Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com
The Bible teaching about managing thoughts is liberating – and important. That is why the Apostle Paul wrote, “and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b; cf. 4:4, 16-18).
Your question then becomes, how can I control my thoughts? Glad you asked. I will give you a quick overview on “how” to managing your thoughts for your best interests – and to the glory of God.
The problem in managing our thoughts is that they are largely buried just beneath our
conscious awareness. We don’t know what they are. Our thought life contains a massive collection of information (beliefs, values, attitudes, opinions, etc.) that we have accumulated through the years and stored away in our minds. We use these thoughts to give meaning to our outer social, physical, and spiritual world. I spoke of this in the essay on worry
Some of the stored information is accurate, and some is a distorted view of reality. That is why Paul wrote, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (1 Corinthians 4:4).
Again, Paul emphasized the importance of managing our thoughts, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Here is a practical method you can use to corral and tame those distorted thoughts that gallop through your mind causing havoc. I use it often, and have found it very helpful.
Here is a practical method you can use to corral and tame those distorted thoughts that gallop through your mind causing havoc. I use it often, and have found it very helpful.
Write Out Your Thoughts
The first step of on the Bible teaching about managing our thoughts is to identify that internal dialogue, or automatic self talk, that lurks and churns below our conscious level. To gather those racing thoughts, get a sheet of paper and begin to write.
Don’t censor your thoughts. Write down everything and anything that comes to mind – the good, bad, and even the ugly. Do not evaluate, monitor, or change – just write. Dump out all your thoughts on that piece of paper.
You see, the problem is: how can we be managing our thoughts if we don’t know what they are? Oh, after this exercise be sure to destroy the paper!
Evaluate Your Thoughts
Step two of the Bible teaching about managing our thoughts is to evaluate those beliefs and thoughts captured on that piece of paper. Identify the distortions and illogical, defeating thoughts.
Compare the Bible with your thoughts. Are they accurate, or distorted from God’s point of view? Have you discovered any sins that need confessed? Attitudes to change?
Behavior to correct? Relationships to restore?
Chances are you will find many things that need changed. I know I do when I go through this exercise. Each time you do apply this process, just pick a few things to change.
Dispute the Wrong Thoughts
Step three in the Bible teaching about managing our thoughts involves disputing and arguing against those haywire thoughts you have discovered. One way I approach it is to write out all the evidence for and against each thought that collides with reality.
You can memorize a Bible verse to hammer back on the distorted thinking. For example, consider those thoughts of depression that engulf us about how bad we are. They are explained in the article on depression.
Every time a thought of self-condemnation pops up, you counter back something like, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Paul even used this disputation method against depression’s crazy logic when he wrote, “If God is for us, who is against us…Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies” (Romans 8:31, 33).
Substitute New Thoughts
The next step in the Bible teaching about managing our thoughts is to
substitute new, biblical, positive and accurate thoughts. Think of your self as a lawyer making a case for your new attitude about your situation. Repeat the new thoughts several times with heart felt conviction. Believe them to be true. Repeat several times those Bible verses and principles that counteract the nonsense you are telling yourself.
For example, when I am tempted to retaliate against some person in anger, I keep reminding myself, “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone…Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:17, 19). Paul emphasized this principle of positive thoughts when he penned, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, what is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Pray in the new thoughts
The next step in the Bible teaching about managing our thoughts is prayer. Confess your sin, admit your weakness, and express your need for help. Ask God for strength, wisdom, guidance, and better understanding.
Paul said to pray with thanksgiving when afflicted with thoughts of worry and anxiety, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).
In the two previous verses he encouraged the readers to switch their thinking to rejoicing and patience. In verse eight he identified new thoughts to lodge in our mind. Prayer is part of the formula that causes new thinking to stick in the form of faith.
Work Out the New Thoughts
The Bible teaching about managing our thoughts teaches that you and I need training. Thoughts just stay thoughts unless you invest work and effort that translate them into action. Write out your goals and action plans, visualize them, and then implement the steps toward your goals.
Practicing new behavior follows Paul’s instruction, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things” (Philippians 4:9).
Pass On the New Thoughts
The final step in the Bible teaching about managing our thoughts is to pass on to others what you found helpful in your own life. By your example, encouragement, and instruction, you influence others for good. A better quality of life emerges for your self, your family, friends, church, and community – and greater glory to God.
This is why the Bible teaching about managing our thoughts is liberating and important.
All the best to you. Continue on in your study, and service to Christ. Pray for us as we serve Christ through this website and ministry.
Dr. Willis and Esmie Newman
BIBLE STUDY QUESTIONS
1. Explain several reasons why managing our thoughts is important.
2. What did Paul say would be the results of managing our thoughts (Romans 12:2)?
3. Describe the process of developing new character and behavior (Ephesians 4:22-24).
4. What is the method Satan used against Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3)?
5. What kind of information does Satan distort (2 Corinthians 11:4)?
6. What is the process of walking with God (Romans 8:4-7)?
7. As an exercise, write on a piece of paper a paragraph of uncensored thoughts. Justify all the thoughts you can with the Bible. If you discover thoughts that are contrary to the Bible, how can you change them?
8. What kind of qualities does God’s wisdom produce (James 3:17)?
9. Explain in your own words the meaning of Colossians 2:2-4).
10. Where is our focus of attention to be (Colossians 3:1-3)? What is the content of those thoughts (Colossians 3:5-17)?
11. In this Bible study on the Bible teaching about managing our thoughts, what stands out the most to you? Explain.
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