“Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what the nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.” (Romans 8:5 NIV)
There is a battle going on inside you between your old, sinful nature and your new nature that comes from Christ. If you want to win this battle, you’re going to have to change the way you think.
Why? The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you act depressed, it’s because you feel depressed. And if you feel depressed, it’s because you’re thinking depressing thoughts. If you want to get out of that depression or whatever issue you’re struggling with, you need to ask the Holy Spirit to give you better thoughts.
Satan gives you thoughts; they are temptation. And God gives you thoughts; they are inspiration. Which are you going to choose? Romans 8:6 says, “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace” (NIV).
I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t choose life and peace over death. But, the truth is, you have self-destructive thoughts all the time. So what do you do?
Here is how the Holy Spirit frees me from uncontrolled thoughts. It’s the principle of replacement: Whatever you want to change in your life, don’t resist it; replace it.
If you’re watching television and a show comes on that you know is bad for you to watch, change the channel to something better. If you want to quit smoking but you keep thinking about cigarettes, focus on something else. The Bible says you have to replace the old mindset with the new mindset.
When you start thinking about something positive instead of something negative, something good instead of something evil, the old will lose its appeal and won’t have its allure anymore.
Invite the Holy Spirit to have free access to your mind to help replace those uncontrollable thoughts.
Talk About It
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you new ideas to think about that will replace the old, bad thoughts. Pray this: “Dear Holy Spirit, I give you permission to give me thoughts any time you want. I’m wide open, and I will accept them. I have an open mind to you.”
The Holy Spirit will also use Scripture to direct your thoughts toward the holy God. If you’re not already, begin memorizing Scripture today with a friend so that you can remember God’s Word when you need it most.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.