“As if we could!”, you would say. Some thoughts we can control, but some are far from our reach. Some scientists believe that each person has an average of between 60,000-80,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot of thoughts. If you have an average of 70,000 thoughts per day, you have about 3000 per hour or 50 per minute, almost one per second.
Ninety-five percent of them we repeat every day; they are the same. But what is most interesting is that 80 percent of those habitual thoughts are negative. Our brain is hardwired to pay more attention to negative experiences than to positive ones. That is not bad at all; it serves us well for survival.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines thought as: “an idea, plan, opinion, picture, etc., that is formed in your mind, something that you think of, the act or process of thinking, the act of carefully thinking about the details of something.” The challenge for us is when you add to the mix our sinful nature corrupted by rebellion against God and His Law. That changes everything. The psalmist wrote: “Psa. 10:4 In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.” God is not part of our natural thoughts. The idea of a Superior Being, who knows everything, and dictates rules for our lives, is not welcomed in our minds. We want to be god, our own god. We want to dictate the rules for our lives, and if possible for everybody else’s lives.
It is because of this that we should guard our thoughts. Here are some suggestions on how to do that:
- Recognize that your thoughts are not God’s thoughts. This is what the Lord said to Isaiah: “Is. 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” We must understand and accept that we do not have those good thoughts naturally in our minds. They are far from us.
- Realize that God knows everything, your thoughts included. This is what the psalmist wrote: “Psa. 139:2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.” God is aware of every thought that crosses our mind. It does not matter its size or importance. In another place the psalmist said: “Psa. 94:11 The LORD knows the thoughts of man; he knows that they are futile.”
- Ask the Lord to help you to control your thoughts. This is an uphill fight. There is no way that we will win with our own efforts. We need help, a lot of help. This is what David wrote: “Psa. 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” David uses the “meditation of my heart” as an expression of his thoughts. He is asking God to make his thoughts pleasing in His sight.
- Finally, feed your mind with positive things. We live in a time when information and misinformation dominates our lives. We have been bombarded all the time with bad stuff. This is why it is so hard to guard our thoughts. Paul wrote: “Phil. 4:8 Finally, brothers, 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.” Put good stuff in your mind, read and meditate in the Scriptures, read a good book, watch a good movie (good luck with that). Act intentionally to nurture your thoughts with good and honorable things. That will make a big difference in your life.
Have a blessed week,