Have you ever “lost your train of thought”? It happened to me this morning. I was in the kitchen thinking about what I needed to do for the day and remembered I needed to take my supplements. On my way to the medicine cabinet, my mind moved to the clean laundry, so I started folding and very quickly I forgot the supplements. Another way this happens is when we pray. How many times have you been praying when invasive thoughts enter your mind? You may be right in the middle of “Lord, I love you with my whole heart..” when a thought about what you ate for dinner creeps in. The first verse that comes to my mind about this subject is 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing every thought into the captivity of Christ. (KJV The Holy Bible) As Christians, through Christ’s Holy Spirit within us, we can harness our thoughts to think on the right things at the right times. We are not at the mercy of distraction. We know, through listening to the Spirit, how to use the remote and turn off the TV when it’s time to think on our studies. The key is living in the spirit and not in the flesh.
My friend Chandler and I were discussing negative patterns of thought and he shared these verses with me. Psalms 82: 8 “Hear me my people and I will warn you if you would only listen to me, Israel! 11-14 But my people would not listen to me. Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. If my people would only listen to me, If Israel would only follow my ways, how quickly I would subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes!” (NIV Holy Bible) When the spirit moves us towards “a life boat” we need to get in. For me, it is tools such as a “to do” list and a “to do” app for my phone. Another one is to de-clutter my life every two to three weeks. This includes throwing away junk mail, prioritizing “to do’s”, making project files, and updating my calendar. It doesn’t make me perfect, but it puts me on track when I begin to falter. For my prayer life, the Lord gave me the tool of two-way communication to keep me focused. On my knees, I pray out loud to God, then I pause to “listen”. I then record what the Lord speaks to my heart in a journal. In Psalms 46:10 He says, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (NIV The Holy Bible) I think this is a wonderful verse for prayer. When I’m praying, I think God wants not only my body to be still, but also my mind. For me, it is an act of humbleness to practice this command because it focuses me on exalting Him in my life. There are many ways that God will direct you personally to insure a still mind while in prayer with Him.
What about obsessive thoughts about someone or some thing that has happened? Maybe you are plagued with guilt, fear or anger. When the mind is stressed and not comforted by Jesus and His Word, which replenish the mind with good thoughts and healing, our flesh will naturally comfort itself with behavior that sends signals of relief to the brain. If these things are repeated over and over, without true healing, these comforts can become obsessive habits or addictions. Obsessive habits might include hair pulling, nail-biting, rituals, etc. Addictions formed could include: alcohol, drugs, eating too much, shopping, gaming, sleeping all the time, an attitude of self-hatred, etc. Implanting right thinking through God’s Word can set you free. As Jesus said to the disciples, He says to us today in John 14:6…. I am the Way the Truth and the Life…. (NIV Holy Bible).
A good ways to implant right thinking into our brain is to replace the negative with positive. Example: Unforgiveness with verses about forgiveness and steps toward giving forgiveness, self-centered depressive thoughts could be replaced with prayers of thankfulness to God, Angry thoughts countered with soothing music about God’s peace and love. The list goes on and on, but is wrapped up in this verse: Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (NIV Holy Bible)
Renewing the mind through Christ truly brings peace of mind.