As Christians we sometimes find ourselves wondering if some thoughts are “correct” or not. Some “improper” thoughts are easy to identify so we can easily stop them and “remove” them from our mind… as in, “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).
Other thoughts, however, are a bit harder to stop or even identify as improper.
So, how can we discern good thoughts from bad thoughts?
The first option and simplest way to do it is to identify if this thought produces a negative or a positive feeling in you. If the feeling is negative (hate, sadness, regret, pain) you should immediately take it captive and take it to Christ.
If the feeling is positive it gets a little trickier. Some positive feelings such as happiness, excitement or hope may come from a source which is not Godly. A very clear example is if you’ve met someone you like but this person is married or committed to someone else. You can find yourself thinking about him/her and it makes you happy; nonetheless, this thought (and feeling) is certainly not proper nor good. You should stop it and pray asking God for obedience in every thought you have.
Every thought is an action.
A big problem with not controlling your thoughts and letting them grow and be more recurrent is that, at some point, this thought will turn into words (you tell someone what’s happening) and what’s worse, they might turn into actions. That’s why it’s so important to stop them before it’s too late.
So before any of this happens and if identifying the feeling didn’t help you, here are some things you can do:
- Identify the source of the thought: a T.V. show, music, a book you’re reading, something a friend told you.
- Think if you are trying to do something to like others more than God.
- Identify if your thought has led you to curse, stop praying, have a negative feeling towards somebody, have negative feelings about yourself.
- Think if you are eating properly (never skip breakfast!), sleeping properly (enough hours too), drinking enough water. All these things affect your brain and your neurons performance which affects your mood.
If you did any of the above and you could find something “wrong” or “inappropriate” about your feelings or your behavior, here’s what you can do:
1st – Filter your thoughts by reading the Bible. Philippians 4:8 is the best filter for your thoughts: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise”. (NLT) Everything that doesn’t fall in any of these “categories” should be removed from your brain. How?
2nd – Remember 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” (NLT) So as we do this, we also remove every obstacle that keeps us and others from knowing God. Isn’t that awesome?
Now, how do we change our thoughts permanently?
- Think about how God thinks about us, his children, his people. What is our identity in Jesus Christ?
- I am a child of God. (John 1:12)
- I am a branch of the true vine. (John 15:1)
- I am a friend of Jesus. (John 15:15)
- I have been justified and redeemed. (Romans 3:24)
- My old-self was crucified with Christ and I am no longer a slave to sin. (Romans 6:6)
- These are just a few of the most important biblical affirmations of who WE are in Jesus Christ. When we take this in and accept it as our true identity, we are setting our brain according to God’s will and not our own. All our thoughts are renewed and set to honor and glorify Him. Accept His truth of who you are as the ONLY truth.
- Ask God through prayer to help us think differently so we give Him authority to act in our mind and let Jesus “fix” our brain.
- Deal with the “threats” instead of avoiding them: identify what’s affecting your thoughts and remove that from your life permanently.
- Remember that we belong to the beloved, Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:6 “we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.”
- Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
Finally, remember these powerful truths whenever you struggle with changing the way you think:
- “Because you believed, it has happened.” (Matthew 8:13)
- “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)
I hope this post has helped you through some guidance on changing the way you think and discerning good thoughts from bad thoughts. If you think this is helpful to someone you know, don’t hesitate and share it with them.
Also, please comment below and let us know your thoughts about this topic. How do you discern good thoughts from bad thoughts? What piece of advice would you give others?
Don’t forget you can always jump to our private Facebook group to discuss this topic and learn from others or even better to help others in this wonderful journey.
Be gracious and don’t forget God’s love never fails.