One of the greatest revelations of my life is: I can choose my thoughts and think things on purpose. In other words, I don't have to just think about whatever falls into my mind. This was a life-changing revelation for me because as Proverbs 23:7 (AMP) says, "As [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he." I like to say it like this: Where the mind goes, the man follows.
God has a wonderful life planned for every single person, and He is concerned about the hidden man of the heart, which is our inner life. Our inner life is what we think about. And like the scripture above says, the way we think determines how we live and who we are. That's why we need to think about what we're thinking about.
In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (AMPC), the Bible teaches that we have weapons of warfare that are "mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds" and that we are to "lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ." A stronghold in our mind is an area of thinking that the enemy — Satan — has somehow managed to dominate, causing us to believe lies. And although they are lies, they become our reality.
The only way we can know if the devil is lying to us is by studying the Word of God so we can tell the difference between the truth and the lies. It's so important for each of us to be a student of the Bible, because this is the key to getting victory over strongholds and having the life Jesus died to give us — a life of peace with God, peace with ourselves, great relationships, real joy and the ability to become all God has created us to be.
It all comes down to choosing to believe what God says (the truth) more than we believe our feelings, what other people say or our circumstances.
Now it's good to go to church and hear someone teach the Word; you can learn a lot about God and His will for your life this way. But you need to have your own personal experience with God to really understand how He thinks and to renew your mind in the truth.
Romans 12:2 (AMPC) says, "Do not be conformed to this world … but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind … so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
As your mind is being renewed, you'll be able to recognize thoughts that don't agree with God's Word. When they come, take them "captive into the obedience of Christ." In other words, throw aside any thought that doesn't line up with the Word and replace it with truth.
Ephesians 4:23 (AMPC) says, "Be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude]." Every day we need to take time to study the Word so we can purposely think according to what it says. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), know who we are in Christ, and be free of strongholds that will keep us from God's "good and acceptable and perfect will" for us.
One practical way you can accomplish this is to have a think session every day. Just sit down and say, "I'm going to think about some things on purpose." Then spend some time thinking about scriptures that renew your mind with the truth about what God says — about His love for you, His plan for you, how He wants you to live and behave. Use a concordance to find verses that cover areas you are struggling with or need to know more about. I want to encourage you to write some of them down and put them places where you will see them every day, like the bathroom mirror or refrigerator.
It's so wonderful to understand that you can have what God says you can have if you learn to think the way He thinks. It's also important to realize that this transformation is an ongoing process. It won't happen overnight, and you will need to be patient with yourself as you focus on making a little progress each day so you can keep your mind renewed and grow in your relationship with God.
If you will make a commitment to set your mind on God's Word, renewing your mind with truth, then you will experience the fullness of new life that you can have in Christ. All it takes is a little more progress one day at a time.