One of the main battlefields we face as men of valor is the battle for our minds—the battle to have a healthy, pure, God-centered thought life.
This means thinking thoughts that honor God, not filling our minds with garbage, and not constantly worrying about things.
If we are actively engaged in doing God’s work, Satan will work very hard to trip us up, especially in our thought life.
A lot of our time is spent thinking and worrying needlessly about things that God already promised to take care of. One of the great passages that deals with this is Matthew 6:25-34. It talks at length about how much God cares for us and how we are to make Jesus the center of our lives. If we do that there is no reason to worry. Like Matthew 6:27 says, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (ESV).
Can anyone of you, by worrying, add a single hour to your life? It’s easy to say that we need to control our thoughts or that we shouldn’t worry, but it’s much harder to put it into practice.
How do we do that?
We run our thoughts through what I like to call the Philippians 4:8 filter.
Philippians 4:4-8 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (ESV).
To run all our thoughts through the Philippians 4:8 filter is an incredibly daunting task!
Making sure that each thought is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy is hard to do.
But it is not a suggestion.
Like Paul said in 2 Corinthians 10, we are to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. What does that mean exactly?
That’s where that phrase in Philippians 4:6 comes in: “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…” We are to have a very active prayer life.
That means that every time we have a thought that is not obedient to God, like lust or worry or maybe a temptation to do wrong, we need ask God to help us get rid of it.
Sometimes Satan floods our mind with wrong thoughts or we may tend worry constantly about our circumstances. Those are hard to overcome. We need to cry out to God: “God I cannot do this without you—I’ve tried and failed. Help me focus my thoughts on you and not on my circumstances.”
If we actively take every thought captive and ask God for help, He will listen and answer our prayers.
Does this mean I’ll never have a bad thought again? Absolutely not. But as God’s men of valor, the battle for a healthy, God-centered thought life is vitally important to overcome and win. With God’s help we will win.