“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 8:5-6 (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.
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you new ideas to think about that will replace the old, bad thoughts. You’ll find that he’ll answer your request. And 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.
So invite the Holy Spirit to have free access to your mind to help replace those uncontrollable thoughts. Ask something like 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.”
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This devotional is copyrighted 2011 by Rick Warren. Used by permission.