Your soul is your mind. It’s who you are. It’s your soul that decides your course of action. So, if your flesh can gain victory over it, you’ll carry out the desires of that nature.
Scripture clearly teaches that this is where the first battle is fought.
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Before we ever commit a sin, we begin thinking about it. That’s where we start losing ground. It all rests upon our thought-life.
I know from experience that it’s nearly impossible to simply stop thinking about something. Actually, the more you try to “not think about it”, the more you do.
Instead, I’ve found it more effective to start thinking about something different. The Apostle Paul agrees.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Where you set your mind determines the direction that you head toward. The word, set, in this verse means to be mentally disposed toward or to interest yourself in.
The direction of your life is determined by the direction of your thoughts. While you probably won’t be able to stop thinking about something, you can replace it with other thoughts. You can start thinking in a new direction.
There are so many things to think about. We need to start disciplining our thought-life. Stop obsessing over tonight’s basketball game. Instead, think about what God’s done for you, a Scripture you’ve memorized, or what you expect the Lord to bring about in your life.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
The Bible is very positive. It usually doesn’t tell you to stop doing something without giving you something to replace it with. In this case, it’s applied to our thoughts.
There are enough good things to think about without opening our minds to the desires of our sin nature. However, this requires discipline. And disciplining ourselves is not usually something we enjoy doing.
The battle against the flesh starts in our minds. This is the first area of conflict because it’s where the flesh strikes first. If my old man can get my mind on his side, then that sets the course of my life.
We need to take control of our thought-life. It may be difficult at first, but it is doable.
From there we can go on to the offensive strikes against the flesh. I’ll be posting about them as we continue this series.
Question: What do you see as a difficulty in controlling your thought life?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi