Our mind is a battlefield where silent battles are fought daily. In our mind we can hide our thoughts and walk about our life without others knowing any of our thoughts. The enemy, Satan, can whisper lies to us that will swim around in the fish bowl of our mind until we begin to believe them. Once our thoughts have been established, then we begin to change… that is why we must be vigilant about conquering bad thoughts.
Wrong thoughts generally begin with “little” thoughts of:
- Unfaithfulness to God, spouse, or children
- Quitting church
- Walking away from God
- Prideful and self-exalting thoughts
- Any other type of sinful thought that goes against scripture
Why are bad thoughts bad?
Because wrong thoughts turn into wrong actions.
Evil thoughts are listed with murder, adultery, and theft in Matthew 15:18-20. Someone does not kill, steal, or commit adultery without first thinking about it. That is why we must learn to conquer bad thoughts!
How to Conquer Bad Thoughts
1. Slay wrong and sinful thoughts immediately by casting them down.
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. II Corinthians 10:5
If Satan can infiltrate your thoughts subtly then his goal is to get you to compromise Biblical standards and ruin God’s testimony through your life. His tactics are to render you useless for God’s purposes. When you realize that you have a sinful thought it must be brought into the obedience of Christ immediately.
Example: If the thought of being unfaithful to your spouse comes into your mind, you can quickly bring it into captivity by saying to yourself or out loud, “I am not going to commit adultery even in my mind. Marriage is honorable in all things.” Quoting scripture is the best way to bring your thoughts into the obedience of Christ. If the thought is about abusing prescription drugs to run away from life’s problems, then bring it into captivity by reminding yourself that your body is the temple of the Lord, not for abusing drugs. You may have to cast down wicked imaginations repeatedly throughout your day.
2. Pray. Go to God with your thoughts and ask Him to take them from you.
Ephesians 6:18a Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit…
Disobedient and wrong thoughts are not wicked in and of themselves, it is when we begin to entertain the thoughts, agree with them, and validate them as truth so that we can justify wrong and sinful behavior. God understands that we will be tempted to do wrong things, but He also understands the source has originated because of spiritual warfare. God gives us the choice to choose to go to Him to fight our battles or He will allow us to fight them in our flesh.
In time our flesh will fail us, that is why it is so beneficial to go right to THE source for our help in prayer.
Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rules of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
The battle in your mind is against principalities and evil. Humble prayer to God brings you into submission to Him for the answers and help for bad thoughts. God wants us to pray always and be dependent upon Him for our help, because where we are weak, He is strong.
3. Think Godly Thoughts.
To remove bad or wicked thoughts from your mind you must replace them with godly thoughts.
This is a simple principle that is used in Biblical counseling, sins must be replaced with something biblical and godly.
God has an entire list of wonderful things He wants us to think about to replace bad thoughts in Philippians 4:8.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue or praise, think on these things.
You may need to take a few minutes and write a list of things in your life that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of a good report. Thinking of the blessings of God has given to us will drive away wrong thoughts so we can show forth praise to Him and allow us to live in victory.
4. Put on the Whole Armor of God.
We must be guarded spiritually by the armor that we put on every day. Ephesians 6:13-17 is an entire study by itself, explaining the spiritual armor of a Christian.
God wants us to have:
- Loins girt with Truth
- The Breastplate of Righteousness
- Feet shod with the Preparation of the Gospel of Peace
- Shield of Faith
- Helmet of Salvation
- Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God)
When you’re in the battle of your mind you can dress yourself in the armor of God or simply go to Ephesians 6 and read it asking yourself, “Do I have loins girt with truth?” “Am I putting on God’s righteousness instead of my own?” “Am I ready to give the gospel of peace to any person that may ask?” “Am I full of faith, wearing the helmet of salvation, and ready to conquer bad thoughts with the Sword of the Spirit?”
Give yourself a self-evaluation. The Holy Spirit will point out what you need to work on and enable you to stand strong against any type of thought that would hinder your relationship with God.
Pay attention and guard yourself as you notice what things in your life trigger thoughts that are not godly. Be ready for the battle of the mind to come against you on a daily basis, run to God for help in prayer, and deal with the bad thoughts accordingly. Do not allow them to conquer you, be ready to conquer them first!