Shifting one’s thoughts towards a more positive train of thought is such an effective antidote against discouragement. It is very consistent with taking thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. This entails arresting a thought (i.e. stopping it on its tracks), and rebuking it to align with Christ’s obedience, on the Cross, where His finished work was accomplished.
For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 AMP
Admittedly, this is a perennial problem of mine: I tend to dwell on the negative and rehearse worst case scenarios in my mind. Inasmuch as this tendency is fueled by some disciplines in my profession (my dad used to refer to this as foresight, but I’d rather adhere to my Abba Father’s truly strategic perspective as He knows the end from the beginning), I would like to believe that I am now less pessimistic compared to my emo highschool self. Yet, there are still times when I succumb to worry, which this stops me on my tracks.
In moments of uncertainty, such as our current challenge, I noticed that I revert to old tendencies. Yet, it is in these moments when I most need the power of the Holy Spirit to align my train of thought to God’s Word, so I can focus on His person (not on circumstances) and in so doing, lift Him up above any challenge. That said, our train of thought should be firmly aligned on the track of God.
TRAIN OF THOUGHT
By Christine Caine
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
You may have heard the phrase “train of thought.” It certainly is a very descriptive and accurate metaphor for describing the way our minds work. Our thoughts are just like a train; they always take us somewhere. If we want to change our destination, regardless of what area of life we’re talking about, we have to change the thought trains we board.
Often, we don’t realize that we have the ability to make a choice about what we think. But clearly we do, as we are exhorted to set our mind on things above and not on earthly things (see Col. 3:2). This doesn’t mean that negative thoughts won’t enter our minds—if that were the case, there would be no need to consciously choose to set our minds on the thoughts of God.
While I was learning to renew my mind, I discovered that many of the trains of thought I had at that time about God, the people around me, myself and my destiny were completely contrary to what God thinks. They were built on my experience rather than the truth of God’s Word. I knew that I had to make a change: I had to consciously choose what thoughts I would allow to pull into the platform of my mind.
Armed with this knowledge and a firm commitment to exercise my mind muscle, I was ready to go to work. Each time a train of thought that was contrary to the Word of God pulled into the platform of my mind, I would choose not to get on board. Instead, I would purposefully board trains of thought that would take me to the right destination.
This is why it’s so important to read and meditate on the Word of God. If we don’t know what thoughts are contrary to his, how will we ever know what trains to avoid? As I continued to renew my mind on a day-to-day basis (and often on a moment-by-moment basis), I began to notice a change. I started to see this mind shift begin to affect my external behavior and responses.
During this long and often arduous process of renewing our minds, it’s vital that we fight off the feelings of frustration that will inevitably come our way. If we don’t give up, in time we will experience the fruit of this process in our lives.
Point to Ponder
Are you ready to start responding to the circumstances of your life with the strength, faith, and confidence of Christ? Then it’s time to become rooted in God’s Word. When you have the mind of Jesus, you will naturally act like him, too.