Guarding your Thoughts
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Temptations still attack us chiefly through our thoughts. In speaking of the depths of the wickedness and corruption in the days of Noah, God said, “Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart is only evil continually.” It is through our imagination that sin approaches. Floating like a beautiful vision through the mind, the evil thought at first seems harmless, but if entertained and allowed to lodge, it becomes the seed that springs up into a living plant of unholy desire, which quickly bursts into blossoms of unwholesome fragrance, and if they are permitted to fertilize and linger, the fruit of evil choice, sinful yielding and actual transgression follows with awful certainty and rapidity.
We must meet temptation, therefore, in our thoughts. We are so constituted that if we dwell on an evil thought it creates its own character within our spirit.
No other story in the Bible shows us the danger of temptation and the importance of Guarding our Thoughts quite like the story of Samson.
Samson had physical strength as shown numerous time like his ability to kill a lion in Judges 14:5-7 and his ability to lift the city gates off their hinges in Judges 16:1-3
He had intelligence as shown by his riddle to the philistine men in Judges 14:10–18 and by his ability to catch three hundred foxes in Judges 15:4-5
He was blessed and favored by God from birth Judges 13:24
But he let his lust of beautiful philistine women and pride be his downfall.
It started with Samson looking on the daughters of the philistines in Tim-nath.
Then the refusal to listen to his Father when he was asked to take a wife of his own people.
His pride was again displayed by trying to trick the philistine men with a riddle.
His fiancé coaxed the the answer of the riddle out of him. Then he got angry and went and killed philistine men to pay the debt, which caused a snow-ball effect. Two more times he was led to the arms of Philistine women, one of which (Delilah) eventually led to his downfall.
Samson allowed himself to focus on lust, his own pride and anger from the retaliation of the philistines. When in fact he should have been focusing on his nazarite vows and his duties as a judge of Israel.
We have to guard our thoughts!!!
And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
Walk down the street and let your eyes be fixed for a moment on a picture of obscenity, and you will immediately find your whole soul clouded by spiritual darkness and defilement, and although your spirit may revolt from it, still you will be conscious of a horrible fascination, and if you allow it to linger it will overpower your better feelings and change your nature into that of another man. Even your very body will be affected, and you will be conscious of being benumbed with the draught from the fountains of the pit.
There are many thoughts coming our way these days.
The world is ending.
Our country is going to only get worse.
We will never beat racism.
We will never get along.
This is the only way it will work.
I am never going to be enough.
I will never get what I am aiming for.
I will never matter.
I will always be last.
I am to ugly, fat, short...
I am never going to fit in.
The inventive genius of modern literature has given us the picture of a man who, by a certain draught, could be changed from one man into another of higher, nobler character, but would immediately fall back from the nobler man into the lower ideal the moment he thought of it, feared it and recognized it. There is a strange truth here. The consciousness of evil creates evil, the thought of good becomes the fertile soil of good.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
The Mind of Christ
Not only do we need to correct our thoughts, but we must go farther and actually crucify the old natural mind and receive an entirely new mind in Christ. The sanctification of the spirit is not the improvement of the old natural spirit, but the renouncing it and the receiving of God’s Holy Spirit instead. So the sanctification of our mind must be just as radical. We must recognize that our natural mind is wrong and must be laid wholly down, and we receive the mind of Christ instead, to think in us God’s thoughts after God. So that our first experience is not the correcting of our thoughts, but the entire surrender of our mental being to the Lord Jesus Christ, to be crucified with Him.
The Apostle has said that the wisdom of this world is entirely wrong in its principles and nature. His language is exceedingly strong. He says, “The world by wisdom knew not God.” Its very wisdom kept it from God. “If any man would be wise, let him become a fool that he may be wise, for the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God.”
O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own. I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.
David says, “I hate thoughts”; not only vain thoughts, but all thoughts that are human. This is the source of all our unbelief, our anxious care, our doubts and fears, our envies, jealousies, irritations, seditions, strifes, controversies—all have their seat in the strong intellectual life of the human heart; the willfulness of our opinions and the entertaining of thoughts, questionings, evil surmisings and imaginings that disquiet and defile the soul. From all these Christ wants to save us, to give us the mind “stayed on Him,” “the peace of God that passeth all understanding,” and garrisons the thought and the heart through Christ Jesus; the heart so subdued that every evil imagination is cast down, and every high thing that exalteth itself brought low, and every thought brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Declaring His Word will renew your mind to become the mind of Christ, and in turn, you will become a manifestation of His Word.
1. Speak Life
I’m not one of those name it claim it, blab it and grab it folks. But the Bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21 We control the environment of our surroundings with our words. Shouldn’t they speak life!?
2. Pray For Joy
There is no powerful tool given to the Christian than the ability to reach out to the Father freely. He cares for you. James 1 is so good. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,” James 1:5 “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness” Proverbs 10:28
3. Read Encouraging Scriptures
The book of Philippians is sometimes referred to as the Book of Joy. But did you know that Paul wrote the book of Philippians while he was in jail. Could you imagine finding joy in such a place? I’ve even read that in Bible days it was better being a slave than a prisoner. Sometimes it’s hard for us to find joy in our freedom, but imagine being martyred for the Gospel’s sake and still finding joy!
4. Take Good Fellowship
One of the worst things a Christian can do when they are struggling is to take up counsel from the ungodly. What good are the unfruitful works to God? Be sure that your lingering fellowship is with those who can lift you up both physically AND spiritually. Find friends that will love you enough to reprove you in the time of need and encourage you through the times of sorrow.
5. Think On Good Thoughts
Think about the Negative Nancy in your life. We all have one. Don’t you just get tired of hearing about how terrible everything is. Isn’t it so depressing. Don’t turn into a Negative Nancy when you’re down. Think on good thoughts. Remind yourself of the things God has blessed you with, think about the trials He brought you through, remember where He brought you from and think yourself happy