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Controlling Your Thoughts - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
September 30, 2023 12:00 am

Controlling Your Thoughts - Part 1

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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September 30, 2023 12:00 am

You can reprogram your mind to focus on things that honor God and to think more Christlike thoughts.

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Welcome to this weekend's In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley. For Christians, godly thoughts are key to godly actions. Today's podcast looks at Colossians chapter three to find help for setting your mind on things above. Do you ever have problems struggling with your thoughts? Maybe thoughts that you shouldn't have and maybe thoughts about people, whatever it might be. Sometimes you just allow your mind to sort of drift over into unforgiveness, pride, lust, anger.

All kind of attitudes and all kind of thoughts in your mind that you know are not very good. Then, of course, there are those thoughts of love and kindness and goodness toward others. But the truth is that your mind is working all the time. You're thinking something all the time. Somebody says, well, sometimes I just don't think. Oh, yes, you do. Because your mind is not a vacuum.

There's something there all the time. And so, when these thoughts come in your mind, how do you respond to that? Do you get some sense of satisfaction about thinking something that's not right? Do you feel guilty about it? Do you feel like, well, I just can't help myself?

Or do you say, the devil made me do it? And so, think about this. You and I live in a society and in a time, in a culture that our minds are continuously bombarded by what? Things that we see on the television and the movies, things we read in the newspapers, things or other things that we read, for example. Words that you hear, sights that you see. Our mind is always receiving all of these things.

Sometimes that's good, sometimes it's not so good. The question is, how can you and I live a godly life and think right when we live in a world that's throwing all of these things that are not right at our mind? And so, how do we live in this kind of a culture and think right? And let me just say this, it's not going to change. Until Jesus comes, it's going to be the same. And we're not going to reach some day out there where everything is right and everybody's godly. It's not going to be that way.

So, how do we learn to live in a godly fashion in a world that is so anti-Christ? So, I want you to listen very carefully. What you think today is affecting your life more than you realize. Who you are today is the result of what you've been thinking all these years of your life.

And what you think today is going to determine where you're going to be tomorrow and what you're going to be tomorrow. Because you see, it's our thoughts that cause us to become what we are. It's our thoughts that influence our relationships. Our choice of occupation.

Our marriage partner. It's our thoughts that cause us to move in a certain direction, make certain decisions that affect our finances, that affect every aspect of our life, that affect our relationship to Jesus Christ. Our thoughts are powerful mediums. And when you think about the fact how awesome this mind is of yours, you say, well, sometimes I don't think mine's very awesome. Well, I can understand that.

We all have different degrees. But when I open the back of a computer, for example, and look down and see what seems to me to be total confusion. Because here's a little drop of what looked like lead here, a little wire here, and going where. And then I look at that, this inanimate object. And then I can look on a screen and see this picture.

And then I can hit a few keys and talk to somebody a long ways away or just about any place in the world and the weather and everything imaginable. And then I open it back up and think, no way. But in somebody's mind, they conceived the idea of creating something like this. And God gave them the ability to think. They had to think, first of all, about the possibility. Think about the ways it could be done and so what do we have?

We have many wonderful gadgets and awesome pieces of equipment and technology that make it possible for us to get the gospel around the world and to make our life easy. It all begins in the mind. Now, how do we control our thoughts?

Because Satan is going to bombard us in every way he possibly can to get us off track, derail us, get us to drifting into something that we have no business being in. So, I want you to turn, if you will, to Colossians chapter three and I want us to read just these first three verses of this chapter and this begins a whole message entitled, How to Control Your Thoughts. And beginning in verse one, Therefore, if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Now, notice he says two things. Keep seeking, present, active, imperative. Keep on doing it habitually. Keep seeking Christ and then keep habitually setting your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth because all of our thoughts are either heavenly or earthly. All earthly thoughts are not bad. Heavenly thoughts, who Jesus is, who God is, what is He about?

His wisdom, His guidance, His power, His interest, His love and devotion to us as well as ours to Him. And so, with that in mind, what I want us to do is I want us to look at several aspects of this. And somebody says, Well, how can I control my thinking?

Sometimes I can't. Well, God gives us some very clear warnings about that. And I want you to turn, if you will, first of all, go back to Romans chapter eight. And I want us to look at beginning in this fifth verse because here is one of a number of warnings in the Scripture about the mind.

And they will not be here if they were not very important. And remember this, nowhere in the Bible does it say that God is going to govern your mind. God isn't going to make that decision.

He makes it possible for us to make godly decisions, but He's not going to make it for us. So, I want you to look, if you will, in Romans chapter eight, beginning in verse five, listen to what He says. For those who are according to the flesh, or that is living after their naturalness. Flesh means their naturalness, how you lived before you were saved. He says, for those who are according to the flesh and their naturalness, they set their mind on the things of the flesh. That is, the worldly things, things that are not godly. But those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. That is, godly people think in terms of the things of the Spirit.

The ungodly do not. Then He says, for the mind set on the flesh, our naturalness, is death. But the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. Because the mind set on the flesh, that is our naturalness, those sinful tendencies we have, is hostile toward God. For it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it's not even able to do so. A lost person cannot live a godly life. An ungodly person does not think in terms of godliness, but earthly things.

Things that are sensual, materialistic, secular kind of things. And so He says, the mind set on the flesh is death, the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. Then, because the mind set on the flesh, listen to this, is hostile toward God. They don't want God in their life. It doesn't subject itself, that is, their mind doesn't subject itself to the law of God. They don't believe it.

They want to abide by it. For it is not even able to do so. And those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Now, your lost friends may say, well, I'm this, that, and the other. The Bible says if you are unsaved, you've never trusted Jesus Christ, you're living in the flesh that is in your naturalness, your five natural tendencies that God has given us, and these dictate your life. You cannot walk in the Spirit of God.

You cannot live a godly life and live that way. Go back, if you will, to Romans chapter one for a moment, and I want to show you a very strong verse. All this has to do with our mind. And if you'll look in the twenty-eighth verse of this first chapter of Romans, he says, and this is the longest list following this of sins given anywhere in the Scripture, but he says in verse twenty-eight, And just as they, those who have turned away from God, just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper. Now, why does he say a depraved mind?

Because God is simply saying to us, our actions are the result of the way we think. A depraved mind is a mind that is morally corrupt. That is, it is morally totally corrupt, does not think about spiritual things, doesn't want to think about spiritual things because it's all earthly to them. Sensuality, materialism, and all the things that they think will bring them happiness and peace in life, which you and I know does not. And the truth is, if they were honest, they'd have to say, No, I don't have peace. I am living in anxiety.

No, no, no. All the things they boast of, when the truth comes out, that's not who they are. Because God says they cannot. Now, I want you to turn, if you will, to Second Corinthians chapter eleven for a moment. And I want you to notice a passage here that is a warning to us.

And I read several of these because of that. It's a warning to us. And eleventh chapter, verse two, he says, I'm jealous for you with a godly jealousy, for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.

That is, he's speaking of the churches abroad, and so he's teaching them, preaching them, instructing them, encouraging them to be godly, to present them before Jesus Christ as a gift. Then he says, But I'm afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and the purity of devotion to Christ. That is, we are warned over and over and over again about the use of our mind. Go back, if you will, to the tenth chapter, just one page over in your Bible probably.

Tenth chapter, and look, if you will, in the fourth and fifth verses of this tenth chapter. He says, and oftentimes he speaks of our warfare and how we have to do battle with Satan. Here's what he says, But the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh. That is, we don't battle spiritual battles with fleshly things, because we cannot.

But divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. That is, our weapons are spiritual weapons, our faith and our trust in God, our reliance upon the Holy Spirit. And when he says destruction of fortresses, that is, Satan has a toehold in a person's life, then he gets a stronghold. And a stronghold is an area of life in which Satan is having his victory until he's got a, he's got a stronghold in your life, a real hold on your life in some area.

There's an area of weakness that he knows that he can get you at that point. So he says, We are destroying speculations, these kind of reasonings, and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, which says, You and I can control our thinking. Now, how do we do that? And the basis of that is what I want us to discuss primarily. So, back to Colossians, this third chapter, and notice what he says. He says, We are to set our mind on the things of God, things of Christ, those things that are heavenly and not things that are earthly. That does not mean that you're not to think about your job and your relationship and your family and your responsibility.

It doesn't mean that. But it means earthly things, those things that fall into two or three categories, sensuality, for example, materialism, secularism, and all the rest. Ungodliness, antichrist philosophies and attitudes, and anti-God actions in a person's life. So the question is, How do we control our life in these situations?

