“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3
The last Essential under the Spiritual section is to engage your mind. This one is also a biggie for me! I’m naturally analytical (a.k.a. pessimistic and critical), so I have had to really make this a matter of prayer and daily practice to change my thinking. I have had to learn to be a proactive thinker and think intentional thoughts, rather than a reactive thinker. The average person thinks roughly 10,000 thoughts per day! So, needless to say, it’s very easy to simply be responding to my thoughts all day rather than controlling them. If you’re like me, it’s super easy to let critical, negative, doubting, angry, bitter, lazy, and unprofitable thoughts take over my mind. Rather than filling my mind with Scripture and Biblical thoughts, I often end up thinking not-so-holy-rabbit-trail-thoughts (yes, I just made that term up!) Scripture is clear that “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov. 23:7). 2 Cor. 10:5 says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…” (emphasis mine) That’s some pretty strong language. I realized I had to say to my mind, “No, you are not going there, you are not going to think that. You are going to think Biblically, and the Bible says___________.” When I have truly been enjoying Jesus (priority #1) and spending time in his presence, then this is much easier. The more I’m in His Word and know it, the better I can “take every thought captive.” I realized that I couldn’t think critical, angry, bitter, or fearful thoughts and expect to be a kind, loving, happy, and healthy woman. It just doesn’t work!
Scripture meditation and memorization are an integral part of nurturing our relationship with the Lord. As we fill our minds with Scripture (read it, memorize it, pray it, review it), we will begin to see our thoughts changing. And as our thoughts change, we will begin to change. Romans 12:2 says to be “transformed by the renewal of your mind.” As Christians, we can be transformed. We can change! As believers, we are united to Christ and have his indwelling Holy Spirit. Therefore, we can have supernatural thinking. We don’t have to be stuck in the same old sin patterns we’ve always struggled with. We can change. And it begins with transformed, Spirit-filled thinking.
“Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” Ralph Waldo Emerson