The mind is the most private part of your inner life. No one can know for sure what you allow to enter into it, and no one can know what goes on in your mind unless you reveal it. The longer I work with people, the more convinced I become that everyone can and does control his mind. We make our own decisions, and no one can change them. Everyone has the power of choice.
It’s important to remember that we can’t always determine someone’s inner life based upon their words or behavior. The Bible puts it clearly:
For as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, ”Eat and drink!” but his head is not with you (Proverbs 23:7).
You are constantly exchanging ideas with partners, parents, relatives, friends, teachers, preachers and others. We are all familiar with the flood of ideas coming at us from the radio, TV, newspapers, books, magazines, pamphlets, movies, billboards, and advertisements.
What will you do with this mass of information that bids for your attention? Remember, it’s your attention. It’s your mind. There is no avoiding your responsibility.
You need a standard to go by. The Bible says:
”My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8).
Since our thoughts are not His thoughts, nor our ways His ways, we need to make a conscious, deliberate effort to know Him. We must fill our head with God’s commandments in order to think straight–to develop a basis for keeping acceptable ideas and filtering out the unacceptable ones.
King David, a man after God’s own heart, said of God’s laws:
The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes than much fine gold (Psalm 19:7-10).
If you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding: lf you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:3-5).
This is no simple path to follow. The management of your mind is a daily task. It involves continuous study, and no one can do it for you. Every day of your life, you are called upon to make decisions, and you must respond to decisions other people make that affect you. Some decisions facing you are how to respond to tragedy, death, or some event beyond your control.
This whole area of decision-making is a common subject in the consulting room. Most of my clients who bring up this subject are anxious about a decision to be made or are disturbed and angry over the outcome of a decision or event that has already occurred, whether my client participated in it or was only affected by it.
Following are some Bible verses that have proven useful in managing the mental activity involved in decision making:
Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it. And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; fret not yourself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes (Psalm 37:4-7).
Commit your works to the LORD, and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3).
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
The emphasis in these verses is not on the outcome of the decisions, but on the attitude of the decision maker:
- Delight yourself in the Lord.
- Commit your way to the Lord.
- Trust in Him.
- Rest in the Lord.
- Wait patiently for Him.
- Fret not yourself.
- God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him.
There will be happy times, crisis times, even tragic times. Let me emphasize that these verses stress the attitude of the decision maker rather than evaluation of the immediate outcome of a decision or an event. It takes months or even years to see how all things work together.
The Bible verses in this chapter have been assembled with an emphasis on the management of your mind. You can choose what will linger there. You can have a depraved mind–or a wholesome mind. If you seek to please God with the use of your mind, you will be able to describe yourself as did the prophet Jeremiah:
Thus says the LORD, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
Take to heart some classic advice from the apostle Paul on the management of your mind:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things (Philippians 4:6-8).
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This is an excerpt of chapter 8 from Dr. Brandt’s book, I Want Happiness Now!