By Daniel Yoder
I find myself saying it all the time. When people hear it they laugh at me, but actually I’m quite serious when I say it. Here it is: No one is more influential in your life than you are, because no one talks to you more than you do.
You are talking to yourself all the time, interpreting, organizing, and analyzing what’s going on inside you and around you. You may be talking to yourself most of the time, why do I feel so tired, why do I need to mow the lawn, why can’t I get anything done, why, why, WHY! (I do this all the time) or maybe you woke up this morning with a sense of heaviness and you aren’t sure why. Or why can’t I get some song out of my head. Maybe your mind has traveled back to something in your distant past, and for reasons you don’t know or understand, you’re recalling events from your early childhood or some other time in your life you wish to forget.
What ever the case, we are masters at talking to ourselves and we must ensure that our own personal conversation is edifying and beneficial. The worst thing would be for us to waste the precious time we spend each day conversing with ourselves. The apostle Paul writes, “ Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, what ever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me…practice these things and God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4 8-9)
Essentially, Paul is saying that we must dwell on what is pure and Holy and pleasing to God. And then as we go about our everyday lives, is to, “practice these things.” BUT it all starts with thinking the right thoughts. As you converse with yourself in an edifying and pure manner, your conversation is soon directed in a vertical direction. In other words, you think about God and invite Him to become part of your conversation.
The struggle, of course, is that there are all kinds of distractions that war against having a healthy thought life. Much of what we encounter through the media is not pure, true, commendable, or worthy for us to view or dwell on. It is not what is pleasing to God’s eyes and it has the potential to negatively affect our thought life. Here are a few questions to consider.
1. What are you feeding your mind?
2. What are you exposing your eyes to?
3. What are you listening to?
4. What kind of conversations are you participating in?
The Bible tells us to, “Take every thought captive to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) As you evaluate your thought life, what are you noticing? Does the content of your thought life align with what Paul was saying in Philippians 4:8? Are your thoughts regularly leading you to the beauty and glory of Christ Jesus? I think we are all going to see areas we lack in this regard. There is always room for improvement in our lives.
One very simple yet helpful tip is to go to the Word of God. That which is true, honorable, just, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise is most certainly God’s Word. As we allow the Word of Jesus to dwell richly in our hearts (Colossians 3:16), it begins to realign our thoughts. The problem that we face on a day to day basis doesn’t seem as large as we encounter God’s truth.
Your thought life MATTERS! Don’t buy into the lie that what starts in the mind won’t eventually affect your heart and spill over into your life. Rather, “set your mind on things that are above, not on things that is on earth” (Colossians 3:2)