Workout your thought life!

Workout2If I could stay in bed, sleep in and still stay fit, I would do it. While I enjoy the camaraderie of my workout classes, if I could avoid the intense exertion five out of seven mornings a week, I would totally do it! But because I enjoy being fit and keeping my weight and mental clarity at a certain level, I make myself rise at an early hour so that I can have time with the Lord and also have time to exercise every day. I say, “No”, to hitting the snooze button 14 times for the greater “Yes” of feeling good after a hard workout and for the rest of the day.

The other morning, when I was doing my devotions, the thought came to me that we can put our thoughts into the same workout regimen that we put our bodies in.  The same way I control what I put into my body and how I exercise it to stay in shape, I can control what I put into my mind and exercise those thoughts to get the flab out of my thought life. Just as my body without exercise would revert to a state of untoned muscles, my mind without exertion becomes slack and untrained. My thoughts will automatically go towards negativity, fear, and low self-esteem. That’s what my mind looks like when left to itself.

But God has given me a great “gym” for my thought life. It’s called the Word of God. For every flabby negative thought that wants to keep me in a cycle of failure, I can purposefully replace it with God’s thoughts about me and my circumstances. But those thoughts aren’t natural, just like working out doesn’t feel natural. I have to MAKE myself dig into the Word and find God’s thoughts on a matter and then I have to WRITE them down so I don’t forget them, and then I have to REHEARSE those words over and over until they get into my brain. Eventually, my thoughts will get into godly shape.

But here’s what I see so often…many of us hear the Word on Sunday and think that a one-time hearing is going to make a change. But let me ask you this: if I went to the gym once a week, do you think I would notice any measurable change in my cardiovascular health or in the shape of my physical body? And if I ate junk food all week and then expected that one visit to the gym to work magic, do you think I would see the results I hope for?

The same is true with applying the Word of God to our thinking. We must approach exercising our thought life with the Word as a lifelong habit rather than a once-a-week visit.  We must realize that the natural state of the human mind isn’t like God’s. In fact it’s in opposition to God.

Romans 8:6,7 – The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God: it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

Therefore, if we desire to possess the mind of Christ, we will have to work out our gray matter on a daily basis.

Now I can hear some of you saying, “That’s a great analogy, but how do I put that into practice?” Great question. I’m glad you asked.

Here’s what I do in studying God’s Word and learning the truth in His Word. I will read a book of the Bible and take my time to dissect it. When I come to a scripture that seems to catch my attention, I will write it down in my journal. Many times, I will write a prayer to the Lord about that Scripture. This helps the truth of that Scripture to really get into my thoughts as I make a personal application of that truth to my life.

I also use Bible study tools like concordances Word Studies to help me find Scripture that is focused on a topic I’m concerned about or needing to grow in. You can find great tools for study at various websites. Here are a few that I use a lot:

Bible Study Tools

Bible Hub

Bible Gateway

Then after I have written down the Scripture in my journal, I may attach it to a note in my phone for further review. I use Google Keep to keep track of notes, lists and other important items. I will often type a scripture I’m trying to memorize into Google Keep so that I can have it with me wherever I go. My journal is usually at home, but my phone is ALWAYS with me!

I also have a Bible app on my phone so that I can look up Scriptures any time, anywhere in multiple translations. I use YouVersion:

YouVersion Bible App

God has promised us that we can have the mind of Christ. Look at what Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 2:

1 Cor. 2:14-16:  But the unspiritual man simply cannot accept the matters which the Spirit deals with—they just don’t make sense to him, for, after all, you must be spiritual to see spiritual things. The spiritual man, on the other hand, has an insight into the meaning of everything, though his insight may baffle the man of the world. This is because the former is sharing in God’s wisdom, and ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ Incredible as it may sound, we who are spiritual have the very thoughts of Christ! (underline mine)

This is an amazing promise. So why don’t we see many Christians walking in the power and wisdom that Jesus walked in if we have the same mind he did? It’s for the same reason that people in the natural are in all different types of fitness in their bodies. We’ve all been given the same muscles but we’re not all using them the same way!

We must take this same approach to working out our minds with God’s Word. We cannot live on a diet of junk food for the soul and expect godly thoughts filled with faith and power to emerge. We cannot expose ourselves to a steady stream of carnal input, be it websites, TV, gossip, negativity in other people, etc. and expect to maintain spiritual fitness. We can’t live in a negative, cruel world without getting pulled down unless we COUNTERACT the pull of the world on our thoughts and MAKE them come into obedience and godly fitness through applying the Word of God. We must RESIST what comes naturally (lazy thinking) and EXERT effort by studying, learning and applying the Word of God to every area of our thought life – one part at a time.

The Word does the work and brings the change. But we must do the work of getting the Word into our minds, in front of our eyes, and into our habits. A strong healthy mind rooted in God’s Word is worth every effort. The strong mind is not tossed around by every struggle. The strong mind doesn’t waver every time resistance comes. The strong mind, rooted in faith, can trust God when all evidence points to the opposite. The strong mind lives in peace and hope no matter what is going on around us.

Now you:

  • Do you want to experience this soul fitness?
  • Do you desire to have strength and stability in your thought life?
  • Do you want to stop being a pawn of circumstances and rather stand as a strong man or woman of faith?
  • Do you want to be able to learn the Word and see it change you from the inside out?

You can experience all of these things if you are a Child of God, born again by believing that Jesus died for your sins and was resurrected to give you a new life. If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you can experience the mind of Christ. Your thoughts can now be molded and shaped by the power of the Word of God. Your blind spots can be removed. Your cycles of failure can come to an end. Your past can stop haunting you and you can enjoy the peace of knowing acceptance in God.

Let’s pray:

Dear Lord Jesus, I desire to have the mind of Christ, to think the thoughts of God and live in the peace that passes understanding. You promised that this was available to me, so in the areas that I’m not experiencing this, I know that I have been lazy. I have not applied the Truth of Your Word to my thoughts and my habits. Lord, I ask that you would send your precious Holy Spirit to speak to my heart, pouring out grace to desire more of Your Word. Help me to understand what I read, to be diligent to keep reading even when I don’t understand, to memorize the Word as you illuminate it in my heart and to throw out the thoughts that don’t agree with Your Word. Help me to consciously resist ungodly thoughts of fear, selfishness, pride, strife and every evil way.  If I am going to live in peace and stability, not being tossed around by every difficulty that comes my way, I’m going to need my thoughts to grounded upon the rock of Truth. I decide today to make your Word a priority in my everyday life. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

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