Learning to Control Our Thoughts
Is your meditation acceptable to God? The word meditation is an activity that takes place in our minds. Your mind is the gateway to your soul. You can allow the devil to come into your mind or kick him out. We need to guard our minds very carefully.
“14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”
“12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”
The writer is telling us that he wants to think about all of God’s work. Do you know that everyone can tell what you meditate on just by hearing you talk? What do you talk about most? Do you talk about God or your favorite sport, or maybe you talk about money? If you have difficulty with your thoughts and meditating on the wrong things, it’s probably a good idea to look deeper at where God wants us to start because you will never win the war for pure thoughts if your heart is not pure first.
“19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:”
Here Jesus is teaching us that evil thoughts proceed from a wicked heart. However, a pure heart can also become a wicked heart if one does not carefully guard their thoughts. In other words, you will become what you give your mind to – you are what you think. Consider what the Proverb writer has to say about this.
“7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”
Have you heard people say you are what you eat? This saying means if you eat food lacking in nutritional value, you may have health problems. For example, if all you eat is candy, you will probably have cavities and bad gums. The same principle holds for our thoughts. We are what we think, and our thoughts will become our destiny. So, we write our destiny by how we think, and it happens in the same order as the following list.
- Our thoughts become attitudes.
- Our attitudes become actions.
- Our actions become habits.
- Our habits become our character.
- Our character becomes our destiny.
Many times sin begins with what we are meditating about. When someone begins to turn away from God, we can track it down to beginning with evil thoughts. Sin, by definition, is premeditated, which means we thought about something, and this meditation drove us to action. The action is why it is so essential to guard our thoughts. If we protect our minds against evil thoughts, sinful or wrong actions can never take place. When thoughts against God enter our minds, we need to throw these thoughts out immediately! The devil wants to gain access to our minds and cause us to think about ungodly things. Do you remember what happened in the garden with Adam and Eve?
Genesis 3: 1-6
“1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”
We find the serpent approached Eve and started to talk to her. The serpent pretending to be Eve’s friend began to ask her questions, not just any kind of questions, though. With his subtle questioning, the serpent started to challenge the commands God gave Eve. Then Eve began to think differently about the things God told her and Adam in the garden. I advise you never to get into a mental debate with the devil. Having thousands of years of experience on you, the devil will win every time. Eve started to interact with the serpent, and then the serpent lied to her. As Eve meditated on the lies, she began to believe them. What began as a seemingly innocent interaction turned to be the cause of Eve’s reason for sinning in the garden. She listened to the devil and thought about what he said, which led to her acting on her thoughts. So we need to be careful about what we meditate on. The devil will work to gain access to our minds, and this can create meditation that becomes a path to lead us away from God.
Another Bible example of improper meditation leading to sin is King David. At this time, King David was supposed to be at war against the enemy with his men. Instead, the King was home relaxing in his castle. The Bible tells us that while David was at home, he walked out onto his balcony and saw a woman bathing. David could have walked back inside his castle and rejected all thoughts of the woman. He had a choice. Instead, King David continued to meditate on this woman and her nakedness when finally the King sent for her. David was a married man; he should not have been looking or thinking about this woman. David allowed his meditation to drive his actions that eventually led him down the road to sin. Now, how is your meditation? Is it acceptable to God? Suppose you were married and someone approached you, and by their subtle speak, the devil plants thoughts in your mind of doubt that you married the right person? If you continue to meditate on those thoughts and then have a bad day with your spouse, the devil could take you down a path that could lead to sin. The correct response to this situation would be to say that’s not even an option for consideration! I rebuke that thought! The devil works through our thoughts and meditation.
With young people, the devil often works through situations with others, like being offered drugs. Then thoughts might present themselves in your mind like, ” I wonder what it will feel like if I try this drug?” It could happen at a time when you are having a bad day. The devil might suggest you try drugs to make you feel better. Remember, the devil works through our thoughts, and if a thought comes into our mind against God, we need to reject it with all the power God gives us. You may think, but I can’t control the thoughts that come into my mind, and that’s true. Sometimes thoughts enter our mind we have no control over. But we have a choice to reject the thought immediately or allow it to stay and meditate on it. Sometimes the devil will tell young people, “you don’t feel saved today.” The devil can bring thoughts to us that affect our feelings, so don’t help him along. Reject the ungodly thoughts. If God saved you and you haven’t sinned, rebuke the devil and claim your salvation. Sometimes the devil might put thoughts of cursing in your mind. We might hear someone else use an inappropriate word, and later in a situation, that word could show up in our mind; this is a classic example of the devil presenting us with temptation. But we have a choice not to say the inappropriate word, and God gives us the power to send that thought out of our minds.
Did you know there is a big difference between a thought or a meditation? A meditation being something that you think about continually. So what are the things that you continually think about? Are they pure thoughts that lead you toward God?
The devil also tries to work on thoughts, sometimes in the form of worry. Worry about legitimate things, like will I graduate, will I pass this test, or what will my future be like? The following is a story that correlates with worrying.
“A pilot was two hours into a flight when he heard a rat gnawing. He was worried this rat was chewing on something electrical, and this would cause a disaster. So he took the plane to 20,000 feet, and the rat’s chewing stopped. He landed the plane and found the high altitude killed the rat.”
The lesson is if you rise to the heights of committing yourself to God, the rodent of worry will die. It’s human nature to worry. Constant worrying is like a rat’s constant chewing that threatens to result in a potential disaster, which may or may not happen. As humans, we worry about many things, but it is heavenly to trust in God. Jesus wants us to trust in Him for what the future may hold for us. God gives us power over our thoughts of worry and other things. The following scripture can help us understand how we can control our thoughts.
“5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;.”
The Apostel Paul was telling the Corinthians to “cast down imaginations.” Fight evil thoughts. He taught further to bring every high thing against the knowledge of God into captivity. Imagine taking the bad thoughts, putting them into a cage, and throwing away the key. God wants us to bring evil thoughts under captivity, and He wants us to do the same with bad attitudes. We can arrest evil thoughts and bad attitudes before they become our character. Just say, “bad attitudes! I hereby arrest you!” and ” I am locking you up for life and throwing away the key!” God gives us the power to reject these evil thoughts.
“3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
So, as we near a close, are your thoughts and meditations acceptable to God? God gives us the power to keep our minds and hearts pure because we choose to keep our thoughts on Him.