By Evangelist Johnny Lee Clary
Every Christian has had bad thoughts going through their mind at one time or another. Our Circumstances sometimes dictate or dominate our thoughts but there is a way to overcome it. Apostle Paul wrote a letter while he was in prison and said the following: Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (This can be done providing the Cross is the Object of our Faith, which then gives the Holy Spirit latitude to help us. ) Expositor’s Study Bible KJV
Now how in the world could Paul write something like this while rotting away in a dirty filthy prison and knowing he was facing death by beheading? Well it wasn’t easy but he did and regardless of your circumstances you can too. It is easy to praise God when we have money, a nice house, a nice car, a job promotion, and lots of friends. Could you praise God though if you got fired from your job, the repo man took your car, you get evicted, and you find out your best friend is sleeping with your girlfriend? So many people will say, “No I cannot under the circumstances.” What they need to remember that Jesus is not UNDER the circumstances but He is OVER the circumstances!
Paul chose not to focus on the negative but instead his mind raced back to the positive things that took place in his Christian walk. I am sure Paul thought of all the souls that had been saved, of all the churches that he had planted, of all the healings that took place, and of his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. He wasn’t focusing on being arrested, being put on trial, being whipped, being beaten, that stinking dungeon of a prison, or his upcoming execution. We as Christians need to focus on the good things of God even when bad things seem to be ringing down all around us.
The word of God says to call things that are not as though they were. Of course you have to be obedient to God and focus on what is to come instead of what your circumstances are at the time. Now you just can’t be a poor person, choosing to live like the devil and for the world, confessing to be rich and expect it to happen. Obedience to God and faith in God are keys to making this happen. You see, others had seen the good things that happened in Paul’s life and he could appeal to others with such great merit in what he had to say because of it. It was a testimony to others.
The “Name it and Claim it; Blab it and Grab it; Confess it and Possess it” bunch are morons when they teach all you have to do is mutter some words and magic will happen! It does not work that way. I know of countless people who believe that idiotic doctrine that are poor and they have been confessing this stuff for many years and they are still poor. I know people who are single and they have confessed and claimed certain people for their spouse and have been doing that for years and they are still single and the ones they claimed got married to someone else. You see none of that junk works unless it is God’s will for that person’s life. To mutter words and expect it come to you, is witchcraft. That is exactly what the Wiccan religion teaches so there is no difference.
You can’t dwell on evil thoughts and live righteously. Living for God is the result of thinking the thoughts as well displaying the thoughts of God which is found in His word.
To be a Christian means to be Christ-like. We are to strive with all of our heart and soul to be as much like Christ as possible which includes having the mind of Christ. We should develop our minds to have the thoughts of Christ which is found in His word. That should be every Christian’s desire and it certainly is the desire of Christ to see us have His thoughts in our mind. However, Satan would also like us to have his thoughts in our mind so he attacks our minds with evil, wicked and impure thoughts. A war takes place within our mind and it is a constant battle of ‘Good vs. Evil.’ It is normal for every Christian, no matter how much of a ‘Holy Joe’ or ‘Holy Jane’ they are, to have their mind attacked with impure thoughts. Sometimes we open the door of our mind to allow these wicked thoughts to come in by what we place before our eyes. I like what God’s Word says in Psalm 101: 3 I will set no wicked thing before my eyes; I hate the work of them who turn aside; it shall not cleave to me. (This was the heart of David, although not always his actions. The “turning aside” has to do with deviating from the Word of God. The Pharisees twisted the Word of God, as well as adding to it. Christ said that He hated their work.) Expositor’s Study Bible KJV
Remember, it is not Satan, but you who makes the choice to watch bad TV programs, go to naughty movies, look at porno magazines, go to websites that are bad, drink that beer, smoke that dope, become a homo or a whoremonger, lie, cheat and steal, or go watch the girls at the nudie bar. Satan or anyone else can’t force you to do this. You make your own choice and you will pay the price when you choose the bad ones.
Another problem with allowing your mind to conform to the world’s way of thinking, is you will eventually become either hostile to God or you will begin to worship a counterfeit “god” that is not the God of the Holy Bible. That is what is happening today with a lot of these modern churches that have the ‘new all-grace-no-repentance-needed’ theology which is in direct contrast with the Word of God. I don’t care if your pastor preaches from all the top motivational speaker books in the world and has a PhD in psychology! If what he is preaching does not line up with the word of God then get out of that church. Those who preach this damnable doctrine are more interested in quantity and not quality. To them it is about butts in the chairs for a bigger church and not about recruiting, developing, equipping and training soldiers to serve in the army of the Lord! People that follow this sort of thinking end up leaving the Word of God and conforming to the world’s way of thinking because God’s rules and standards make them feel guilty.
The old saying goes, “You are what you eat.” I believe the Bible teaches us, “You are what you think.” Sadly I read where one study said that only 12% of people who call themselves Christians bother to read the Bible on a daily basis. If you have a car, and you never put gas and oil in it, eventually it is going to stop running. You need the word of God every day for fuel to keep going otherwise you will stop going for God.
A lot of us have bad thought habits because of what was taught to us in life, from parents, teachers, friends, or the type of entertainment we have been exposed to. For instance I was raised in an environment of racism so I could not expect all those bad beliefs and thoughts to go away overnight. Jesus didn’t automatically remove them from my mind when I became a Christian. He gave me the ability to do that. Romans 12: 2 tells us don’t become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants-what is good, pleasing, and perfect. The Devil does not want you to think on the things of God though. He doesn’t care if you never think at all; he just doesn’t want you dwelling on the Word of God.
If we allow our minds to dwell upon negative, impure, evil thoughts then they will take control and the Devil will win the battle. God created us with a free-will and it is our choice as to what we allow to dominate our minds. Therefore this is what a believer must do to overcome the bad thoughts.
1. Realize and believe that you have the mind of Christ and start acting like it! Show true faith! (1 Corinthians 2:16) (James 2:20)
2. Do not listen to worldly intellectual arrogance that opposes the knowledge of God. We take every thought captive so that it is obedient to Christ. Man’s wisdom is foolishness to God. (2 Corinthians 10:5;1 Corinthians 3:19)
3. Set your mind on the things that are of God and not the secular worldly things. Focus on good and not evil. God’s cure for bad thoughts is to fill our minds with that which is good. (Colossians 3:2; Philippians 4:8)
4. Resist the Devil and He will flee from you. (James 4:7) The entire scripture says Submit to God and THEN resist the Devil and he will flee from you. He won’t flee unless you are submitted to God.
5. Whatever happens, give thanks, because it is God’s will in Christ Jesus that you do this. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) You are not thanking Him for your troubles, but you are thanking Him for taking you through them.
6. Do like Job did. Praise Him no matter what the circumstances and know He is Over and not Under the circumstances. (Job2:10; 13:15)
7. Let Christ’s word with all its wisdom and richness live in you. Use psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to teach and instruct yourselves about [God's] kindness. Sing to God in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16) Make the decision to sing praise to God no matter what and watch what He does for you. Paul and Silas chains were broken because of this. (Acts 16:25-39)
There are your keys to overcoming bad thoughts. Now it’s up to you to apply and implement them.