What does the thought life have to do with our mental, emotional, and spiritual health? Everything! You probably know the expression, "You are what you eat." It would be more accurate to say, "You are what you think." Paul wrote to Titus, "To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted" (Titus 1:15).
How we think determines whether our marriages grow more secure as the years pass or end in divorce. It controls whether our business ventures prosper or fold. It strengthens friendships or causes them to wither away. It controls the way we relate to fellow co-workers, neighbors, relatives, and friends.
The way we think about God, His character, and His plans for mankind will affect our values, behavior, relationships, and how we deal with the pressures of living in an imperfect world. Some Christians, experiencing minor discomfort and inconvenience, fall apart emotionally and seek out psychiatric help. Rather than learning how to retrain their minds, they prefer to numb their pain with Prozac. Others, however, find consistent comfort and relief by taking "captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5).
May I ask you what you are filling your mind with? Are you saturating your thoughts with the colorful seductive images of television as you surf though the channels? Are your sensual romance novels, creating discontent in your heart toward your mate? Are you lingering on pornographic pictures you purchased off the magazine rack or downloaded from the internet, inflaming lustful passions? If so, you cannot please our heavenly Father, who tells us to be pure. Peter writes to us:
"Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” ( 1Peter 1:13-16)
Some Christians have come to believe that it is impossible to live a pure life in our modern age. They have accepted the widely held view that it is necessary to provide sex education and contraceptives for our children because it is unreasonable to expect them-even Christians adolescents and teens-to refrain from sexual activity until marriage. But the Bible tells us to prepare our minds, be self-controlled, and be holy like our Father in heaven.
It would be of little surprise to see members of liberal churches deny the power of God's Word, but now there are many Christians in conservative Bible churches who have bought into the hopeless psychological theories of behavior which tell us that we have no choice in how we behave and that deliverance from our mental dungeons is to be found in professional counseling and psychoactive medications.
David writes, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer" (Psalm 19:14). That's a wonderful goal, but how can we retrain our minds in this sin-polluted age in which we live?
In Colossians 3:1-2 we read, " If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." In direct contradiction of the psychological counsel that tells us to dredge up the pain of the past, Paul instructs believers to focus their emotions and intellect on Christ and eternity rather than the troubles of this life. Set your heart and mind on things above. Fix your thoughts and eyes on Jesus. It's all in how and what we think.
(Excerpts taken from the book: "How Big Is Your God?" by Ed Buckley)