Over the years, God has taught me so many great lessons from His Word, and one of the revelations that's impacted my life the most has to do with our thoughts. Simply put, we can choose our thoughts and think things on purpose. In other words, I don't have to just think about whatever falls into my mind!
Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) is such an important Scripture. It says, "As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he." I like to say it this way: "Where the mind goes, the man follows."
You see, God has a wonderful life planned for every single one of us, and He is concerned about the hidden man of the heart, which is our inner life. Our inner life is what we think about. And as the Scripture above says, the way we think determines how we live and who we are. That's why we need to "think about what we're thinking about."
In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (AMPC), the Bible teaches that we have weapons of warfare that are "mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds" and that we are to "lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ."
What does this mean? A stronghold in our mind is an area of thinking that the enemy—Satan—has somehow managed to dominate, causing us to believe lies. And although they are lies, they become our reality. That's why it's so important to know and study God's Word—it allows us to know the difference between the truth and the lies.
It's so important for each of us to be a student of the Bible, because it is the key to getting victory over strongholds and having the life Jesus died to give us. God wants us to have a life of peace with Him, peace with ourselves, great relationships, real joy and the ability to become everything He has created us to be.
It all comes down to choosing to believe what God says (the truth) more than we believe our feelings, what other people say or our circumstances.
Now it's good to go to church and hear someone teach the Word—you can learn a lot about God and His will for your life this way. But you need to have your own personal experience with God to really understand how He thinks and to renew your mind with the truth.
Romans 12:2 (AMP) is one of the foundational Scriptures of my life. It says, "Do not be conformed to this world ... but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind ... so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is ...."
As your mind is being renewed, you'll be able to recognize thoughts that don't agree with God's Word. When they come, you can take them "captive into the obedience of Christ." In other words, you can throw aside any thought that doesn't line up with the Word and replace it with the truth.
Ephesians 4:23 says, "Be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude]." Every day, we need to take time to study the Word so we can purposely think according to what it says. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), know who we are in Christ and be free of strongholds that will keep us from God's perfect will for us.
One practical way you can accomplish this is to have a "think session" every day. Take some time to just sit and think about what God's Word says about you—about His love for you, His good plans for your future and how He wants you to live and behave.
If you are struggling in a certain area, use a concordance to find verses that address these issues. I encourage you to even write them down and put them in places where you'll see them every day, like the bathroom mirror or the refrigerator
It's so wonderful to understand that you can have what God says you can have if you learn to think the way He thinks. It's also important to realize this transformation is an ongoing process—it won't happen overnight, and you'll need to be patient with yourself.
However, I can assure you that if you'll make a commitment to set your mind on God's Word, renewing your mind with the truth, then you will experience the fullness of everything that is yours in Christ.
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