To borrow a computer term, you are the administrator of your mind. The administrator determines who, or in this case, what has access. God has empowered you to control what goes on in your mind.
Lets examine that idea. What level of control do we have and how do we implement this control?
We cannot control what thoughts come into our heads, but we can control what we do with them. Even Jesus, while on earth did not control what thoughts came into his mind, but He certainly controlled what happened to them once there. In Matthew, chapter 4 we have the story of Jesus being tempted in the wilderness. In this story Jesus was tempted in three different ways; self-fulfillment of physical needs, pride, and power. Temptation comes in the form of thoughts. The thoughts, or temptations, come into our head uninvited. This is what Jesus was experiencing. This was not the only time Jesus experienced temptation. Hebrews 4:15 states, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” Jesus was tempted in every way, yet He did not sin. How was He able to accomplish that?
For the sake of discussion, consider temptations, or tempting thoughts, as ‘negative’ thoughts. Lets look back at the fourth chapter of Matthew. Each time a temptation, a tempting thought came to Jesus, He actively responded with a ‘positive’ thought. Jesus’ source of positive thoughts was the scripture, the Word of God. He responded to the thoughts of temptation with thoughts of the scripture.
The other option for Jesus, and the option we too often choose, would have been to dwell on the tempting thoughts. When Satan said to Jesus, via a tempting thought, saying “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread”, he knew Jesus was hungry. Afterall, He had been fasting for 40 days and nights. Jesus could have responded to that thought by thinking, “Wow, I am hungry. And you know, I am the Son of God and i’m sure my Father wouldn’t want me to go hungry.” I need to keep my strength up to do ministry. I have the power to turn these stones into bread for myself. Why not do it?” The longer He dwelled on the thought, entertained the thought, the more opportunity He would have given it to take root in His mind, or his soul. Jesus didn’t give it that opportunity. He fought back in His mind, in His soul.
This is the model, the process that Jesus used to be able to be tempted in every way and yet not sin. This is how He overcame. Can we do this? Absolutely! The same tools are available to us. Plus we have the example and the indwelling presence of Jesus to help us accomplish this.
We cannot control what thoughts come in to our head. We will have negative thoughts. We will have tempting thoughts. We can, however, control what we do with these thoughts when they come. Will we respond to them with positive thoughts, with thoughts from the scripture? Or will we dwell on them, allowing them to take root in our mind and creating a quagmire that we wallow in? God, and His Word, can and will deliver us and provide us victory.
Stay tuned for the sequel to this article which will discuss how we can impact the thoughts that come into our head.