Last month, we started an intro discussion on how to purify our priorities and how we discover more of God’s desires as we love at all costs. Today I want to continue in the same vain, but switch gears slightly by exploring ways we can purify our thought life.
But before I dive in, let me just say…I may have gotten a little ahead of myself in writing that last post. ‘Cause while godly resolutions are certainly worth discussing, if we don’t have that foursquare foundation (i.e. mind, heart, soul, strength) set and surrendered, then we’ll likely find it difficult to live how we want to live/how we’re called to live when we reach the crossroads of life…
…which brings me to why I’m writing this…
…that no matter where we find ourselves, we’ll be reminded how the greatest battle is the one unseen1…
With that said, here are three (of many) ways to purify your “thought life”.
1) Pay Attention
As obvious as this may sound, it bears mention at the #1 spot ‘cause…let’s face it: it’s hard to change something you’re not aware of. Thankfully, when we pay close attention to our thought life, it’s not long before we’re able to identify those patterns and triggers that shape the framework of what we believe and how we behave.
For example, one of my guilty thought habits in recent years has been to focus on people who’ve hurt me whenever I work out. More often than not, I’ll be running along rockin’ out to my jams only to hit a burst of energy as I indulge the idea of proving them wrong.
Now, as a runaholic, I can appreciate the extra bounce in my step; however, as I recently realized, whatever “benefit” is gained on behalf of vain fantasy is worth giving up for the sake of thinking like Jesus. After all, it was him who regularly taught how a person’s thoughts determine who that person is.
In my case, I was taking past pain and projecting it into fiction so I could somehow feel “un-rejected” and appreciated; however, if only I hadn’t engaged the pattern to the point it matured into habit, perhaps it’d be easier for me to trust God as far as who He says I am today.
Bottom line: Before we can take action on purifying a thought pattern, we first must be made aware of it. Only then can we begin to proactively renew our minds.
2) Pray Attention
While recognizing growth potential is certainly freeing, it’s not until we encounter that growth that we experience freedom. That’s why I submit the best way to boost awareness into action is through prayer. ‘Cause as it pertains to our thoughts, if we are willing to take our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and submit them to the authority of Christ, we’ll inevitably discover the joy in repentance…not to mention being transparent and vulnerable before the Lord.
Think of it like this: your mind is a spiritual battleground where evil forces combat agents of light every day. If you know your mind is being pursued, you wouldn’t want to leave it unprotected, right?
So how then must we defend it?
By declaring the Word through prayer2! See…this is why knowing and meditating on the Word of God is so important…’cause if you’re fearless and faithful to cover yourself in prayer…then you can ultimately experience the wonder-working power of God’s truths transforming that foursquare foundation we mentioned earlier.
Bottom line: By purifying your thought life through prayer, you put yourself in position for His thoughts to become your thoughts.
3) Stand at Attention
As great as prayer is, purifying your thought life doesn’t end there. Yes, catching bad thoughts and making them obedient to Christ is important, but it’s not until this exchange becomes a daily pattern that we begin to see heart + mind + soul-change.
Thus, if we want to seal the deal in purifying our thought life, we must be committed to stand at attention…at all times (Ephesians 6:14-17, 1 Corinthians 16:13). Only then can we truly pull our negative thinking out by the roots.
Bottom line: “Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.” ~ Abraham Lincoln3
In closing, I encourage you to put these three steps into motion the way God has you.
Just make sure that whatever route you choose, you…
* Consider your goals…
* Create a game-plan…
* …and close out by praying over it/submitting it to God so He can breathe over your good intentions with His intentions.
Remember: the world’s counsel will try to distract you from bad thoughts4, but through Christ, you can defeat and conquer them.
I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the permanent solution all day, every day.
Stay tuned next time when we’ll go one step further in troubleshooting some of the more stubborn, resilient thought patterns. In the meantime, if any of this resonates with you, feel free to shoot a comment below.
1) A notion completely contrarian to what we find embedded within our fragile, postmodern world
2) Seriously…if you were ever looking for a weapon that never fails…Word-fused prayer is it
3) Think of points #1 and #2 as getting your feet in the right place…and #3 as “stand firm”
4) Like yoga, journaling (which isn’t bad unless it’s an ends to a mean itself), Oprah’s “no-nonse strategies”, etc.
Photo creds: cutwatersolutions.com & fbccov.org
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.