by Rick Warren — April 1, 2023
From Resetting My Life
“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.”
Romans 8:5 (NLT)
Freeing your mind from destructive thoughts will never be easy because there are three forces that battle in your mind against good intentions—and none of them give up ground easily. You have to fight to free your mind!
What are the enemies—those forces that battle in your mind?
The first is your old nature. Romans 7:23 says, “There is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me” (NLT). Your old nature, who you were before you became a Christian, can still influence you. It is persistent in making you think that wrong thoughts are not so bad.
The second thing working against you is Satan. Satan can’t force you to do anything, but he can use the power of suggestion. He’s continually planting negative thoughts in your mind. But you can fight against those. Paul says he chooses to forgive “so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11 NLT).
The third enemy of your mind is the world’s value system, which is constantly promoted by advertising, movies, the Internet, music, and celebrity culture. The Bible says, “For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:16 NIV). Everything in the world is trying to get you to go the wrong way. Nothing encourages you to be disciplined; nothing encourages you to be unselfish.
The Bible tells us how to fight this mental battle: “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV).
“Take captive” means to bring your thoughts under control. Don’t just let your thoughts go anywhere they want to go. Instead, bring them into submission to the truth of God’s Word.
If it sounds like you have power over your thoughts, it’s because you do! When your thoughts start to go in the wrong direction, change direction. Choose to think about the things that you know are good and right and true. The Holy Spirit will help you!