Be Careful About Your Thoughts
A well known saying among people in the trades is “Measure twice, cut once. Measure once, cut twice.” Raise your hand if have personally learned what that means? My hand is up. You cannot un-cut something. Many of us wish we could. It would have saved us money.
The general principle here is “take care before you act.” This particularly is true regarding things that can’t be undone. I want to apply this principle in a different way. Take care as you choose to think about something.
That may seem like an odd thing to say. Perhaps you’re thinking, “I don’t really have any control over what I think about, the thoughts just pop into my mind.” The first part of that statement is true, but the second isn’t. It’s true thoughts just pop into our minds. A smell reminds you of someone. A song brings to mind memories of a happy time in your life. A date on the calendar reminds you of an upcoming activity you’ve planned.
However, you do choose whether to let those thoughts stay awhile or float right by like a stick bobbing down a river. If you’re busy at work you don’t have time to reminisce about the friend that smell brought to mind. You mentally wave goodbye to the pleasant thought and turn your focus back to the email you need to write.
One of the complications of life is that in addition to all the general stuff floating through our minds, we are regularly attacked with evil desires, urges and thoughts to do or think about the wrong thing. If we choose to think about them, it will lead us to sin. James 1:12-15
The Apostle Paul wrote about this.
We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5
That’s a vivid description of what we should do. The word captive brings to mind a battle, which happens to be going on in our mind. We’re to continually be on the lookout for invaders, which happen to be thoughts. When a thought pops in our mind we capture it. Is it a good thought or a bad thought? There is a quick test we give it. Will that thought obey Christ? We evaluate it. “Will you obey Christ? Or are you trying to get me to disobey Christ?”
This all can happen very quickly. Many thoughts can be rejected easily. Others are tricky and deceitful, like spies. They take more discernment. What criteria do we use to test our thoughts? Here’s a good list.
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. Philippians 4:8
I could go into a lengthy theological explanation of what each of those words mean, but I don’t need to, do I? I think you’ve got it.
What has helped you in learning to take every thought captive to Christ? Please leave a question or comment below.