“I think, therefore I am.” Cogito Ergo Sum. (I put the Latin in there for my son who is taking Latin this year in school. Inspiration and education. Multi-tasking mom here.) In 1637, Descartes was proving a point with the phrase. The very fact that we question our existence proves that we do, in fact, exist. Feel better? Now that we are sure we really do exist, let’s ponder our ability to ponder.
Every day, all day long, thoughts come into our heads. It has been said that men have the ability to actually be thinking about nothing at all, but that’s not really true. (And it’s not a very nice thing to say, either)
Both men and women have thoughts coming into their brains non-stop, all day, every day. Where do these thoughts come from? And why?
It’s important to know where your thoughts come from. It’s also important to stand guard at the door of your mind. Most of us let all manner of trash inside, and once we do, it is oh so hard to get it out again. The Bible cautions us on what kinds of thoughts we are supposed to let go bouncing around in there.
Take a look at Philippians 4:8.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.”
Paul wanted the people of God to think on higher things. He wanted us to post a guard at the door and to not allow ourselves to be entertained by lesser things. He knew for us to win the battle of mind control, we had to take charge. We need to be in control.
The enemy of our souls tends to hit us the hardest in the area of our thoughts. Mind control or influence is his specialty. He is the master truth twister. He is the prince of lies. And he is so believable. But don’t take my word for it, just ask Eve. I’ll bet her greatest regret for all of time has been that she did not stand guard at the door of her mind.
Just because a thought is bouncing around in our head, doesn’t necessarily mean it is true. If I have an argument with my husband I can very easily convince myself that he just doesn’t really care about me at all. If I am not careful, my mind can shift into overdrive and in a very short matter of time, in my mind, my husband can become my enemy. The real enemy just loves that.
Descartes had a point, but he never said the thoughts we think are true.
I used to think I wouldn’t have fallen for Satan’s lies like Eve did there in the garden. But in Eve’s defense, she didn’t have any experience with lies or sin. I am far more qualified than Eve to note the lies of the enemy, and yet I still believe them sometimes.
We have so much information coming at us. We are living in the information age. Sometimes it’s just overload. With all that information influx we can let it overwhelm us. So what can we do? It would be great if there was an off switch, but there’s not. Instead, we arm ourselves with the peace of God. Let’s back up a bit in Philippians and look at 4:6-7.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As those thoughts enter our minds, we must call on the peace of God to guard us and show us truth from lies. One by one, the Bible tells us to take each thought captive. Check it out.
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
As thoughts come to mind, we test them against what we know to be true by the knowledge of God. As thoughts come a knockin’, we take them captive. We don’t let them run amuck inside our heads. The ones that measure up to God’s truth, we keep, the ones that don’t- the lies we tell ourselves or the ones that the enemy sends- we take captive and force the truth out of them. We make them obedient to Christ. Jesus himself said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” He is truth. He is our truth standard.
I am, therefore I think. It’s just the way I am wired. You, too. But we must stay in the driver’s seat when it comes to our thoughts. Our kids may run amuck sometimes, but our thoughts never should.