4 Challenges to Controlling Our Thoughts

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What is distracting you? The Lord does not leave us helpless; He has provided a Helper, the Holy Spirit, to guide us in sifting through our thoughts and processing our emotions.

As I sit here, I see the irony of my situation. I’m supposed to be writing about how it can be difficult for us to control our thoughts, but my mind is distracted and unwilling to cooperate. I just had lunch, and the act of digesting carbs is contributing to a foggy mind. And if I’m honest, I’m probably a little anxious about doing a good job, so that emotion is lurking somewhere in the back of my mind, regularly threatening to jump to the forefront. A group of coworkers are chatting down the hall, so I put on my headphones and turn up the volume of the rhythmic background music. Then—oh, hey, look, I just got an email...

Managing our concentration can be challenging, not only on the task level, but on a spiritual level as well. It can be difficult to maintain our focus on God and His Word when there are so many other people and circumstances vying for our attention.

You might expect that, as Christians, our default setting would be tuned to “Jesus.” But it’s not that simple. Dr. Stanley explains in his message, “Taking Control of Your Thoughts,” that salvation changes our lives and eternal destiny, but it doesn’t instantly alter how we think. He explains why it can be so hard to master our minds:

Our environment is still the same. In fact, though we are called to live a righteous life in an ungodly society, sometimes our situation gets worse,. Therefore, we must learn how to think right.

Satan deceives believers. His battlefield is our minds, and his plan is to lead us astray from devotion to Christ (2 Cor. 11:3). He brings up old memories of hurts and mistreatment, tempting us to dwell on them and experience the suffering again. The only way to protect ourselves from his deception is to fill our minds with God’s Word.

Willful disobedience results in a reprobate mind. If we think about a sin and deliberately give ourselves over to it, we can suffer the consequences for many years. Even if we later forsake our sin and return to God, the memories may haunt us until we allow Jesus to deliver us from them.

What is distracting you? The Lord does not leave us helpless; He has provided a Helper, the Holy Spirit, to guide us in sifting through our thoughts and processing our emotions.

Written by Linda Canup

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