Cross-Training Our Minds

Develop the Right Thoughts

By In Touch Ministries Staff
  • April 29, 2017

Stop. What were you just thinking about? Was it positive? Negative? Would it qualify as “true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and of good repute” (Phil. 4:8)?

Our minds are amazing problem-solving machines. They invented the wheel, discovered fire. We can troubleshoot like no other creature. But that can be a problem sometimes. If we think about fixing wrongs too much, we can forget to remember the good things that have gone right.

Like an athlete who has over-trained a certain set of muscles and neglected others, our minds can become unbalanced. Too much time focusing on negative issues drag us into critical thoughts and behaviors. (What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I fix this problem?) Therefore, we must cross-train our supporting muscles of gratitude, forgiveness, grace, mercy, and the like.

How do we do that? By filling our minds with the truth of Scripture. As Dr. Stanley says in this month’s From the Pastor’s Heart letter:

God’s Word assures us that there is no condemnation for those in Christ. Since our emotions flow from our thoughts, we need to fill our minds with God’s truths. This may take some time, but if we’ll persist in replacing condemning thoughts with verses from the Bible that assure us of God’s forgiveness and love, in time our emotions will begin to align with His truth.

We’ve got to pay attention to our chain of thoughts. They reveal our true beliefs and influence our actions. As James noted, it’s got to be faith and works (James 2:14-26). They go together. You can’t just say you believe. You’ve got to believe God’s Word—and then act like you do.

When we believe the truth about ourselves, we can be and do all that God has planned for us. It frees us from overwhelming negative emotions when we remember we can have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16). And we can have peace knowing we don’t have to figure everything out on our own. God will equip us to handle the challenges He puts before us in due time—and that’s a good thought to dwell on.

Dr. Stanley shares more about overcoming condemning thoughts in this month’s From the Pastor’s Heart letter.

Related Topics:  Faith  |  Discouragement  |  Anxiety

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8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

14 What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,

16 and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

17 Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

18 But someone may well say, You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."

19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

20 But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?

22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;

23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called the friend of God.

24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?

26 For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.


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