How does a person deal with the impure and intrusive thoughts that enter or bombard one’s mind?
This is a problem that many people have and sometimes it may seem almost impossible to control one’s thinking.
Our thought-life is a very important part of our life. Our thoughts can reveal who we are; our thoughts can change our destiny; our thoughts shape our life and it’s important that our thoughts be subjected to God’s word and God’s will.
Some people struggle with lustful thoughts; others with anxiety & depression; whilst others struggle with low self-esteem or suicidal thoughts.
So the question is – how do we deal with impure thoughts?
A TEMPLATE FOR WHAT WE SHOULD THINK ABOUT
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.
What we learn from Philippians 4:8 is that God wants our thoughts to be focused on the right issues. In this particular verse God gives us a template of the kind of things that we should be thinking and focusing on. We should focus on what’s true; lovely; praiseworthy; virtuous; of good report and the things that are pure.
Therefore as we think on these kind of issues according to Philippians 4:8 – we will then begin to gradually develop a healthy and sound mind.
CAPTURE EVERY THOUGHT
2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
It’s been said that “you can’t stop a bird from landing on your head but you can stop it from building a nest on your head”.
What this means it that there are times in our thought-life when the devil will project certain impure thoughts into your mind with the intention of tempting you. Therefore nobody is immune to temptation. Even Jesus Christ was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11).
Even though we are not immune to temptation this does not mean that we should allow ourselves to indulge into our temptations. The Bible tells us to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”.
We practically bring every thought captive to Christ by measuring & filtering all our thoughts & temptations against the word of God.
When Jesus was tempted, He captured every thought and idea that the devil presented to Him by filtering it through the Scriptures. Just like Jesus, we can defeat every impure thought and temptation by confessing and obeying the Scriptures against that impure thought.
MEDITATE & OBEY THE WORD OF GOD
Therefore if you’re struggling with your thought-life, you could try the following
1. You need to cultivate a habit of meditating on the word of God. (Psalms 1:1-3)
2. You need to also cultivate a habit of capturing every thought and filtering it against the word of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
3. It’s important to be obedient or a doer of the word of God. (James 1:23-25)
4. Focus on Jesus Christ and to fix our eyes on Him who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
5. Yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit who is able to help us overcome the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16)
What is truth? In life you can have people who have different perceptions about many issues and you find that people can create their own versions of what they believe is truth.
For example – you might have a camp of people who believe that there is nothing wrong with abortion and they firmly believe that it’s okay to have an abortion.
Then you will have another camp that opposes abortion and this camp believes that abortion is wrong.
Who is right and who is telling the truth in this case?
Another example is this: You have people who believe that there is only ONE God. However, another group believes that there are MANY gods. But yet still, a third group will tell you that there are NO gods that exist.
Who is right and who is telling the truth in this case?
Are people creating their own “truths” or is there a REAL TRUTH that exists for every situation and circumstance?
What TRUTH is NOT
First let’s look at what truth is NOT.
1. Truth is NOT what you want it to be
2. Truth is NOT what the majority says is “true”.
3. Truth is NOT what you feel it should be
4. Truth is NOT what you believe it should be
A lie will always remain a lie. The truth will always remain the truth irrespective of our feelings or perceptions.
What is TRUTH?
Truth is telling it like it is. Truth is what corresponds to reality. Truth is whatever is based on the word of God. Most importantly – truth is a Person. Truth is Jesus Christ.
Jesus said that He is THE TRUTH (John 14:6).
Therefore to know the truth – we must have a personal relationship with the Truth Himself – Jesus Christ.
Our understanding of the truth in relation to various life issues and circumstances comes from our relationship with Christ and also with our understanding and application of the word of God.
As we apply the Scriptures in our life we not only have a knowledge of truth but we are also living according to the truth through Jesus Christ.
John 14:6 NKJV Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Galatians 6:9 NKJV And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.
Are you tired of doing the right things in your life? Do you find yourself growing weary of doing good? Perhaps you’re tired of going to church every Sunday; perhaps you’re growing weary of praying & reading your Bible; perhaps you’re tired of various other things of God that you know are good and correct but somehow weariness has crept into your life and the zeal that you once had is fading.
