It’s incredible, if you think about it: How can something we can’t see control so much of who we are, determine what we feel and what we do and what we say or don’t, dictate how we move or sleep, and inform what we want, what we hate, and what we love?
Capturing all our thoughts may seem an impossible task, especially when we consider our potential number of thoughts per minute. Researchers tell us that we have over 30,000 thoughts a day. That means we might think about thirty-one thoughts per waking minute. But what if one thought held the power to interrupt our spirals and bring peace to our mental chaos?
The apostle Paul’s own life was a picture of interruption. After the scales fell from his eyes, his mind centered on an entirely new reality. There was no other hope, no other narrative, no other track playing in the background. He stopped the things that had distracted him and let himself focus on one simple thing: “To me to live is Christ,” Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21, “and to die is gain” (ESV). It’s all—always—about Christ.
Paul experienced a massive shift, and now he was a totally different man. No longer was he a slave to his circumstances or his emotions. Paul now chose to live aware of the power of Christ in him, through him, and for him. Paul now had the power of the Spirit—the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, and he chose to live aware of and under that power.
God built a way for us to escape the downward spiral of our toxic thoughts. But we rarely take it. We have bought the lie that we are victims of our thoughts rather than warriors equipped to fight on the front lines of the greatest battle of our generation: the battle for our minds.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.Phil. 1:21 NIV
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.1 Tim. 1:12-17 NIV
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.John 8:44 NIV
God, You equip me for this battle against the lies I believe about who I am and who You are. Help me never to feel a victim to my thoughts, because You are already victorious! Amen.