Dealing with Unwanted Thoughts

By Arthur J Licursi

Part 1 – The Two Sources of Our Thoughts

How are Christians to control unwanted thoughts, oftentimes they are self-talk, self-condemning, erroneous, fearful, accusatory, sinful, evil thoughts, which can be so persistent that they torment?

Noting and dealing with our ‘thoughts’ is a step in the God-ordained process called ‘sanctification’… one aimed at making us righteous in our thinking and living. God creates the desire in us for holiness in the face of this problem of an unruly mind to make us all the hungrier for understanding and to come to genuine righteous living... in peace and rest. This process is God’s work in us.

“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 (KJV)

Paul defined the mind problem and these two possible results.

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do MIND the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit [do mind] the things of the Spirit.

6 For to be carnally [fleshly] minded is death [spiritually]; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:4-6 (KJV)

Our unwanted thoughts are symptomatic of the fallen human condition, and yes, this includes Christians. Our “spirit of man” was regenerated the moment we first believed but our soul with its fallen mindset was yet untouched, needing renewal. So, such thoughts occur in believers and they will until our resurrection. Thus the Lord is committed to renew our minds with our cooperation to read and study the truth of His word. Paul admonishes us as believers to be renewed in mind.

“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward [body] man perish, yet the inward [soul] man is renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV)
“And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; Ephesians 4:23 (KJV)
“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Colossians 3:10 (KJV)

We need to determine where our thoughts are coming from; are they self-talk in our mind, or the firey darts of the enemy of our soul – the satanic sin-spirit in our flesh, or perhaps from the witness of the Lord in our spirit sensed as “peace.”?

We can be certain that many of our thoughts are not of the Lord.

  • There is no reason to accept fearful thoughts - “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim/ 1:7
  • There is no reason to accept condemning thoughts - There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, …” Romans 8:1 (KJV)
  • We can stand upon the truth that we as to our person are eternally sealed, saved securely in Christ

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were SEALED with that holy Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13 (KJV)

Being “sealed” (v13 above) securely in Christ, we should realize still that many our thoughts are of “the flesh” in which the Sin-nature dwells. Sin’s mindset is at “enmity [hostile] with God.” Jesus said the thief comes to steal, rob, and destroy. (Jn. 10:10). An out of control thought life does just that.

Such thoughts plant seeds of ‘anxiety’ in us, to which Paul said;

Be careful [anxious] for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV)

Notice above how the overly careful, cautious, anxiety is to be replaced with “the peace of God.” Notice also that there is no promise to take away any legitimate troubling situation or circumstance of life. But we can proceed to deal with the situation in the peace of God, with God’s mindset.

Let this mind [attitude of mind] be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5 (KJV)

We know from the Gospels that Jesus’ mindset was always to “do the will of the Father.” (Jn. 6:38) Of course, due to our situation, we sometimes do NOT want to do the will of our Father. Sometimes life and the decisions to be made are hard. But, if we in fear choose to resist the will of the Father, then we will encounter many thoughts that most likely not of the Lord, but of the Sin nature. Going down this road brings a parade of evil thinking and we will miss out on His rest and peace.

So we must act in faith, knowing the Lord’s will, by His peace. This is the way to proceed in dealing with our situations even when the ramifications could be very troubling. This applies to all such situations. E.g., Who of us has not taken the leap of faith in difficult matters such as leaving one job for another.

Any victory I’ve gained over unwanted thoughts has come through learning, gaining wisdom, understanding, knowledge, in the fear of the Lord, all of which comes to us by the Spirit” and “the Word of God” … teaching me the meaning a far-reaching all-inclusive blessing of the cross.  Note these attributes of “the Spirit of Christ” within us;

the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;” Isaiah 11:2.

We as believer’s no longer have an independent life. We have Christ in us, whose peace is our “guide.”

“And let the peace of God rule [guide you] in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3:15 (KJV)

I am crucified with Christ…  Christ liveth in me…” Gal. 2:20a. The source of our thoughts isn’t us, but of either “the mind of the [sin-laden] flesh” or His Spirit.

We are to be “casting down” every thought that is contrary to “the knowledge [that is] of God.”

Casting Down Imaginations [Thoughts of The Mind], and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and Bringing Into Captivity Every Thought To The Obedience Of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge [to Deal With] all disobedience, when your obedience [attentive hearkening] is fulfilled.” 2 Cor. 10:5-6 (KJV)