Protecting Your Thought Life

An employee at a video rental store recalled the following incident:

“I mentioned to a customer that her son already had a film out. ‘What film’? she asked. Realizing that it came from the adult section, and too embarrassed to tell her the title, I mumbled, ‘Uh … I’m not sure.’ ‘That’s all right,’ she said, putting her movie back. ‘I’ll just watch whatever he got.'”

Her son could identify with the warning of Moses: “But if you do not [take dominion in the promised land], then take note, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23).

As a counselor, I hear again and again about the devastation that pornography, lust, and immorality are reaping in our homes and nation. Although there are helpful principles and strategies to overcome temptation and break free of strongholds, the solution is primarily a matter of the heart: “The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above” (Prov. 14:14). How can the believer protect his/her thought life?

Scripture counsels us, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5). Since the Abundant Life is essentially Christ living His life through us, we need to practice Christ’s way of thinking. Although we “have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16), we are responsible to have His mind set (Phil 2:5).

We all tend to evaluate life from a self-based outlook. Even Peter fell into this trap when he protested our Lord’s prophecy of His crucifixion, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” (Matt. 16:22). Jesus corrected Peter who was not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men (Matt 16:23).

Our tendency is to look on our circumstances from a secular perspective instead of God’s perspective. Pornography is just “adult material.” The term comes from two Greek words: porne (sexual immorality) and graphe (writing). Our culture attempts to redefine obscenity in ever more permissive ways, like dusk gradually fading into night.

God’s perspective is the true perspective; it is in accordance with reality. Revealed truth is not time-bound, but encompasses God’s eternal purposes. For these reasons the Lord’s ways are typically “higher than our ways” (Isaiah 55:8,9).

As redeemed ones through faith in Christ, we are to continually renew our minds with God’s truth (Rom 12:1,2). We are not to dwell on thoughts of lust, doubt, self-pity, and guilt which rob us of a Christ-centered focus. A self absorbed attitude is incompatible with “looking unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:1,2).

How can we renew our minds and practice Christ’s mind set? We must “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).

Preston and Anabel Gillham identified four steps for resisting fleshly thought patterns:

a) Through His WlSDOM I recognize these thoughts as Sin in my life. Through a knowledge of His word I see that these thoughts are not His way for me.

b) Through His POWER I refuse to accept thoughts of disappointment, despair, bitterness, hopelessness, self-pity, self-fulfillment, self-destruction, resentment, anger, unhappiness, defeat and unbelief. These thoughts are presented to me by Satan, “…the father of lies” (John 8:44), through the Power of Sin, who then tempts, deceives and accuses me.

c) By His AUTHORlTY I reckon myself dead to Sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. I do not have to obey Satan, speaking to me through the Power of Sin, because I have considered myself or reckoned myself dead to Sin.

d) in His GRACE I rest. Many times I go through the first steps but never experience victory because I do not feel victorious. I must walk in the complete assurance, the firm conviction–that He has taken care of the situation… whether I feel any different or not.”[1]

The primary focus of our quest for progressive sanctification is the soul–the seat of mind, will, and emotions (1 Pet. 2:11). God’s design is for the Holy Spirit to govern our will and illumine our mind. This is why the Scriptures warn us us to be discerning.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” (Phil 4:8).

As much as possible, filter your inner world!

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD,
my strength and my Redeemer
“(Psalm 19:14).


[1] Preston and Anabel Gillham, A Study of the Mind p.10. www.lifetime.org

Copyright 1998 and 2013 by John B. Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non commercial use if credit is given to the author and Grace Notes. Biblical quotations are from the New King James version (Copyright by Thomas Nelson).

Posted in

Copyright, John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Scripture quotations (unless indicated otherwise) are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Subscribe to receive Grace Notes

Grace Notes is a Biblical email devotional sent weekly and freely to our subscribers. The goal is to highlight the dynamics of abundant living through Christ.

  • And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  • “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Please feel free to subscribe! It's free!

cross_sunset

Sign up to receive Grace Notes weekly

Everyone needs grace, so everyone needs Grace Notes! Receive our weekly publication, free, in your inbox. Timely messages to meet your grace need.

"I love Grace Notes!" -- DP, subscriber

A verification email from Grace Notebook has just been sent to you! Please click on it to confirm your subscription.

If you do NOT click on the confirmation link in this email, your email address will NOT be added.

If the email does not appear shortly, please check your spam folder. If possible, please whitelist john@gracenotebook.com.

Thank-you!

boy

Hold on!

cross_sunset

Sign up to receive Grace Notes weekly

Everyone needs grace, so everyone needs Grace Notes! Receive our weekly publication, free, in your inbox. Timely messages to meet your grace need.

Close

"I love Grace Notes!" -- DP, subscriber

boy

Hold On!

A verification email from Grace Notebook has just been sent to you! Please click on it to confirm your subscription.

Close

If you do NOT click on the confirmation link in this email, your email address will NOT be added.

If the email does not appear shortly, please check your spam folder. If possible, please whitelist john@gracenotebook.com.

Thank-you!