“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. ” – Colossians 2:3.
Psychologists suggest that there are two mental laws that impact our well-being mentally. One is the law of concentration and second, the law of substitution. The law of concentration states that whatever you dwell upon grows and expands in your life. This law says that the more you think about something, the more of your mental capacity is assigned to think about that issue. Eventually, if you are not careful, it eventually dominates your thinking and affects your behavior. The law of substitution says that your mind can only hold one thought at a time, either positive or negative. If we apply this to our thoughts and we wish to have positive experiences in our life, we must keep our minds focused on the positive.
The Lord understood these principles when He inserted a couple of scriptures into the Bible. For example, Proverbs 23:7a says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” And Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you”
I think you can draw the same conclusions from academia and the scripture. If we have become a bitter, resentful, person who questions their lot in life, it is because you have allowed a steady stream of bitter, negative feelings to get through your mental firewall and take root.
1 Corinthians 6:17 says. “But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.” He desires that union so He can talk to each of us heart to heart. God wants you in this harmony with Him so that His thoughts can become your actions. And so those thoughts will become actions and we become His hands and feet and fulfill His purposes on earth.
Controlling our thoughts is not an easy task. One approach is the idea of replacement. Instead of seeking revenge on that person at work that seems to trying to undermine everything you do, replace those thoughts with godly actions: we do good to them, speak well of them, and pray for them. “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” Matthew 5:44. The same principle applies if your eyes are wandering, or you are tempted to cheat a little, or a hundred other areas our thoughts can take us to. The Bible often speaks of “putting off” wrong actions and thoughts, but then “putting on” godly actions and thoughts (Ephesians 4:22-32).
Another way to help manage your thoughts is through other Christians. Hebrews 10:24-25 states, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” The Christians that we trust, who will encourage us in the changes we want to make in 2015, who will pray for and with us, who will ask us in love how we are doing, and who will hold us accountable in avoiding or eliminating, or growing whatever it is we wish to change, are more valuable than you may know.
1. Do you agree with the law of submission: if you think about something often enough it will eventually impact your behavior? Why or why not? Can you give an example of this law in your life?
2. Do you agree that you can have only one thought, positive or negative, in your mind at one time? Why or why not?
3. Have you ever tried the idea of replacement to manage your thoughts? Did it work? If not, why do you think it failed?
4. Do you have other Christians you can confide in? Do you use them as an accountability partner? Can they be used effectively to help you manage your thoughts?
5. Pray and ask God to help you in the area of thoughts in 2015.