Video by April Osteen Simons

Sarah stood at the kitchen window, staring absently at the backyard. Her mind was a tempest of anxious thoughts – swirling doubts, fears, and insecurities that overwhelmed her sense of peace.

Though the spring flowers were in bloom, the dark clouds of her inner turmoil obscured the beauty before her eyes.

The ancient words echoed in her mind:

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Sarah knew these words from King Solomon rang true.

Her thoughts dictated her outlook, her speech, her relationships…her very path through life. Yet she felt powerless against the wayward forces raging within her mind.

On the counter was her grandmother’s worn Bible. Sarah remembered her grandmother counseling her as a child about the incredible power of the mind.

“What goes on in here,” she would say, tapping her temple, “determines everything out there. Guard your thoughts closely, my dear, and align them with God’s truth.”

Sarah’s grandmother was right – her descent into negativity and turmoil was rooted in a lack of control over her thoughts.

If she wanted to experience the abundant life of godly wisdom, she knew she must regain mastery over her mind. But how?

Resolving to find the path of renewal, Sarah opened her laptop, searching for insights into this ancient battle.

She was determined to explore the forces shaping her thought patterns, the obstacles to overcome them, and, most importantly, the practical strategies to command her thoughts and align them with the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

The quest to subdue the wayward mind would not be easy. But with faith and discipline, Sarah was convinced she could experience the profound transformation that comes from taking control of her thoughts.

The Mind-Life Connection

The Mind-Life Connection

The Bible teaches that the mind is the “control tower” over your entire life. Jesus said:

“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.”

Matthew 15:18 NIV

Your thoughts eventually express themselves through your actions, words, and character.

King David wrote:

“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.”

Psalm 119:9 NIV

As you continually fill your mind with God’s truth, it cleanses your thought patterns and enables you to live righteously.

The Apostle Paul instructs us to focus our thoughts on heavenly, praiseworthy things rather than earthly desires and sins:

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Colossians 3:2 NIV

“Finally, brothers and 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.”

Philippians 4:8 NIV

When your thinking aligns with God’s perfect will, you’ll experience the blessings of His presence, direction, and character in your life.

Uncontrolled thoughts will easily lead you into mistakes, conflict, fear, and sinful habits. You must learn to take charge of your thinking if you want to succeed.

The Challenge of Controlling Thoughts

The Challenge Of Controlling Thoughts

Though essential, controlling our thinking is extremely challenging in a fallen world filled with distractions and temptations.

The enemy actively tries to corrupt your mind and make you accept lies contrary to God’s Word.

Even as a believer, you are vulnerable to distorted thinking, worry, doubtful self-talk, negative perceptions, and other unhealthy thought patterns that will lead you astray if left unchecked.

Your mind needs constant spiritual cleansing and renewing through God’s truth. As Romans 12:2 NIV explains:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

To control your thinking, you must first recognize the ungodly thought patterns currently influencing you.

Next, you should pinpoint what situations, emotions, or triggers tend to activate distorted thinking.

Self-awareness is the first step toward managing your thoughts effectively.

7 Tips for Controlling Your Thoughts

Tips for Controlling Your Thoughts

Once you identify problem thought patterns, what practical steps can you take to master your thinking?

Here are some key tips:

1. Immerse yourself in God’s Word

Daily scripture study, meditation, and memorization are essential for aligning your thinking with the truth. The psalmist wrote:

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Psalm 119:11 (NIV)

Hiding scripture in your heart is the best defense against wrong thinking.

2. Reject negative thought patterns

You have the power through Christ to reject destructive thoughts like excessive worry, false guilt, pessimism, criticism of others, and temptations to sin.

“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 (NIV)

3. Replace lies with truth

When you notice wrong thoughts arising, you can purposefully replace them with truthful statements based on scripture.

For example, counter the lie “I’m a failure” with “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV)

4. Pray for God’s help

Pray for God's help

You can ask God through prayer to purify your mind, guard your thoughts, and empower you to think rightly.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Psalm 139:23-24 ESV

5. Practice mindfulness

Be consciously aware of your thoughts with full attention to enable you to challenge distorted thinking before it leads you astray.

