Lately I’ve been thinking of my thoughts as boxcars on one long train. What’s in the box cars (my thoughts) determine the direction of the train. If the box cars are filled with negative, disappointed, downtrodden, pessimistic, self-loathing thoughts, I am more likely to commit actions that speak these thoughts out loud.
If I am thinking about how much I regret doing something and how I cannot believe I have done something for the millionth time and all of the consequences that are likely to come, I create anxiety and stress in my body. And then I feel worse physically. Which makes me even more upset emotionally/mentally.
And then my actions are determined by how I am now feeling.
See, words have the power to bring life OR death.
Proverbs 18:21 says “death and life are in the power of the tongue”.
I think we can apply this to our thought life as well. After all, we are called to take EVERY thought captive.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
2 Corinthians 10:5
So what does it mean to take every thought in my thought train captive? Well one thing that means is I need to set aside some time to figure out what’s on that train. Or, as thoughts pop up and cross through my mind I should ask myself
- is that thought of the Lord?
- does that thought bring life?
- does that thought glorify Christ?
If the answer to the above three questions is “no” we need to redirect the thought., change it or ask the Lord to take it.
Our thought life matters. The things we think about affect our actions.
Besides seeing what thoughts are already on the train and addressing the negative ones that bring death when they pop up, we can also take measures to control our future thought life by choosing to fill our heads with things that bring life!
My dad once said “we think about the things we put into our minds”. So what am I filling my mind with? What music? What television shows or movies? What images? What books or articles or philosophies?
I praise God for His book of truth, the bible, which is living and active and speaks life to me every time I open it. Reading the bible daily in the morning (preferably) is one way that I fill my head with goodness and truth. Another is choosing to listen to and watch things that make me more pure, holy, upright, and Christ-like.
There’s a lot of junk out there nowadays. A lot of lifestyles that are depicted as normal, but aren’t. When we indulge in watching and listening to things that aren’t of God, we start to see them as normal, and get confused as to what IS right or wrong anymore. If we even knew what was right and wrong in the first place.
I want my thought train, conscious and subconscious, to reflect Christ. I want it to be pure. I don’t want it to lead me into temptation or anger or selfishness or hatred or discord. I want to fill my mind with things that bring me life.
That means there are certain things I gotta say “no” to doing, watching, listening to.
Fill yourself with goodness! Trash in, trash out is the same concept. 🙂
And every minute, every hour of every day we have choices. Sometimes I make better choices than others. Sometimes I underestimate how a thought so small can ruin my perspective on myself or something/somebody else, or my day. But it’s like Paul said in Galatians:
“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”
Our thoughts matter. One small thought can set our train totally off course in the wrong direction. Let’s make an effort to take each thought captive and align it with the truth of God.
Oh Lord my God, thank you for your Truth! Thank you for teaching what is true and of you, and what isn’t. Thank you for teaching us best how to live: you teach us in your word to take captive every thought. Help us to do so! Make me more mindful of my thought life and how it affects my mood and actions. Help me sing more praises! Help me be joyful in every situation and trust that you give us each circumstance to bring us closer to you.