(This week I include my original song “Search My Heart” for your enjoyment as you read this week’s blog)

How’s your thought life? Do you wish it could be more positive?

All of us—even those whose outward appearance would suggest that they’ve got it all together— struggle with negative thoughts. It’s a part of being human, but that doesn’t mean there is no hope or remedy for overcoming the thoughts that threaten to send us into a downward spiral.

Every day there are stories of people who lives and circumstances should have left them in a pit of despair, but instead endured and emerged stronger and more vibrant. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the famous Chinese concert pianist Liu Chi Kung was sent to prison for seven years, during which time he was unable to access or play any piano. Imagine the mental torture and negative thoughts he had to endure for over 2,500 days! When he was finally released and performed in concert, he was better than ever! When asked how this was possible, the pianist replied, “I did practice every day. I rehearsed every piece I had ever played, note by note, in my mind” (quoted by Bernie Zilbergeld). The key to survivors and those who even thrive in and through tough circumstances is the ability to harness their thoughts upward.

Even as God created people with the ability to do this, Christ followers have a powerful, unstoppable weapon in our thought life: the Word of God activated by the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. Here is a quote from the Bible that I have memorized and use every day:

“ 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

Thoughts are like birds that daily fly past us through conversations, songs, print media, TV programs, the Internet, and more. Some of these ideas try to make their way into our minds, and we need to decide what to do about them quickly. Many years ago someone told me, “You can’t stop the birds from flying overhead, but you can stop them from making a nest in your hair.”

The first step for Christ-followers is to preemptively feed our minds and souls with God’s Word—every day! I begin each day with the daily bread of God’s Word through reading the Scriptures, including a Psalm. I also read devotionals and Christian books that encourage me in my walk with God and gird me up for the day ahead. I then ask God to be the Ruler and Controller of my thought life.

In this Scripture passage, the Apostle Paul reminds us to tear down (demolish) the pretend truths and empty promises the world presents to us each day. This can only happen when we are well fed with God’s Word and fully equipped with His abiding presence within. With this in place, God empowers us to discern the false things that come our way and smash them to pieces, so they don’t take root in our life. Paul then reminds us to take every thought captive to God. This means that we decide to stop entertaining or wrestling with the thought and instead bind it up and give it to Jesus.

As I go through the day, I regularly go through this process, and pray “My Lord, I take this thought captive to you—replace it with your perfect love and wisdom.” I then surrender my will and ask God to lead me to move away from the source of any false thoughts or temptation. This ongoing conversation with God will create even deeper intimacy with Him and give Him the freedom to move with power in your life.

Negative or impure thoughts that are allowed into our minds can grow like weeds. The key is to pull the weeds (thoughts) when they are small so that they don’t take root, grow big and create ugly, deadly fruit in our life. Confess to God the weeds you’ve allowed in, and ask for His forgiveness and restoration. He is always faithful to forgive, help, and grow you into the person He created you to be!

Finally, have some fellow, trustworthy Christ-followers who will support you in your journey and pray for you when you struggle with your circumstances or thought life.

There are people who struggle with depression, and I am not suggesting that anyone should stop doctor-prescribed treatments or medications. I am saying that all Christ-followers would do well to avail ourselves of God’s Word that can make us more than conquerors in the circumstances of life.

When we allow God to change our thoughts, our life will be beautifully transformed!

God bless you!
Chris Atkins