Conntecting the Dots

The Relationship Between Our Thought Life and Core Spiritual Strength

Saturday held a special treat for me. I was invited to speak at a women’s wellness conference at Campbell River Baptist Church. What fun to see nearly 100 familiar faces, girlfriends from years past. Lots of hugs! I’d been asked to address the topic of spiritual health, and so I shared some thoughts about the power of our mind.

The more life experience I gather, the more I’m convinced that the core of our overall well-being and especially our spiritual health lies in our mind and the thoughts we entertain. Author John Ortberg writes, “The way you think creates your attitudes; the way you think shapes your emotions; the way you think governs your behavior; the way you think deeply influences your immune system and vulnerability to illness. Everything about you flows out of the way you think.”

If everything about us flows from the way we think, then it’s no wonder God tells us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). He knows that when our minds are filled with thoughts that honor Him, our lives will honor Him, too. We save ourselves (and others) a ton of heartache when our attitudes and behavior please Him. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. When we harbor thoughts that are self-centered or downright sinful, our behavior will sooner or later reflect what’s in our minds.

My heart aches when I hear of Christian leaders wiping out spiritually because of moral failure. Having an affair doesn’t happen accidentally—it begins with an inappropriate thought, a lustful fantasy. It’s watered as the fantasies increase. It takes root when private, inappropriate actions follow the imagination. Unless those thoughts are stopped and replaced by the truth of God’s word, moral failure is almost certain. I’ve seen it happen ‘way too many times.

I know I’m not immune. And so, I refuse to watch soap operas or TV shows that promote inappropriate sexual behavior (yes, this seriously limits my choices). I refuse to read books that might cause me to fantasize about any man other than my husband. Years ago, I stopped listening to music that turned my thoughts aside from living a holy life. The effort’s been worth it.

Philippians 4:8 works like a tea strainer for our thought life: “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” If the thoughts we entertain don’t fit through this strainer, then it’s time to change them.

How’s your overall spiritual health? If you’re struggling in some area, take a good look at your thought life. Are you loving God with all your mind? Do your thoughts measure up to the standard set in Phillippians 4:8? If not, make whatever changes are necessary. And make it quick, before you do something you’ll later regret.

Love God with all your mind. Keep your spiritual core strong! Stay tuned–on Friday, I’ll share specific strategies for doing this.

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