Let’s be clear—we are currently in the situation that we’ve been in our entire life because of our own way of thinking. The only way to break this cycle of missed potential and faded dreams is to submit our will to God’s way of thinking. Our thought patterns must be brought under the control of the Divine value system. For example, the world says that if we want to be great, then get to the top...go for it...be number one. God says that if we want to be truly great, then "serve one another." Are you conformed to the world's system of values or transformed by God's set of values? Do you serve others or manipulate others? What is your real motive for wanting a leadership position? We can see how easy it is for “Children of God” to operate on the basis of worldly standards rather than Biblical standards. You may not have a problem with drinking or drugs, but you are still worldly if you are trying to be great by some means other than serving God and one another. This is just one example which points out how polar opposite the world's value system is from God's value system.
God also demands that we master our preoccupations. Immoral and selfish thoughts must be brought under control just like Klingons and Romulans who seek to disrupt the Federation. Truth be known, it’s almost impossible for us to keep detrimental and negative thoughts from running through our minds like a ‘70s streaker. However, we can prevent ourselves from being preoccupied with such thoughts. As Martin Luther (Not “Martin Luther “The King”…in my best Coming to America barber shop scene voice) said many years ago, "We cannot keep the birds of the air from flying over our head, but we can keep them from building nests in our hair!" This is one of the benefits that I learned from meditation. We simply acknowledge the random thoughts that may enter our minds but not dwell on them.
We can stop fantasizing about the things we really know we shouldn’t even be thinking about immediately upon recognizing that we are doing such. Or stop watching certain movies, television shows or listening to certain radio programs that put us in a frame of mind that we are trying to avoid. In today’s society, we can certainly control the Internet sites and groups we frequent. In short, we can prevent our minds from becoming preoccupied with thoughts that are not honoring God or ending suffering for ourselves and others. We can control a lot of what goes into our minds and we can certainly control the preoccupations of our minds. Let’s no longer allow harmful thoughts to take control of our thought life. I’m sure if you are in a relationship, you are beginning to think, “Wow, what harm can my private thoughts do? I’m not going to act on them.” You already know the answer to that question better than anyone else. If not, simply ask your mate if those thoughts are OK with them.
A humble mind is also an important part of controlling our mind. We should resist thinking of ourselves as better than whomever we are dealing with. We may indeed be smarter, wealthier, better looking or even more athletic; however, we should always consider the "other guy" to be more important than ourselves. Although God created all men equal, God still tells us that the key to controlling our thoughts, in the area of pride, is to always think of the other person as more important than we are. You can be sure that if you were to follow this line of thinking, the problem of pride would be checked. A proud “godly person” may look like he has it all together, but unchecked pride always ripples out to other people in hurt waves and is a sure sign of a mind out of control before God. Let’s endeavor to have a servant’s heart.
We must also conquer prejudice towards others when controlling our thoughts. Peace of mind and heart through prayer (not through manipulative persuasion of others) is undoubtedly the way to go. Let us not fix our thoughts on the differences or “faults” of those who believe in God. Jesus instructed his disciples to be “fishers of men,” and I believe He intended for someone else to clean the fish. That someone is the Holy Spirit that man received during Pentecost. Unfortunately, many Christians fail to stay in their appointed lanes and attempt to do the Father’s and Holy Spirit’s assignments. We just need to play our spiritual positions.
When someone rubs us the wrong way, let’s focus on whatever may be admirable or noble about that person. Despite our initial thoughts, there’s got to be something good about this person. Besides, his momma loves him! Let’s think about whatever is pure and lovable in that O’Jays kind of backstabbing lady who likes to smile in your face and all the time try to take your place. She must have at least one good quality. We all have our faults, issues and weaknesses as well as strengths. But if we make a definite effort to think about the strengths of the person and not focus on the negatives, we will find that we are able to conquer our prejudices about all of God’s creation—especially those who don’t even know Him.
Finally, consider how much time we waste thinking about things that are not going to matter 100 years from now–or even one year from now. Not even tomorrow… Let’s train our minds to think more about eternal realities, like “the line,” instead of temporal things, like “the dot.” Maybe we should start by cultivating the priority of spending some time alone with God every day, reading His Word and speaking to Him in prayer. A regular quiet time with God is not the easiest habit to maintain, but such disciplined control of our minds is of primary importance because it leads to practicing all the other principles of mind control.
So how do you spend more alone time with God and train your mind? Prayer and meditation.
About the Author: James Hackley earned a B.S. degree in Physics from Longwood College and an M.S. degree in Engineering from the University of Virginia. He faithfully attends Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International in Lansdowne, Va., and his latest book, Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening can be purchased by visiting him at www.jameshackley.com , www.Amazon.com, and http://www.barnesandnoble.com.