God has given you a powerful blockade or “mind-screen” against satanic encroachment. But it’s up to you to use it.
There is one prerequisite, however. You must first program your mind with the Word of God. “How can a young man keep his way pure?” the psalmist asked. “By living according to your word” (Psalm 119:9).
Only God’s Word can purge your mind of old “input”. It has amazing cleansing power. Jesus said you are clean through the Word (John 15:3).
God describes this mind-screen in Philippians 4:8
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.”
Think of this verse as a filter for your thoughts. Before allowing yourself to dwell on a particular thought or feeling, ask yourself eight questions:
1. Is It True? One woman confessed to me that watching soap operas made her irritable toward her husband. While the actors had their problems, the bills were always paid, and the fictitious wife never had to cook, clean or care for the children. Seeing this made the woman mad. “Why can’t I live like this?” she fumed. But how realistic is a soap opera lifestyle? This woman allowed resentment to creep into her marriage because she never asked this simple question—is it true?
2. Is It Honorable? In other words, does your assumption or thought deserve respect? Is it valuable or frivolous?
3. Is It Right? Does your thought conform to the principles in God’s Word? Are you looking at life from God’s perspective? If not, your selfish ambitions, desires or hurts may be coloring your thoughts.
4. Is It Pure? Impure thoughts lead to impure acts. The result is a mind riddled with guilt and shame, coupled with feelings of worthlessness and despair. When you allow your mind to dwell on impure thoughts, you’re on a downward spiral.
5. Is It Lovely or Agreeable? Is this thought going to foster peace and harmony? If you mull over matters that increase your tension and strife, ask God to help you release those thoughts. Say, for example, that someone makes a nasty remark about you. How will you react? You could talk about this incident for days, telling everyone you know about that horrible person who attacked you so viciously. Or, you could shake your head and move on quickly in a forgiving, Christ-like spirit, refusing to allow anger to boil up inside you.
6. Is It of Good Repute? Do your thoughts speak well of someone else? Or do they massacre his or her character? If you’re prone to gossip, watch out for this one. The minute you feel yourself puffing up with self-righteousness, look out.
7. Is It Excellent? Does this thought rise above the mundane and hollow things of this world? Is it associated with God’s glory and power? If you want to have a stable, yet spiritually vigorous mind, stop dwelling on second-rate issues. Failure to get the things you want causes considerable mental distress. But when you live in harmony with God’s Word, you’ll get those things—provided the Lord wants you to have them. With this in mind, praise God for His plans—even when your life falls short of your hopes and dreams. Instead of dwelling on petty problems, fix your attention on eternal values and live to glorify God.
8. Is It Praiseworthy? Most emotional problems and debilitating sins take root because you dwell on things God would never condone. Ask, then, is this something God would want me to think about? Would this idea please Him or bring praise to Him? If not, put that thought out of your mind!
The choice is yours my fellow believer: Will you ignore God’s mind-screen, or filter every thought through it? Will you engage in Satan’s mind games, or enjoy spiritual growth and mental stability? Which path will you choose?
This article was originally published in Come Up Higher, Volume 3, Number 1