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When we fill our thoughts with the right things, the wrong ones have no room to enter. — Joyce Meyer
Testing our thoughts and learning to take them captive is a huge part of the mental battle we have with our thoughts. So, when we can learn to do that as a regular practice, we will gain control over our thoughts.
But what if we chose to be more proactive with our thoughts in order to prevent reacting later on? There will still be thoughts that have to be tested and taken captive, of course. For we are not perfect. We can, however, choose to follow through with Paul’s exhortation in Colossians 3:2 NIV, which says, “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” In setting our minds on “things above” we will have less thoughts that need testing and being taken captive.
When we set our minds, we are striving for something and directing our mind toward a certain thing. This verse says we shouldn’t set our minds on earthly things. Those “earthly things” usually distract us and cause our thoughts to keep us from God’s best.
There are plenty of things we see every day that are out of our control. But, much of what we see can be prevented. What we put in front of our eyes is a big deal. If you feel that you have too many toxic thoughts, what is it that could be causing them? Could it be things on TV, social media, or the news? It’s wise to analyze the things we are viewing daily and ask God to show us what would be a good thing to decrease or eliminate altogether.
Much like we need to watch what we put in front of our eyes, we also need to consider what is going into our ears. What we hear affects our thoughts just as much as what we see. Have you noticed what types of music, books, or podcasts possibly cause toxic thoughts in your mind? Are there things you need to include, not just remove, that will build you up and help create healthy thoughts instead?
Instead of focusing on and setting our sights on things that could cause toxic thoughts, let’s be proactively mindful of what we choose to put in front of us. When we choose things that honor God and keep us pure in heart, we will have less thoughts to test and take captive.
- What tends to be your struggle? What you watch or what you listen to?
- List the biggest thing you need to eliminate from what you normally watch or listen to. Chances are you already know what that is. Give it up for 21 days and see what a difference you see in your thought life.
‘Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. ‘ Colossians 3:2 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/COL.3.2
‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. ‘ Hebrews 12:1-3 https://my.bible.com/bible/59/HEB.12.1-3