Newsletter on Healthy Thinking

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Lesson: #29 March/2012

 

Hello,

 

Greetings in the Name of Christ!

 

This is the 29th lesson taken from my book entitled: "Godly Counsel." Today's topic is "Healthy Thinking." God is very concerned about our thinking. Is yours healthy? Are you exhibiting "the mind of Christ?"

 

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God Bless,

Brian

 

P.S.: Download a PDF version of this book chapter:

Healthy Thinking in PDF

 

 

 

Lesson 29

Healthy Thinking

 

"Take captive every thought to make it

obedient to Christ."

(2 Corinthians 10:5)

 

Thinking: mental processing;

evaluating and reasoning

 

Our thinking is greatly influenced by our underlying beliefs. We have a choice. We can either believe the lies taught by the world (and the devil), or believe the truths taught in the Bible, and as manifested in the perfect life of Jesus Christ.

 

As Christians, God expects us to bring our thinking into line with the truth. He pays close attention to our thinking. We cannot hide our thoughts from God.

 

Importantly, God has provided us with free will, and the tools and means by which we can begin to change our thought life: by diligently studying the truth as revealed in the Holy Bible; by focus­ing our thoughts on the life and teachings of Jesus; and by pray­ing for guidance from the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of truth). In the end, our thinking is transformed in remarkable and wonder­ful ways, as we become more and more Christ-like.

Synopsis

 

God is deeply concerned about our thinking.1 We cannot hide our thoughts from God.2 He is aware of everything we are think­ing and knows what we are going to say before we speak.3

 

I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind.

(Jeremiah 17:10)1

 

Yet you know me, O Lord; you see me and test

my thoughts about you.

(Jeremiah 12:3)2

 

Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely,

O Lord.

(Psalm 139:4) 3


God detests the thoughts of the wicked, but is pleased with thoughts of the pure in heart.4 Each and every thought we have, whether good or bad, is judged by the standard of God's Word, as contained in the Holy Bible.5

 

As Christians, we are born with a sinful nature,6 but God has given us the free will to focus our minds on evil, or focus our thoughts on God and truth.

 

The sinful mind is hostile to God, and does not submit to His law.7 Those who live according to their sinful nature have their minds focused on what their sinful nature desires. On the other hand, those who live according to the Spirit have their minds fo­cused on what the Spirit desires.8

 

The mind of the sinful man leads to death, but the mind con­trolled by the Spirit leads to life and peace.9 If we are Spirit filled and focus on God's Word, we will truly have the mind of Christ.10

 

The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked,

but those of the pure are pleasing to him.

(Proverbs 15:26)4

 

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any

double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul

and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts

and attitudes of the heart.

(Hebrews 4:12)5

 

Surely I was sinful from at birth, sinful from the time

my mother conceived me.

(Psalm 51:5)6

 

The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

(Romans 8:7-8)7

 

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set

on what the Spirit desires.

(Romans 8:5)8

 

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

(Romans 8:6)9

 

But we have the mind of Christ.

(1 Corinthians 2:16)10


 

Fortunately, God provides a great deal of advice about how we, as Christians, can take control of our thinking and make it pleasing to Him.

God's Guidance

 

First of all, we are to monitor our thoughts and reject and de­molish any thoughts that run contrary to God's truth; we are to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.11 We are to work to get control over our thinking and stop thinking in immature, childish ways.12,13

 

We are to stop dwelling on the past and on things we can't change.14 We are to focus our thoughts on positive aspects of our lives rather than on the negative-that is, we are to think about whatever is: true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, ex­cellent or praiseworthy.15

 

 

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself

up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

(2 Corinthians 10:5)11

 

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man,

I put childish ways behind me.

(1 Corinthians 13:11)12

 

Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

(1 Corinthians 14:20)13

 

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the

goal to win the prize for which God has

called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 3:13-14)14

 

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,

whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,

whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or

praiseworthy-think about such things.

(Philippians 4:8)15


 

We are to stop thinking as the world thinks, and no longer con­form to the pattern of thought that is prevalent in our society.16

 

We are to strive to keep our conscience clear be­fore God.17 We are to focus our minds on the truth as revealed by the Holy Spirit,18 and fix our thoughts on Jesus,19 the author and per­fecter of our faith.20

 

When we get our thinking straight and aligned with the spiritual truths, healthy emotions naturally follow. For example, the fruits of the Spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.21

 

In contrast, if we believe in the lies and the irrational beliefs taught by the world (and by the devil), we will experience negative emotions such as anger (Lesson 4), anxiety (Lesson 5), and de­pression (Lesson 12). The Bible abounds with information on how to avoid experi­encing these emotions by focusing on the truth, as revealed in the Scriptures.

 

 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is-his good,

pleasing and perfect will.

(Romans 12:2)16

 

So I strive always to keep my conscience clear

before God and man.

(Acts 24:16)17

 

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes,

he will guide you into all truth.

(John 16:13)18

 

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling,

fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest

whom we confess.

(Hebrews 3:1)19

 

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus,

the author and perfector of our faith.

(Hebrews 12:2)20

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, kindness,

faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

(Galatians 5:22-23)21


 

Finally, our underlying beliefs (and the thinking that flows from our beliefs), can have a profound influ­ence on our behavior-that is, the actions we take as Christians. God does not want us to simply hear the word and believe; He wants us to put our beliefs into practice.22

 

The Scriptures tell us that faith without action is dead.23 It is not enough to talk about our faith to others;24 God requires us to live out our faith in our own behavior and in our actions toward our fellow man.25-27

 

One of the greatest testimonies of our faith in action is our love for others. As we come to accept and obey the truth of the Bible and start to live out the truth in our thinking and in our behavior, we will naturally start to love one another deeply, from the heart.28

 

My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word

and put it into practice.

(Luke 8:21)22

 

As the body without the spirit is dead,

so faith without deed is dead.

(James 2:26)23

 

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue

but with actions and in truth.

(1 John 3:18)24

 

A person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.

(James 2:24)25

 

Now that you know these things,

you will be blessed if you do them.

(John 13:17)26

 

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.

Do what it says.

(James 1:22)27

 

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth

so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one

another deeply, from the heart.

(1 Peter 1:22)28

 


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