a mindset that leads to life & peace

“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” Romans 8:5 & 6 (NLT)

I have been thinking about these verses from Romans 8 and what it means to “think about things that please the Spirit.” I am very much interested in having a thought life that “leads to life and peace.” But what does that mean exactly? What kind of things should I be thinking?Screen shot 2014-09-13 at 10.46.26 AM

I have been mulling this over. Here is what I have come up with so far:

What “pleases the Spirit” is Jesus. The Holy Spirit  came to point to and reveal Jesus (John 16:12-15).  So, my thoughts should be centered on Jesus.

Perhaps the most significant thing that is revealed in Jesus is the fact that I am loved.  This is huge when it comes to my though life. Constantly thinking of the fact that God’s love for me (and you) is so extreme that he sent his son to die for me, cannot help but alter the atmosphere of my thought life. 

The environment Jesus establishes when I fix my mind on him is that of love. The content of my thoughts must continually acknowledge that I am deeply loved.

So many thoughts and patterns of harmful, hurtful thinking are immediately dismissed when I allow Jesus and his love to dominate my thinking.  The negative self-talk that I so easily fall into is eliminated.  The nearly abusive internal “talking to’s” that I regularly give myself no longer have place to tear me down.

Doubt, envy and bitterness fade.  In their place, thankfulness rises up.  As I allow the overwhelming love of God to impact my mindset, I find myself thinking of all I am thankful for; people I know, God’s incredible provision and care for me, situations I am blessed to be in and ones I am blessed to have avoided….

As I set my mind on Jesus I find “life and peace” where there was once death.

What Do You Think?

No really, what DO you think? If you look at Philippians 4:8 you will find the standard that we are supposed to have for our thought life. In this passage we are told, “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.”

Advertisers & marketers spend enormous amounts of time, effort & money in an attempt Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 1.33.22 PMto influence what you think about. From billboards & magazine images to radio & television commercials, we are constantly bombarded by their efforts. They understand that in a very real way, what we think about will have a profound affect on our emotions, attitudes, behaviors & even our relationships. But they are not the only ones who are making this type of effort. In 1 Peter 5:8 we are told to be careful & self-controlled, to be alert & vigilant. Why? Because, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” He also knows the impact your thought life has and if he can begin to influence your thoughts then he will then be able to influence nearly every other area of your life.

Others are very intentional when it comes to our thoughts and we should be too. You can begin by choosing one or two of the terms from Phil 4:8 to measure every thought with. Start with “true.” Is what you are thinking even true? Or you could start with “lovely.” Are your thoughts lovely? Or are they depressing? Getting our thought life to line up Philippians 4:8 doesn’t happen over night. It takes practice and discipline and a conscious effort but it will be well worth it. You can do it & you can start right now.

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14