Self-disciplined begins with the mastery of your thoughts. If you don’t control what you think, you can’t control what you do. Simply, self-discipline enables you to think first and act afterward.
My friend and I were talking the other day about our thought life. We were discussing the effect our thoughts and our thinking have on how we live our lives. It really got me thinking. How many times have we said things like, “This is just too hard” or “There is no way I can do all of this” or “I just don’t think I can do one more thing”. What do you suppose would happen if every time we had a negative thought, we ran to Gods Word to see what He thinks about it? For example: “I just can’t do this”. Ok, God’s Word says ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Phil. 4:13)’. Ok, what about this one: “I just don’t think I can go on” Psalms 28:7 says ‘the Lord is my strength and my shield.’ Or we read in 2 Cor.12:10 ‘When I am weak He is strong.’
Proverbs 4:23 states, “ Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” The “heart” includes the mind and all that proceeds from it. Do you ever catch yourself saying things like “my house is always a mess.” “I am always late.” “I never have enough time.” I will never loose this weight.” “My husband will never change.” While these are seemingly innocent comments, they actually begin to take root in our lives. “As a man thinks in his heart so is he” (Prov.23:7).
I have to tell you, I have always considered myself to be an extremely positive, optimistic person. I’ll be the first person to encourage someone to never give up and fight the good fight. But recently God has been showing me some of my own inner self-talk. Little stuff that just creeps in my head like, “no, that won’t work.” Or “I’ll never find time to do what I really want to do”. How about this one: “I already know I’m going to be so tired this week”. Hello! I didn’t even realize that I was programming my mind for failure before I ever gave God a chance to work in my life! Can I get a witness?!
How radical do you think our lives would change if we decided to line up our thoughts and our words with Gods Word? 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “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.” I love that. Demolish arguments. Demolish means to destroy; to destruct. That means to destroy and destruct those arguments in our minds. Take captive means to catch and forcefully hold. We are called to ‘catch’ and ‘forcefully hold’ EVERY thought and make it obedient to Christ (His Word).
I encourage you to keep a notebook; I am personally a huge fan of journaling. Every time you catch yourself thinking or mumbling or saying something negative, go straight to Gods word. Demolish that thought, catch it and forcefully destroy it in your mind. Write in your notebook the negative that was in your head and then write what Gods Word says about it. And meditate on Gods Word. Meditate means to plan in the mind. You must be intentional regarding Gods Word. Plan it (mediate on it).
Have you ever met someone who could walk into a room and make the whole room light up? They seem to be filled with joy bubbling over. I mean just think about it. What if you walked around saying (meditating) on these scriptures- I am the head and not the tail. I am above and not underneath (Duet 28:13), I am blessed going in and blessed coming out (Duet. 28:6). I have the favor of God on my life (Ps.90:17), The Lord has anointed me for such a time as this (Is.61:1), The joy of the Lord is my strength (Neh. 8:10b), I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength (Phil. 4:13). I have a feeling you would be bubbling over too!
This week ask the Lord to show you thoughts that are not from Him. Write them down. Challenge those thoughts with Gods Word. You need to know whose thoughts those are that you’re listening to. 1st Peter 5:8-9 says “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Girlfriends, he will not have the opportunity to devour your life if you meditate on Gods Word instead of believing the lies of the enemy. All I have to say is “satan watch out”, because Gods girls + Gods Word = Gods Power in your life! His Word is truth. His Word is powerful and His Word in your spirit will bring transformation in your life!
Paul in Philippians 4:8 gives a guideline of what we are to do with our thoughts, and how we are to apply them to our lives, causing results–positive results–that the Lord can and will use. “Finally, brothers (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.” Take captive every thought and you will be free to serve God with all your heart and all your mind. Amen!