As a Christian, you will find that your mind is a battlefield. The Apostle Paul said that our spirit wars against our sinful nature, and this is the internal battle that every born again believer deals with (Romans 7:23). There are those who would attempt to convince you that once you are saved that you will no longer have to deal with the sin nature, but this is just simply NOT what the Bible teaches.
There is no doubt that the Apostle John was a saved man. He walked the earth with and followed Jesus for over 3 years. The Bible refers to him as the beloved apostle. This saved man tells us in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Notice that he used the word “we”, this means that he himself still had the need to confess his sins, even after he was saved; in order to maintain a close, and personal relationship with Jesus; which is the goal of every Christian.
Another example would be the Apostle Paul, another obvious Christian. He tells us that he still had struggles with the old nature (Romans 7:14-25). With these two examples, it is pretty obvious that the sin nature is not eradicated upon salvation. Our sins are forgiven in whole once we repent, and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior; however we are still in these bodies of sin, and will, therefore, have to battle with these bodies, and our minds until we are reunited with Jesus in the air.
The Bible makes it clear that the thought life is important, and gives us a guide as to what sorts of things we as Christians are to fill our minds with. Following are eight questions found in Philippians 4:7-9 to ask in order to ensure that your thought life is proper:
- Is it true? Truth is not subjective or relative. Jesus said that Gods word is true (John 17:17); therefore if something lines up with the Bible then it is true, and if it opposes what the Bible says then it is not true. Fill your mind with the Bible, and it will become much easier to weed out the untrue thoughts that come across your mind.
- Is it Honest? Honesty is not the same thing as truth. The definition of something being honest is: honorable in principles, intentions, and actions upright and fair. If the thought is not honorable or does not have good intentions then you should dismiss it immediately.
- Is it Just? We should fill our minds with what we know to be right. It has been well said that it is not the things we are unsure of that trips us up; it’s the things that we know are right, and decide to ignore that will be our downfall. We are supposed to learn to do well (Isaiah 1:17).
- Is it Pure? For something to be pure it has to be free from guilt or evil. Purity is a scarce thing in society today. If the thoughts in your mind cause a guilty feeling then that is your conscience warning you that it is not a pure thought, and it should, therefore, be avoided.
- Is it Lovely? Does it have a beauty that appeals to the heart or mind as well as to the eye, and is it of a great moral or spiritual beauty? Loveliness is another characteristic that the world has messed up. Just look at the youth in your community, and you will notice that they have no idea what the true meaning of lovely or beauty is. We are so preoccupied with how something or someone looks, that we don’t notice what is really important. You must endeavor to guard your mind in this area, because lovely things are getting more, and scarcer in this world.
- Is it of Good Report? Watch the news tonight and I will bet you that the bad reports will outweigh by far the good ones. People are more interested in bad news than good news. Good news just doesn’t sell, but society can’t seem to get enough bad news. That is why we now have a twenty-four-hour news cycle. People just can’t seem to get enough. As a Christian, you should desire, and fill your head with good news not bad. This means that we should not even flirt with gossip. You need to understand that by nature you love to hear bad things about others. The reasons are numerous, but none of these reasons are laced with good intentions; therefore this is a very dangerous area of our thought life. We are commanded in the Bible to not be busybodies (1 Timothy 5:13).
- Is it Virtuous? Virtue is defined as moral excellence, goodness, and righteousness. If the things that you find yourself thinking about cannot be defined as being moral, or righteous then they are not thoughts that you as a Christian should entertain.
- Is it Praise? We are commanded in the Bible to give thanks always (1 Thessalonians 5:18). God is worthy of Honor, and Praise. If our thoughts don’t cause us to remember how good God is then we are thinking about the wrong things. Remember to Praise God every day, and thank him for all his benefits.
Once you begin to move beyond basic background information, you begin to realize that there’s more to your thought life than you may have first thought. Remember that our enemy is not visible, but spiritual. The Bible tells us that we must cast down our imaginations, and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
My hope is that this article provided some encouragement and help for your Christian walk.