Well, first of all, let's talk about the possibility of it. And I want to explain something here that Paul, now listen carefully, in the sixth, seventh, and eighth chapters of Romans, he explains this. I don't have time to take all that time to explain what I want to say in this particular verse.

But what I want to give you first of all is the basis of the possibility of us being able to control our thoughts. And if you'll notice what he says in this chapter, he says, If you've been raised up with Christ, keep seeking things above. Now, what does that mean?

Here's what it means. When you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, here's what you did. You placed your trust in Jesus, death at Calvary, who bore your sin and your iniquity and your wickedness and your vileness on the cross.

God punished Him for your sinfulness and made it possible for you to be forgiven because He is your substitute. Now, when you and I become a child of God, we become identified with Jesus. That is, we are now one of His followers. We can never be who we were.

We don't want to be who we were. Now we have a new position and a new possession. Now, since Jesus Christ has come into our life, He and I, you and He, are one. He says, I'm abiding in you and you're abiding in me. He said to His disciples in a very critical time, He said, I'm going to send the Holy Spirit and He'll be in you and with you and upon you forever. That is, the Holy Spirit comes into our life to do what? To enable you and me to live out the Christian life. And so, that is His primary responsibility.

We can't do it in our own strength. So, He sends Him for the rest of eternity. He's living on the inside of us. Now, as a result of that, we are identified with Him. For example, when you were baptized, remember what happened? You walked in the water and you'd made a decision about your life. We take you under by immersion, which is what the Bible teaches, bring you up, and that is a symbol of something. It's a picture of what happened to you. When you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Bible says you died to your old way of life. And you were buried in Christ and risen to walk in newness of life, which is His way of saying something happened to us.

And it transformed us. And one of the best examples in nature is this. The caterpillar that crawls along on the earth and over a leaf and anything large as a quarter, for example, he's got to either go around or over it. One day that caterpillar crawls up the tree under a leaf and winds that cocoon.

Months go by and all of a sudden what happens? Breaking out of that cocoon is this beautiful, golden, black, and blue butterfly. And what happens now? Instead of creeping and crawling, what's a butterfly doing?

Just flying over everything, going to one flower after the other. I mean, life has really changed. But what had to happen? Caterpillar had to die first. Now, is, will he ever be a caterpillar again?

No. You know why? Because that caterpillar was just like what happened to us, born again. He was born, listen, a new life. Now he's got wings, he can fly.

Anytime he gets on the ground, it's a choice he makes because he's looking at this or looking at that or smelling at this or whatever. Butterfly living. There are a lot of people who are crawling and creeping like the caterpillars. In fact, most people are. Sometimes, I know some Christians, and you do too, who sort of forget for a season who they are. They're down there crawling and creeping in the world, living by the flesh. They're naturalists instead of God. If they're really saved, they won't stay there. Every once in a while, God's people get out of step with Him and His will and purpose and plan for their life.

They can't ever be who they were. We're a brand new person. We have been identified with Jesus.

Now He's living on the inside of us. And somebody says, who are you? If I should ask you, give me a little brief biographical sketch about you. You'd probably tell me your name and where you live and what you do and so forth.

And then I'd say, now wait a minute, let's start off. Who are you really? If you're really a child of God, you could say, I'm a child of God, born again by the Spirit of God, a new creature in Christ Jesus, my citizenship is in heaven. That's what the Bible says. You're a brand new person.

You can't ever be a caterpillar once you become a butterfly. Now that is the basis for your capacity and your ability to do what? To make right decisions in your life. You can make right decisions.

You can think correctly. Father, how grateful we are that You've made it possible by giving us these awesome minds. And we just want to say thank You for making it possible for us to think in such a fashion that You can govern and guide us in such a way that absolutely amazes us. I pray for people today who feel so down and so unworthy, so dejected, and Father who feel like maybe the world's against them, help them to begin to look to You and to recognize You are the source of life at its best. And You have made it available to all who place their trust in Jesus Christ, asking for the forgiveness of their sin, surrendering their life to You. And You will enable them to begin thinking in such a fashion that they'll become the persons You want them to be and that they long to be in Jesus' name. Amen. Thank you for listening to Controlling Your Thoughts. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by intouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-30 05:23:48 / 2023-09-30 05:32:01 / 8

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