Controlling Your Thoughts

Posted in: Christian Living, 0653
By Dr. Larry Ollison

As Christians, it’s critical that our thoughts be pure.

A few weeks ago, I took my granddaughter to a concert. It was a family-friendly show performing old songs from the 60's, 70's, and 80's. The 1,000 seat auditorium was filled with mostly gray-haired people who were remembering these songs from their youth. I sat on the third row with my granddaughter who is barely 18 years of age, and who loves the old songs from my generation.

That night one of the songs featured a guitar solo that I’m sure most people have heard countless times through the years – Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits. Back in the day the song was extremely popular and still lingers today as a rock-and-roll classic. But for some reason, the guitar solo got stuck in my head. Around 2 a.m. that night I woke up hearing this famous guitar lick. I fell back asleep and woke up again about 4 a.m. with this guitar lick still flowing through my head. I could hear each and every note clearly. Eventually I drifted back to sleep.

Over the next few days I noticed that any time it got quiet, I could hear the same guitar notes singing in my head. Honestly, even though I liked the melody, it was beginning to become annoying.

For years I have taught that words will always override thoughts. I have instructed people who were thinking improper thoughts to speak scriptures aloud because your words will cause the thoughts to cease. While this is true, it is not always practical because many times thoughts come while you are in a place or position where speaking would be inappropriate.

A few days after the concert, I had an opportunity to take my mother to lunch. As soon as the waitress took our order, I noticed the speakers in the restaurant pulsing with that same song, which just reinforced the melody floating in my mind! I was not in a position to quote scripture out loud or to read out loud, but I was determined to regain control of my thoughts.

After dropping my mom off at her house and making my 45 minute drive home, the guitar started singing in my head once again. I’d had enough!

How do we combat disturbing thoughts that attempt to control our minds? The Word of God says whatever is true, whatever is lovely, whatever is pure, to think on these things (Philippians 4:8). So I began thinking of a godly song that in past times has set me free. I didn’t sing it out loud. On purpose I kept this Christian song in my head. In my mind I started singing, “I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me. It makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. It opens prison doors, sets the captives free. I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me.”

As I would sing this song (once again, not out loud, but in my mind with my lips not moving), the other song went away. And through all of this I learned a great spiritual truth. Evil thoughts can be pushed out by good thoughts, and it’s my choice what I think.

Likewise, when you continually hear someone speak evil towards you, and the evil words are reinforced time and time again, you must be able to eliminate those words from your mind. The Bible has a plan to do that. If somebody has said something bad about you and you keep hearing it in your head, then you must override their words mentally with replacement words of victory.

The statement has been made many times to me, “Well everyone knows you can’t control what you think.” That statement is a lie and contrary to what the Word of God teaches. The Word tells us what to think (Philippians 4:8) and what we should not think. The Word tells us that any thought that is contrary or opposed to the Word of God should be taken captive and cast down (2 Corinthians 10:5). God would never command us to do something that was impossible for us to do. That would be cruel. So because He has commanded it, we know we can do it through His strength. This is promised by the scripture that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

So when you have a recurring thought that’s inappropriate or evil, or simply annoying, the world will tell you to medicate. But the Word tells you to meditate. Evil thoughts cannot penetrate a brain that is thinking on good, lovely, and pure thoughts. With God’s help (and He will help), you can do it.

Devotion 0653