One Evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of his palace. From the roof he saw a woman bathing. The woman was very beautiful, and David sent someone to find out about her. (2 Sam. 11:2-3 NIV)
What in the world was David thinking? He was a King that had it all. Most importantly, he had the blessing of God Almighty. Unfortunately, he, like so many of us, allowed his thoughts to ignite in him a desire to do something that he would later regret—horribly. Now, I am not suggesting that we all have committed the sins of adultery and murder because of our thoughts. But…maybe we have? Possibly, somewhere in the process of our own thoughts of revenge, or coveting a friend’s new home, or wishing for a kinder husband—we were stopped--somehow. Thank goodness! But the point is…we all have thoughts that are unpleasant, and far from righteous, at times in our own lives.
The world has tapped in on a small piece of the truth, suggesting we must learn to manage our thought lives in order to be successful. However, the world is misguided, too. The idea that we can just be “positive thinkers” and all will be well is yet another false belief. Telling ourselves to think happy-thoughts will not be enough as we fight the battle for our minds—and there is a battle. Faith in positive thinking is just not sufficient. We need to discover the power of right thinking, which is learning to rely solely on God’s word for the changes that we seek. In Philippians 4:8 (AMP), God’s word says:
…whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things. (Fix your minds on them)
So, how do we do learn to focus on God’s goodness, and learn the power of “right thinking” in the midst of a world that is throwing lies, seductions, and temptations our way like a baseball-pitching-machine firing fast balls right over home plate. How do we avoid making a tragic mistake in our thinking, such as David did that night, up on the rooftop, so many centuries ago?
1. Live in God’s Word—It is so true. There is no better way to change our thinking than to incorporate God’s word into every aspect of our lives. If we make it a habit to turn to His Word throughout our days, we will find our thoughts changing. I like to think of it as mealtime and grazing. Sometimes we will sit at the feet of Lord for a long time, in His Word, savoring it like a choice meal. But as people on the go, we may have days where we do a lot of “grazing” -- brief moments of reading a scripture, or receipting a passage. This habit keeps our thoughts focused on what is good and pleasing when we don’t have a great deal of time for the luxury, five-course meal.
2. Speak God’s Word—There is something to be said about reading God’s word out loud, and in prayer form. Creating a list of scriptures that help your thoughts stay focused on God, and His ways, can be extremely helpful. Read His precious words whenever you have the chance. When we are focused on God’s truth, our thinking is right, and wrong thoughts must move over, and out!
3. Write God’s Word—In a journal, or a notebook, take a moment to copy a section of scripture, or write it out into your own personal prayer. There is something powerful about writing, just as it is powerful to speak God’s Word. These methods seem to drive the truth deeper into our souls, and we are able to remember the content better, which is great when our thinking strays, because the Scriptures we have been speaking, and reading, will come to mind—and to our rescue.
4. Include Others—Building support and accountability is crucial to the process of right thinking. When we let others know what we are doing, and allow them to support us with truth and love, we more readily find success. When our words are not kind, or ungodly, a friend can gently ask us what are we thinking? By enlisting others, we are able to stand for God’s truth, and pray for each other.
5. Pray—Of course, pray! We must invite God into our quest to conquer negative thinking. The power of His Holy Spirit will strengthen us as we move forward in this process separating truth from lies.
Amazingly, somewhere a long the way, our minds are renewed, just as God’s Word promises. An area of struggle is suddenly gone. A negative thought pattern has been replaced by God’s truth. We are more thankful and grateful for what we have. As we participate in the process of learning the power of right thinking, God, in His unlimited power, steps in the does the rest. The power of our right thinking will be displayed by our right actions! Because, really, it is true -- What we think=what we do.