“You can’t stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from making a nest in your hair.” – Martin Luther
At first it’s just a fleeting thought, “Maybe I will fail.” “Maybe this idea wasn’t really from God.” “Maybe I heard Him wrong.”
A negative thought. A thought that passes through your mind at some random point in your day.
But then that thought returns, and it returns much stronger that the first time. “I am going to fail.” “This was a bad idea.” “I did hear wrong.”
And as you begin to turn the thought over and over in your head, it makes the short journey from your head (your thoughts) to your heart (your emotions).
It’s amazing how quickly a negative thought can gain power over us when we agree with it, rather than banish it from our minds.
In this short passage, from our thoughts to our emotions, the negativity takes hold of us, and it is only a matter of time before we are acting on it. Making a decision based on a thought that wasn’t even true in the first place.
I’ve seen the dangerous effects of this pattern in my own life, time and time again.
In elementary school I was bullied. Words like ugly, stupid and unwanted were spoken. Words that came back as negative thoughts, long after they were first spoken. Words I allowed to play over and over in my mind, eventually moving into my heart and growing into a deep insecurity. A lack of understanding of my true value in Christ.
And eventually this lack led me to settle for a relationship that was so much less than I knew God had for me. I compromised my values. I made three years worth of bad decisions all based off of a few little lies I’d chosen to agree with, so many years ago – that I was unloved, unwanted.
But how do we keep from going down this path that inevitably leads to sin and hurt and guilt and shame? How do we keep the thought from becoming a feeling and even worse, an action?
Here are 2 simple steps to keep our minds pure.
1. Banish the Thought
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5
When that negative thought creeps into you mind, choose not to agree with it. Choose to shut your mind off to it and to command it to come under the authority of Christ. To make a thought obedient to Christ means to replace the LIE with the TRUTH. Jesus is the TRUTH, so rather than believe the negative thought, ask Him what truth He would replace it with. Look for a verse that proves the thought wrong. For example, if you have the thought, “I can’t do this”, replace it with the truth, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4:13)
2. Leave No Room for Lies
“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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
If your mind is so full of the truth of God’s word and who He says you are, there will be no room for negativity and lies. Every day, choose to fill your mind with the word of God, either through reading your bible, reciting verses you’ve memorized in the past, listening to sermons, playing music that speaks of the goodness and love of God, etc. etc.