not to think about it again. Dwell on things that are good and practice living out those thoughts (Phil. 4:4-9).
C. Cultivate godly thoughts.
VI. Closing: Who you will be in the future is a result of what you think in the present. If you don't like where you're headed, begin to think godly, positive thoughts, and God will change your destiny.