Finally, brothers, 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).
You have the power of mind control.
Well, maybe not the power to control other people’s minds–that would be awesome and frightening and rather creepy–but the power to control your own.
But Michael, you say, I can’t control my mind. All kinds of lousy thoughts pop into my head!
But you can control which thoughts you encourage and dwell on. It’s like the annoying friend or relative or neighbor or coworker who pops by unannounced and uninvited. You can’t stop them from showing up, but you can control whether or not you invite them in for tasty snacks.
I just realized that I don’t have that kind of annoying friend, neighbor, etc–which means I probably am that annoying friend, neighbor, etc.
Sorry, rabbit trail
Point is, Beloved, you have more control than you care to admit over the thoughts you dwell on. Sorry, but there it is. You’re not a victim.
A piece of hopefully helpful advice: it’s not about pushing away bad thoughts. I used to misread 2 Corinthians 10:5–the one about taking thoughts captive– and think I was supposed to somehow remove bad thoughts and put them out of my head. Sort of bind them with mental zip ties and hand them over to Jesus. That doesn’t work. Want an example? Fine
Don’t think about wombats.
Go ahead, fight all you want–you’ll never think of anything but those giant hamster things ever again.
Like I said, it’s not about pushing out the bad. It’s about filling your mind so full of the true, the noble, the right, the pure, the lovely, the admirable, the excellent, the praiseworthy that there’s no room for anything else. It’s about letting God into the negative thoughts so he can transform them, just like does with all the other yuck in your life. I’m telling you, it’s very hard to carry on a hateful death fantasy against the jerks in your life if you are also praying for their salvation.
I know…I’ve tried.
He falls 2000 feet from the top of the cliff to the canyon floor filled with boulders and sharp pointy things…and fully repents on the way down, accepting Christ in his final millimoments and moving on to glory!
I’m so pathetic.
Happy Friday, Beloved