In Galatians 6:9, the scriptures tell us not to grow weary in doing good. This particular scripture is not referring to physical weariness or physical fatigue, but it’s referring to a lack of zeal; a lack of spiritual motivation; a spiritual weariness that causes a person to no longer be interested in doing godly things in his/her life.
Therefore, how do we stop the weariness in doing good? What are the causes of the weariness?
Why Are You Weary? Whenever we become weary of doing good, it’s an opportunity for us to examine our motives for why we do the things that we do.
What is it that motivates us to do good? What kind of reward do I expect when I do good?
Am I motivated to do good because I have a need for self-recognition and a need to feel good about myself?
Am I motivated because I have a need to please men and to be noticed and applauded by men?
Or – am I motivated because I want to please God and to glorify God in whatever I do?
Colossians 3:17 NKJV And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:23-24 NKJV And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
If my motives for doing good deeds are in trying to please myself and to gain self-recognition, I will eventually become unsatisfied with what I’m doing and I will grow weary. When my motive for what I do is to please or find recognition for myself, I’ll no longer act in God’s strength but I will be acting in my own strength.
According to Colossians 3:17 and Colossians 3:23-24, whatever we do must be done for the glory of God. We should not do anything in word or deed for the purpose of self-glorification. The moment our motives are not meant for God’s glory, then weariness, false expectations and personal disappointment will enter my life.
When you live for yourself and to glorify yourself, you begin to live in your own strength – and when you live in your own strength, even when you’re doing good deeds – at some point you will grow weary of doing good because you are living according to your own strength. Likewise the same negative results occur when we attempt to live in order to please men & to be applauded by men.
However, if your purpose in whatever you do is to glorify God, then your deeds and the outcome of your deeds will always rest in God’s hands and not your own. When you live and work as to the Lord and not to yourself or to men, then your reward will come from God. When your motive is to glorify God, your efforts will rest in God’s strength and not in your own and God provides you with the grace and provision you need. This is how a person is able to say “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” according to Philippians 4:13. Our strength should not be drawn from ourselves but from Christ and through Christ who strengthens us.
Therefore, one of the ways to avoid weariness in doing good is to initially and honestly examine our motives specifically in the area where we are experiencing weariness in doing good. Are we earnestly seeking to glorify God?
Then when we discover the root cause of our weariness, let us be encouraged to draw our strength from the Lord and not from our own effort. Let us also ensure that we do all things to glorify the Lord and to remember that our reward comes from the Lord and not from ourselves or from men.
Why are so many marriages falling apart? How does it happen that 2 people fall in love, get married and then divorce a few months or years later? Did these people not understand the meaning of love? Did they not understand the meaning of marriage? Did they not understand the commitment required to make a marriage work?
Marriage is a good and divine institution. However, like many good things it requires work, commitment and of course TRUE love to keep it alive.
Am I ready for marriage? How can I make my marriage work? If you’ve asked yourself these questions, below are at least 11 things you should know about marriage if you intend to get married or if you are already in a marriage relationship.
Are You Willing To Understand That There Are Certain Things About Your Spouse’s Character That You Might Never Ever Change?
Let’s face it. If your spouse had certain habits or certain undesirable characteristics 20 years before you got married, it’s unlikely that your spouse is going to change those undesirable habits or characteristics overnight. Many people whilst dating assume that when they get married it will be easier to change some of their spouse’s habits because they’ll be living together. Sometimes it’s not the case and habits or characteristics that have been engrained in a person’s personality do not change easily.
If a person will not change – don’t focus so much on strategizing how to change the person. Rather just love the person as they are – yes, with their bad habits. Don’t be too critical or judgmental. You might discover that you’re also not so perfect yourself and that there are things in your own personality that need to change too. 1 Peter 4:8NKJV – And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins”.
Are You Willing To Realise That Love Is Not A Feeling – But It’s A Mindset & A Doing-Word?
