Soldiers of the mind
The battle to live a life above the fray is ultimately won or lost on the power of thought. Thinking well is vital. The way we think about others, ourselves, and our circumstances informs how we will choose to live our lives.
In short, if your thoughts stink, your life will probably stink also. Not eloquent wisdom, but wisdom nonetheless.
Nearly eight years ago, I first read As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. It’s a slim little volume written in 1903. Allen was a British philosopher who wrote a number of books that might be described in today’s terms as “self-help”. In his body of work, he focuses on issues of the heart and mind.
Over 100 years later, Allen's words are still relevant and timely. He writes:
“Whatever your present environment may be, you will fall, remain, or rise with your thoughts, your Vision, your Ideal.”
These words capture the heart of thinking well. Regardless of our situation, our thinking is one thing we have absolute mastery over. Our thoughts can be a prison or a stronghold of safety — it’s our choice.
Christians must choose thoughts that focus God’s power instead of handing power over to our circumstances and feelings. The empowerment of the Holy Spirit is at our disposal if we choose to seek it.
Full disclosure: I’m a work in progress when it comes to this. It’s a daily struggle, and sometimes I fail. But I’m always aware of my thinking — even if I stumble. When I do, I refocus and correct course as soon as possible.
The discipline of thinking well
Learning to think in a way that allows us to rise above the challenges and busyness of life is an intentional practice. It doesn’t just happen. Instead, it is cultivated over time.
The following scriptures provide wisdom and encouragement to help develop the practice of thinking well. I recommend writing these down in a journal or on index cards. Post them around your home or workspace. Meditate on them. Speak and pray them aloud. Ask God to strengthen you.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2, NIV)
“Turn my eyes from worthless things,
and give me life through your word.” (Psalm 119:37, NLT)
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8, NASB)
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”(Colossians 3:1–3, NLT)
“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.” (Philippians 4:8, NIV)
Our victory begins in the mind. We must keep our minds on Jesus and believe He is with us in any situation. Be blessed as you turn your attention to healthy thinking. I pray your mind would be anchored in the Lord’s truth as you seek a positive thought life.