"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
The mind can be a powerful ally or an awesome enemy. The trouble so many of us experience in life is in our minds—we let our thoughts run wild! If we want to live peaceful lives, we must guard our minds and control our thought lives. We must do something about it!
Of course, we live in a negative society. If it's not bad news, it's usually not considered newsworthy. If you listen to the news
reports for very long, you might not even want to leave your house!
Even in the Christian world, so many times all we hear is bad news. We hear the latest gossip, or people rush to tell us reports of trouble and strife.
Meanwhile, Satan is playing havoc with our minds. He constantly bombards us with negative thoughts. He brings all kinds of imaginations to our minds, trying to fill us with anxiety so he can keep us from having the peace we can experience with God. He is trying to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8).
How is Satan doing this? First of all, he specializes in fear. He tries to torment us with fearful, worrisome thoughts. The devil, unlike the Holy Spirit, is not a gentleman. If we open the door to Satan even a tiny crack, he'll kick it wide open!
That's why the Bible says, "Neither give place to the devil"
(Eph. 4:27). We cannot allow the enemy to dominate our thought lives no matter how hard he tries. He will try to dog our tracks. But if we give in and begin to meditate on those negative thoughts, we'll be defeated. Fear is a spirit, and it will get a grip on us if we allow it to.
Thank goodness, we don't have to fear. We don't have to worry. We don't have to let our minds be cluttered with troublesome thoughts. If we will keep our thoughts focused on the right things, our Heavenly Father will deliver us and keep us in perfect peace.
THOUGHTS MAY COME BUT THOUGHTS MUST GO
In Philippians chapter 4, the Apostle Paul tells us how to deal with worrisome thoughts.
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
God is saying in these verses that He doesn't want us to have any worries or anxious thoughts about our needs. When a problem strikes, He doesn't want us to panic; He wants us to pray—to make our requests known to Him. We can say to Him, "Father, this is what I need," and He will be right there to help us!
THINK ON THESE THINGS
After Paul told us to "be careful for nothing" but to make our requests known to the Lord, he gave us specific instructions on what God wants us to think about.
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.
Of course, things aren't always lovely. Things aren't always true, honest, or of a good report. But Paul is saying here, "Don't focus on the negative things. Think about the things that will build you up and not tear you down. Think about all the good things God has done for you—all the promises He's given you in His Word. Focus on the positive things in life."
Are those things—the good things of God—consuming your thoughts today? Or are you thinking about the difficulties that lie ahead of you, the challenges and obstacles that are blocking your path?
Some people constantly dwell on their own faults and weaknesses.
They think about all their past mistakes. They always ponder the "what ifs" of life.
When we think about those things, we're focusing on the wrong reality. We cannot think thoughts of defeat and expect victory. We cannot think thoughts of weakness and expect strength. And we cannot think thoughts of confusion and fear and expect peace!
What are some of the thoughts we should be thinking?
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 . . . Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
When the enemy tries to fill our minds with distressing thoughts, these verses encourage us to look to Jesus and think about how much He loves us and what He endured for us—the shame of the cross. When we focus on these things, we will not grow weary and faint in our minds.
Besides, if we're meditating on God's promises and thinking about His good things, we won't have time to worry and complain or get discouraged and depressed. We will always be filled with a good report—the report of God's Word.
What does God's report say? His report says, "All things are working together for my good" (Rom. 8:28). His report says, "Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ" (Rom. 8:35–39). His report says, "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13)!
His report also says—and these words are found throughout the Bible—"It shall come to pass." Now think about that for a moment. That means this trouble, this trial, this problem you've been struggling with, hasn't come to stay. It's come to pass—because we always triumph in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14)!
Every time you're troubled with distressing thoughts, don't wrestle with them in the mental realm. Just begin to draw upon the Word of God on the inside of you, and keep your thoughts focused on what God says. You'll be surprised at how quickly you'll be surrounded with His presence, and your heart and mind will be filled with His wonderful peace!