Trials From Without - Lesson 5 - Healthy Thinking
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance
15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Thinking is one of the most important facets of the Christian life. You’ve heard of “Stinking Thinking” and of “Positive Thinking” and those terms have a lot of truth connected to them. There are two life principles that start with thinking.
What you think is what you are — Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, “Eat and drink!” But his heart is not with you.
What you say is what you get — Mark 11:23 “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” Matthew 12::34 “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.”
You are responsible for your mind and its thoughts. This is one area of life that God leaves up to you. So He speaks through Peter with vital instruction on healthy thinking. The first thing is to prepare your mind for doing something. This is proactive not reactive. Determine the way you should walk and engage your mind to follow the route. Have some mental boundaries, and don’t let your mind wander into places that will bring you down. Fill it with God’s Word and meditate on it day and night.
Some supportive actions begin with keeping sober in spirit. Sober isn’t somber, but it means to be in control. It speaks of discipline and watchfulness. You can have your mind all tuned up and ready, but if you are allowing scattered emotions and feelings to hang around, they can overpower your mind and prevent the action you have planned.
This next phrase is so important. Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revealing of Jesus Christ. Hope is the key to accomplishment in life. There are countless things to hope for or in. Peter said all of your hope needs to dwell on one event, on one day — the day Jesus is at last revealed to the universe. That day and that event need to capture your heart and mind. Think about your hope. Is it in a career, a certain amount of money, a vacation, a . . . ? If you hope in transient things you will never be satisfied and your thinking may never achieve good health. But if you have a take it or leave it attitude to things and long for Jesus’ amazing day you will free your mind to do right.
Purity is the next supporting quality of healthy thinking. Be obedient to God and stay away from former lusts that controlled you before you came to Jesus. Don’t leave doors open for them to come around and tempt you and take you down. You may fall once in a while but as a pattern boot those things out of your life, quit thinking about them and keep your hope where it needs to be. Notice that these lusts go with ignorance so don’t be ignorant. Dig into the Word and let Jesus form Himself into you through it. Let Him strengthen the new man and starve out the old man.
Replace lustful thinking, talking, and living with holiness. “Wholeness” is the word. Sin divides you all up, godliness makes you whole. How much better to be whole that to have secret rooms in your heart where lust can lurk and guilt and shame can distract. Be holy in all that you do even as God your Father is holy. Do I hear a protest? Are you saying, “I can’t ever do that. He must not really mean it.” Instead of summarily dismissing the concept, why not believe God to do this amazing thing in you and your life.
Let His light into every last corner of your existence and then walk in it. This is a final support to a ready mind that will produce healthy thinking.