Our thoughts are like a rudder of a ship directing our ways. If you’ve struggled with fearful or unhealthy thought patterns, you understand this. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” God formed our minds as powerful forces capable of affecting our behaviors and governing our actions. And yet, in a world tainted by sin, we can find ourselves trapped by the effectiveness of our minds. What God intended for good and creative purposes is hijacked by the enemy’s agenda. Yet God equips us through His Word and Spirit to take every thought captive and nurture a healthy mindset rooted in His goodness and truth.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Love holds more power than fear. We know this because God is the author of love and the overcomer of every fear, and His “perfect love casts out fear,” as 1 John 4:18 assures us. The imagery in this Scripture is powerful. The Hebrew root word for “casts” means “to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls.” There is totality in this promise as God completely removes our fearful notions. Our tendency is to reach back for our anxieties. We become familiar with and even attached to them. Yet these feelings and habits formed by fear distort God’s intent for our thought life. Instead, He scatters our fears and helps us to replace them with a healthy mindset shaped by His perfect love.
Our mindsets become unhealthy when our thoughts run by default. We return regularly to patterns of fear or discouragement. Yet Scripture promises that God gives us sound minds. Science also points to God’s incredible engineering in creating our brains and how they function. We can harness the power God has given us in these designs to take captive every thought and create new pathways for true, noble, and pure thoughts. The next time an unhealthy notion enters your mind, practice turning your thoughts to God’s love and faithfulness. Take a walk in nature and consider all the beautiful things He has made. Recite truth to yourself by reading God’s Word aloud. And listen to Scripture set to music to focus on everything praiseworthy.
“It is good to give thanks to the LORD, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night …” Psalm 92:1-2
On any given day, countless distractions and discouragements try to derail our thoughts. Too often, we wake up with our minds already a mile ahead of our bodies. Our thoughts race ahead of us, consumed by burdens. Or anxieties lace the coming hours in dread rather than joy. In Scripture, we discover an emphasis on filling our minds with God’s Word day and night. When we start and end with Scripture, we safeguard everything in between. Psalm 1:2 and Joshua 1:8 instruct us to meditate on Scripture day and night. Each of these verses uses the same Hebrew word for “meditate,” which means to study and speak aloud. When we follow King David’s example of declaring God’s steadfast love in the morning and His faithfulness at night, we develop a healthy mindset cued by sunrise and sunset and in cadence with creation.
As we embrace God’s perfect love, think about everything lovely and true, and bookend our days with Scripture, we can experience a healthy mindset as God always intended us to have. We can know the joy of His salvation and the power of a sound mind rooted in truth.