We make choices on a daily basis, sometimes ones we are completely unaware of. It is easy to think of the simple ones, like deciding what to eat for lunch or picking out an outfit for a night out. But how about the choices we make that affect our attitudes, emotions and way of thinking? Many of us do not even realize these even require a choice. Many times we go around with our raging emotions and think we are forced to live with them. And honestly, I thought this way for the longest time, until the Lord opened my eyes in a scripture that changed the way I handled my emotions forever.
During a night of studying for my Sunday school class, I was reading 1 Corinthians 6. The majority of the lesson text focused on verse 13 and verses 18-20, talking about sexual immorality. While I have seen and read over these scriptures before, it is always a great reminder on how important the actions we take towards our bodies affect our inner-being. But as I looked up at verse 12, the last sentence struck me. It reads:
I have the right to do anything, you say—but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything—but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV)
Even though this verse is talking about sexual immorality and how we should not be mastered by it, The Lord revealed to me that there are many other things we allow ourselves to be mastered by. Sometimes we go through our days plagued with thoughts of fear, doubt, insecurity, loneliness, etc. These thoughts, if not handled, can turn into action. Then at the end of the day, we look back at everything with this nagging pang in our stomach, asking ourselves, “Why did I become unglued at my sister/coworker/friend today, over nothing?” or “Why do I let people bother me so much all the time? Oh, Lord forgive me!” Do you ever find yourself having this conversation with yourself over and over again? I know I did. And I was tired of it.
I knew there had to be a call to action somewhere. If our emotions and actions are causing us grief at the end of each day, we need to get to the source of it. Everything we do—everything we feel is birthed out of a thought that is triggered in our brain. Our brain then captures that thought and signals our body to feel according to what we are thinking. This is what we call our emotions. Then based on this emotion, we usually act upon it. You see this chain? Since everything we do and feel comes from our way of thinking, what we allow into our minds is so important. So, those wandering thoughts you deal with on a daily basis? You are unknowingly being mastered by them, letting them affect your emotions, your actions and the people around you. You are walking around wondering why you are always angry or why you always feel insecure, when you do not have to be. You do not have to feel this way. No one is telling you to feel this way. And even if they are, YOU have a choice.
You see, we all have free will, so we are allowed to do or think whatever, but that does not mean it is beneficial. That means we do not have to let it overtake us. I have found this to be true for my thoughts. As I read 1 Corinthians 6:12, I felt a sense of power. Power that I never tapped into before, but always had because I belong to Christ. The same power that Jesus has is in us, we just have to walk in it. I get excited when I think about this. Just imagine you once felt hopeless and weak, and then realize you have the same power of a man who overcame death! Pretty awesome.
Since our minds can turn into a never-ending roller-coaster, we have to know what to do before our thoughts leave us in the heights. Knowing we have power through Christ, God gives us instruction in scripture on what to do when we are being attacked in our minds…
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)
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. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9 NASB)
I especially love 2 Corinthians 10:5. Every time I read this verse, I think of having a big sledge hammer, smashing and demolishing every bad thought that pops into my head. I know that sounds funny, but that is how you have to fight. The enemy is out for our minds! He knows that if he can plague your mind with things like anger, doubt, insecurity and lust; you will become ineffective in living out the purposes God has for your life! Good thoughts equal good actions and good actions are birthed from good thought patterns. God has also shown me recently how the things we entertain in our daily lives affect our thoughts. Having trouble dealing with anger? Stop watching shows that promote violence or hanging out with people who always have to argue with everybody and everything. Struggling with lust? Cut out listening to music with sensual lyrics that leave your mind a breeding ground for sexual fantasies. Our mind is like fresh soil and these things we plant in it are seeds. Plant bad seeds and a poisonous flower with began to birth in your heart without you even realizing it.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)
This has been true for myself. I have found myself entertaining not-so-pure music before and wake up wondering “Why am I thinking this way?” I planted a lustful seed and my thoughts were revealing it to me. I am not perfect and I am still growing in the battlefield of the mind department. But thank God for His grace and Jesus. I have made a decision to fight. I have made a decision that my life is not going to be mastered by my thoughts or emotions, but by God’s word. This is my choice. What will be your choice today? #mostbeautifulself
I love you and Jesus loves you more,