Find and Replace

[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]A[/mk_dropcaps]uditing your thoughts is no small task.  What are thoughts worthy of keeping and continuing to think on?  God makes it very easy for us when he says: [mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things- Philippians 4:8. That is what our thoughts should be full of.  The true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good reports, virtue, and the praiseworthy.[/mk_blockquote]

I don’t know about you but after reading this, my human nature responds with “Okay, I can’t think anything bad then.”  It becomes like a diet of avoiding all bad foods.  Your thoughts go to all that you can not have versus what you need to make sure you eat well.  It is all about the lack in your choices instead of the abundance.

Pressing into this thought deeper I find that we can tell when we are thinking something we should not, but the key is to have a predetermined response for those thoughts. What do you replace your negative, jealous, envious, lustful, resenting thoughts with? The best nourishment for our mind and spirit is the word of God.  That is the “find-and-replace” feature that is a learned response.

We can’t just find the bad thoughts and say over and over “Don’t think that. Don’t think that. Don’t think that.”  Just like a diet, you’ll find you go on a thought binge and think all the bad things you can.  The worst case scenarios, the gossip, those lustful thoughts, the comparisons, and unforgiveness when thought upon enough will become actions.

What I have begun to help learn this find-and-replace process is slow down enough to seek God’s perspective to replace my stinking thinking.  That comes both in his “rema” word which is what that whisper in our hearts and the “logos” written word of God that can be found in scripture.  Our spirit feeds on the word of God in both forms. Even Jesus in being tempted by the devil confirms that “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matt 4:4).  We have to pay attention to what we are feeding our spirit, just like we do our bodies.  It is easy to get lazy and it seems easier, at times, to stick to our old ways.  We are the sum total of our choices.  For things to change, we must choose to press forward and enforce the strength and authority God has put inside each of us.  He is there with us to stumble through this learning curve, pursuing progress, not perfection.

The process does not end there.  Nor does it end on feeding on the word of God only once.  We eat daily for physical nourishment and energy.  Likewise, the process must be just as disciplined when it comes to our Word life.  The need never goes away, but unlike food we can more easily slip in our habits as the signals of a hungry spirit are not as obviously aggressive as that of the body.  But how much more important to have a strong spirit when the inevitable storm comes?  Accept the find-and-replace mechanism as a healthy diet for your spirit to grow strong.  Where is a good place to begin?  Take one of the gospels, proverbs or psalms and take one verse a day.  Repeat it to yourself.  Share it.  Study it. Think about it.  You may not see the fruit of it today, but your future and the future of those in your world, relies on it.  Now is the time to strengthen your faith so its strong enough to stand and speak life into any situation claiming death.

Until then… Find. Replace.