I have identified eight kinds of wrong thinking that I find myself doing periodically. I am working hard to listen to my own self-talk, my thinking that I do all day long that is prompted by an event or something that I see or hear. When I realize that I am mulling over in my mind a wrong thought way beyond momentary casual thinking, I immediately start thinking about a Bible verse or verses that I have memorized that counters the unhealthy meditation that I have been doing.
1. Immoral thinking is a constant struggle for most guys. Jesus addresses the seriousness of this kind of thinking in Matthew 5:28,
“but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Besides Bible verses, another place I set my thinking when an immoral thought pops into my head is on my personal “I love you vows” to Patty. I have written seven vows to her and every time I say “I love you” I reaffirm these vows to her in my mind. The first one is, “You are the only woman in my life, mentally, emotionally, and physically.” I can easily let myself go and think some pretty sinful thoughts if I don’t exercise control over what I let stay in my head. I can easily do that because no one knows what is happening in my mind, even while they are talking to me. But I remind myself that God knows what I am thinking, and He is the one who increases or shrinks the size and effectiveness of my ministry as a reward for moral purity.
I have discovered that what I dwell on mentally has a powerful effect on my mood and emotions. When I let my thoughts go unchecked like a rebellious child Psalms 32:4 describes my feelings, “For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” But when I “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” I feel strong, pleasing to the Lord, and useful to Him.
The other seven areas of unhealthy thinking are (1) prideful/arrogant thinking, (2) negative/critical/judgmental thinking, (3) self-pity/victim mentality/selfish thinking, (4) covetous/discontent/ greedy thinking, (5) worry/anxious/fretting thinking, (6) bitter/resentful thinking, and (7) angry/vindictive thinking.
More about those tomorrow.