Love is not a feeling. Love is not an overwhelming strong “force” that takes over 2 people who are meant to be together. Feelings are temporary. Feelings come and go depending on the external situation or circumstance.
True love however, remains the same irrespective of the external circumstances. True love is a mindset. You love a person whether they deserve to be loved or not. You love a person even when they are at their worst state. Love is a choice. You don’t feel it but you choose to love.
Many people get married without understanding the difference between love and lust. Others get married without understanding the difference between infatuation and love. Some get married without understanding the meaning of love at all. 1 John 3:18NKJV – My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
Are You Willing To Forgive Your Spouse For The Same Mistakes Over & Over & Over & Over & Over Again – And Still Love Your Spouse Anyway?
One of the reasons why many marriages eventually fail is because of lack of forgiveness. Spouses cannot forgive each other for past errors or faults. Having a forgiving attitude will help one’s marriage to last but having a vengeful and unforgiving approach to marriage will destroy the marriage. Unforgiveness will also cause communication problems and resentment. Matthew 18:21-22NKJV – Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
Are You Willing To Stay Married Till Death Do-You-Part?
Contrary to the worldly culture and standards, marriage is not a human contract. Marriage was created by God and marriage is defined by God. Part of God’s rules for marriage is that divorce is not an option.
Marriage is a lifetime commitment to love & live with your spouse. This commitment does not change because your feelings change. This commitment does not change because your spouse no longer has a well-paying job. This commitment does not change because your spouse no longer looks beautiful. According to God, marriage is for life. Malachi 2:16 NKJV – “For the Lord God of Israel says that He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.”
Are You Willing To Lose A Fight or Argument Even If You’re Right?
There are many reasons why couples fight and argue; bad habits; money; sex; communication and the like are one of the many reasons. In marriage, it’s not about who is right and who is wrong. Humility is an important character to have in a marriage. Would you rather be right & continue to be enemies in the home – or would you rather be peacefully reconciled and in humility agree to disagree?
In a marriage where 2 people come from 2 different family backgrounds & have had 2 different life experiences there is always the likely chance that as a couple you will not always agree on every topic or issue.
Differences will always arise even in the best marriages. The question is, how do you handle your differences as a couple? 1 Corinthians 13:4-5NKJV – Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
Are You Willing to be Faithful & Never Cheat Including During the Worst of Times?
There is no good excuse for cheating on a spouse. Adultery is a sin no matter how bad your marriage becomes. There are many reasons why a spouse may cheat but none of those reasons are good enough before God’s eyes. God honours faithful people. Faithfulness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 13:4NKJV – Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
Are You Willing To Discover New Surprising Things About Your Spouse BUT Still Love Him Anyway?
Before couples get married they always make the mistake of assuming that they know their partner very well. The truth is, no person truly knows their spouse until they begin to stay together. Before you’re married you may know a small percentage of your partner’s personality, but the truth is you will learn more of who he is and what type of person he is during your marriage. You can be married to your spouse for 15 years and still discover that there are many things (good and bad) that you did not know about your spouse.
However, whatever surprising new things you find out about your spouse – are you willing to continue to be committed and to love that person? Remember – love is not a feeling. 1 Corinthians 13:7-8NKJV – (Love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails.
Are You Willing To Love An Imperfect Person?
Are you a perfect person? If you’re not perfect, would you still want someone to still love you?
None of us are perfect in this world. We are all a bunch of imperfect people falling in love and getting married to other imperfect people.
Therefore if 2 imperfect people get married, you’re going to have an imperfect marriage that might be full of disagreements & differences.
In marriage, don’t focus on the imperfections – but focus on the strengths; focus on the good things in the marriage; focus on the things that can make the marriage stronger and better. John 15:12NKJV – This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Are You Willing To Realize That Love, Sex & Romance Isn’t What Celebrities & The Hollywood Films Teach?
Celebrities and Hollywood is the last place that any serious couple should want to learn about love and marriage. Hollywood films only distort the meaning of true love and true marriage. Married celebrities themselves are not good examples to learn from about marriage because their marriages never last. Yet Hollywood culture has had a subtle effect on how we think and view issues related to love, sex and marriage.
