Guard Your Thoughts
by Craig Booker
It is amazing how just a slight shift in our thinking can alter our entire perspective. As I began praying for God to Guard Our Thoughts several months ago in the midst of 2020, I privately held this belief that this process was primarily a passive, defensive position much like someone would watch and protect their home or loved ones. It might require me to be on the lookout for potential intruders, or to secure our home, but this was the extent of my actions.
This passive type of thinking has long annoyed me as it seems to be more something which haunts you then something you could offensively do in pursuit of protecting our minds. When it comes to fear and anxiety there are certain emotions which come to haunt you. There are certain things you guard against which you pray never happens to yourself or the ones you love. You strive to protect yourself from feelings of loss, scarcity, and regret. These are future events which you are trying to ensure never happen to you or your family.
There is one emotion which seems to buck
s the trend of taking active action now to prevent future events. Instead this emotion seeks to rob us of your current joy. This emotion is dread. Dread is an emotion which occurs in the here and now. It robs you and me of any current or future joy by dominating our thoughts with feelings of fear and anxiety for events which are coming. Dread is worrying for worrying’s sake.
So when I think of guarding our thoughts, the process reminded me a lot of dread. I was doing very little offensive work in anticipation of something potentially bad to happen. I was on the lookout for an intruder of some kind to invade my thoughts, but actively doing nothing else to prepare for such an event. Since early March, I have continued to pray this prayer, reading Philippians 4:8, wondering just how this verse might change things for me. Then God showed me that guarding our thoughts is anything but passive.
Guarding our thoughts seemed like such a wimpy move, but God never intended it to be this way. Guarding our thoughts is a full court press, all hands on deck, on the offensive event. I was only seeing the one percent of what is involved. Watching for potential intruders is a very important, but small part of what God calls us to. The other ninety-nine percent involves us actively thinking on or filling our minds with “...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable...”
I absolutely hate trending self-help mantras. Here is why. Typically, these involve filling humans with the silly idea that we can fix ourselves and they take God out of the equation. Gratitude seems to be one of the current trending self-help maxims you see on Instagram. The truth is that guarding our thoughts involves us not just identifying gratitude as a core value, but something which we whole-heartily put into practice in the presences of God.
Gratitude is not something we practice without including God. In fact, God should be at the center of our gratitude. It is still early, so I will have to wait and see what this will look like practically in my life, but I am encouraged to find out that I can take active steps towards what God has called me to. I am encouraged that this is not just some wimpy step I take in pursuit of Jesus, instead this is for real and is an act of war.
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17 NIV
“Finally, brothers and sisters, ...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV
“Finally, believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart].” Philippians 4:8 AMP https://www.bible.com/1588/php.4.8.amp