One thing about getting older is that you have more history to think about and more time to re-think it. A coworker once explained to me that he felt he lived his life in his head thinking about things. If your mind is not engaged in a particular activity, it will be filled with something. Trying to clear your mind is like trying not to think about a pink elephant, you are flooded with those same thoughts. We can influence our thinking patterns, but can we actually control our thoughts? If we can, we could likely control much more of our feelings, plans, opinions, and actions. However, controlling a thought or some thoughts is not controlling them all. What about thoughts that come from our past – memories. Are these subject to our control? We all have thoughts buried deep within because they are too painful to behold. There is most likely a vast pool of dark thoughts that could pull each one of us down into the darkness of hate, bitterness, wounding, hurt, pain, betrayal, lies, deceit, and all sorts of wickedness and evil, if something wasn’t preventing it. Of course, we have great memories as well and they bring joy, happiness, laughter, peace, love, goodwill, and hope to us.
What does the word of God say? “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” (Prov. 23:7). A person’s real beliefs are the thoughts in his heart.
We can be overwhelmed with bad thoughts, oppression of the enemy, and unrest, but God is the health of our countenance.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’ My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Ps. 42: 5-11).
We can ask God in prayer to keep our thoughts on Him. “Lord, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep these desires and thoughts in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you.” (1 Chron. 29:18).
A battle goes on in our minds with the enemy. “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.” (Ps. 13: 1-5).
The enemy tempted the Lord Yeshua in the desert. He tempts us and plants or stirs up evil suggestions in our minds.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ ” (Isa. 55: 6-9).
When we are overwhelmed by negative, regrets, oppressive incriminating thoughts that seek to bring us into confined captivity we have a key that will unlock all doors. Jesus said, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36).
This may take a little time and diligence, see Part 2 for more.