Hollywood & celebrities have given the youth and many others the subtle perception that our definition of love, sex & romance should be as we have seen and experienced it in the films that we watch. Colossians 2:8NKJV – Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
Are You Willing To Love & Stay With Your Spouse During Financial Challenges?
Money is one of the major reasons why marriages collapse. The Bible says that money is the root of all kinds of evil.
Money is the reason why some people want to get married to someone.
Money is the bait that some people use to persuade someone to marry them.
However, money should not be the foundation of any relationship – especially marriage.
The foundation of a good marriage should be God & His word, love, commitment & trust. 1 Timothy 6:9,10NKJV – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Are You Willing To Accept Your Specific Marital Roles As Husband & Wife
In any kind of institution, team or grouping, people will always have different functions and different roles to play. It’s the same thing in a marriage. According to God’s word, the husband has his role and the wife has her role. Whenever their respective marital roles are not performed or if their roles are reversed – this situation will cause problems in the marriage. Ephesians 5:22-28NKJV – Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself
So are you ready for marriage? Or are you willing to make your marriage work?
Remember – marriage comes from God. Approach your relationships prayerfully. As long as we are on this earth, our relationships are not going to be problem-free. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect relationships. The question is – are you willing to selflessly & prayefully do the right thing to make your relationship work according to God’s principles.
God does not want us to be stuck in the past. The problem with always focusing on the past is that it hinders us from looking forward. When we focus only on the issues in the past, we fail to concentrate on the objectives we need to accomplish in the present and on the goals we need to complete in the future. When the past is crippling us, we must learn how to move forward in life.
Sometimes we can be stuck in the hurts of the past; sometimes we don’t want to forget the bad experiences we had with others; sometimes we are afraid of our past failures and therefore we fear the future and we fear the unknown.
However the problem with allowing the past to control you is that remembering the past can sometimes paralyze you and hinder you from moving forward in your life.
Forget The Former Things, Consider The New
In Isaiah 43:18, God instructs us to FORGET the former things. Perhaps in your own life there are things that are holding you back which you need to forget if you are to move forward in your life.
Perhaps you need to stop holding onto your past failures. Failures are a part of life and as long as we are imperfect people, we will at times fail or make mistakes. What is important after we have failed, is that we should LEARN from our specific failures and mistakes so that we do not repeat the same mistakes. It is said that Thomas Edison the inventor of the light bulb failed over 1000 times before he successfully invented the light bulb. Clearly this man did not give up because of his failures nor did he allow his past failings to stop him from moving forward towards his goal. In relation to his many prior failures, Edison was quoted as saying that he found over 1000 ways of how NOT to make a light bulb.
In Isaiah 43:18, God also instructs us not to consider the “things of old”. Perhaps you need to find a new way of achieving your objectives. Perhaps you need to start seeing your challenges in a different way. Perhaps you need to be more innovative. It is said that CHANGE is the only constant.
Albert Einstein said “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Isaiah 43:19 ESV Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Focus On What God Is Doing
God our Creator knows that remembering the former things or considering the things of old will only serve to paralyse us from moving forward, therefore He instructs us to forget the former things. We must not let the past experiences in our lives hinder us.
Rather our eyes and perception must be focused on God. Our objectives must be focused on God’s plans. Our plans and God’s plans must be aligned if we are to succeed.
If you are to succeed, you must not rely on your own strength, but you must rely on God’s strength. In Isaiah 43:19, God says that it is HE who will make a way in the wilderness. God also says that it is HE who will make rivers in the desert.
Perhaps you feel like you are in the wilderness. Perhaps you feel lost, alone and afraid in your wilderness. From today, rely on God to make a way in your wilderness.
Perhaps you feel like you are in the desert. You feel thirst, dry and have nothing to sustain you. From today allow God to make rivers in your desert by trusting, obeying and having faith in Him. Don’t let the failures of your past prevent you from trusting in God and moving forward in your life.
Philippians 3:12-14 ESV
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children's children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.