Thoughts may feel like they control you, until you take control of them.  Yes, you can tell your mind where it is allowed to think.  Frequently in the New Testament, the reader is encouraged to notice one’s thoughts and invited to challenge and change them.  This requires discipline on the part of the seeker.  To support this work, the following daily exercise is offered as an invitation to bring your mind into the truth that sets one free.[1]  This exercise is based on Philippians 4:8 (NRSV); consider memorizing this. Here it is:

Finally, beloved,whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things.

Quiet your heart and mind, as you invite the Holy Spirit to reveal what might be difficult to see or hear as you slowly review each question.

  1. As you scan your day, consider what thoughts were true?  What thoughts were not true?[2] 
  2. What thoughts were honorable, good, fair, even kind to me?  To God?  To loved ones?  To co-workers? 
  3. How or where was my thinking just, fair, proper? 
  4. What thoughts can I name as pure and genuine thoughts? 
  5. How was my thinking pleasing to me?  And pleasing to God?
  6. As you consider where your mind and thoughts were allowed to linger, were they valuable thoughts, worthwhile, suitable thoughts?  If not, where does your thinking need to change?
  7. The final words of the verse encourage us to let our minds rest in thoughts that are worthy of praise, worthy of a compliment, worth being admired.  How are you encouraging your mind to rest in this peaceful space?

[1] John 8:32.

[2] The measure of truthfulness is based on evidence.  Could I convince a judge that this thought is true?  What evidence do I have for this thought being one of truth?  Cognitive distortions are not truth.  They are made up in your mind.