6. Meditate on positive thoughts

Schedule time to calmly meditate on God’s character, promises, and blessings and renew your mindset away from negatives that frequently preoccupy you.

7. Think before reacting

Pausing mentally before responding to situations will give you the choice to first align your thoughts with God’s principles.

With the Holy Spirit’s help, you can gain increasing control over patterns like resentment, pride, lust, greed, and envy that wage war against your mind as a believer.

How to Stay Committed through Spiritual Disciplines

Stay Committed Through Spiritual Disciplines

You can gain control over your thinking. It requires persistence and spiritual discipline.

Here are some habits to cultivate:

  • Study God’s Word daily.
  • Schedule time for praise and prayer.
  • Practice mindful awareness throughout your day.
  • Journal to process emotions and crystallize insights.
  • Memorize key scriptures to combat wrong thinking.
  • Examine your thoughts against God’s truth, taking captive anything opposed to Him.
  • Share openly about your thought struggles with other believers for encouragement.
  • Immediately reject tempting or destructive thoughts and ask God for help.
  • Strive to overcome thought habits that compromise your witness or relationship with God

As you commit to these disciplines, God will transform you and free your mind to align with His will.

You will experience victory over crippling thought patterns as you take hold of the power of Christ at work within you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Your thoughts wield tremendous influence over your emotions, behaviors, relationships, and life outcomes. Controlling your thoughts is crucial.
  • You must fill your mind abundantly with God’s Word to counteract the enemy’s lies and align your thinking with the truth.
  • It takes effort and commitment through spiritual disciplines like study, prayer, and meditation to take charge of your thought patterns.
  • With God’s power at work within you, you can take every thought captive, rewire unhelpful thinking habits, and experience victory.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why do negative thoughts seem to come automatically?

A. Long-ingrained thinking habits have created entrenched neural pathways in your brain. But with practice, you can rewire your brain to change your thought patterns.

Q. How long does it take to master your thoughts?

A. It depends on the individual and the strength of the thoughts.

With consistent mindfulness, study, prayer, and the replacement of lies with truth, you will gradually gain more control.

Q. Can I completely eliminate all wrong thoughts?

A. With God’s power, you can significantly reduce distorted thinking. But as long as we live in a fallen world, stray thoughts will try to creep in. You must continually renew your minds.

Q. What if I feel discouraged about controlling my thoughts?

A. Be patient with yourself and rely on God’s strength, not your willpower. Celebrate every small success. God promises to complete His transformational work in our minds (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

Q. How can other believers help me with my thoughts?

A. Share your struggles openly with mature Christians so that they can offer you godly counsel, encouragement, and accountability. Their support will help renew your mind.

Q. How can I control my mind?

A. Controlling your mind is possible through various techniques such as breath awareness, positive thinking, and practicing mindfulness.

By focusing on your breath and redirecting unwanted thoughts towards more positive ones, you can gradually regain control over your mind.

Q. How can I reframe my thoughts to overcome self-doubt?

A. To overcome self-doubt, it is essential to reframe your thoughts and challenge negative self-talk. Replace self-limiting beliefs with positive and empowering ones.

Remind yourself of your past accomplishments and strengths. Surround yourself with supportive individuals who can help you maintain a positive mindset and provide constructive feedback.

Q. Why is it important to control your thoughts for your overall well-being?

A. Controlling your thoughts is crucial for your overall well-being. When you actively manage your thoughts, you can prevent negative self-talk and reduce stress and anxiety.

By redirecting your focus towards positive things and practicing self-compassion, you will cultivate a healthier and more balanced mental state.

Q. How can meditation practice help in controlling thoughts?

A. Meditation can be highly beneficial in gaining control over your thoughts.

By practicing meditation on the Word of God daily you will renew your mind and this will improve your focus and attention. 

Q. What are the benefits of controlling negative thoughts?

A. Controlling negative thoughts brings numerous benefits to your life. It promotes a sense of empowerment and helps you overcome self-sabotaging behaviors.

It improves your overall mental well-being, enhances your focus, and allows you to make decisions based on rational thinking rather than fear or negativity.

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