“A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE.” I bet you remember this iconic slogan created by an advertising agency more than four decades ago to promote the United Negro College Fund scholarship program. I bring this up to make two points: our minds are like sponges and should not be taken for granted.
The mind is a gift. What we think about—and don’t think about—is serious business to God. Especially considering the mind can potentially store 100 million thoughts. This is why we must be choosy about what we do with our minds.
I’m sure you’ve heard it stated that we are a culture of overstimulated minds. I agree with this, but I also think we are a culture of extremes when it comes to our minds. We are most likely either overstimulated or on autopilot. You know what I’m talking about. Have you ever been driving and suddenly realize you’re almost home and you don’t even remember getting there? It’s kind of scary, actually. There could have been an accident.
Our minds are so stimulated these days that we are desperate for respite.
Unfortunately, we don’t give our minds the kind of respite it truly craves. Instead, we allow it to become idle.
Idle : not working, active, or being used. not having any real purpose or value. not having much activity. lacking worth or basis.
Idleness means you have no particular goal in mind and thus you can be easily distracted. I think overstimulation has left us more susceptible to distraction. Sin is an easy distraction that begins in the mind. You don’t have to be doing anything or acting out in any way to sin. It comes so naturally that we don’t even realize it’s happening most times.
We tend to let our minds wander, thinking about whatever it wants. Our minds are a haven for sin— tucked back in the innermost parts where no one can see. It’s the perfect spot for those dirty pictures, movies, and past sexual experiences. Or how about those angry, jealous, prejudice, covetous and downright hateful thoughts? All of this can be going on while we engage in conversation, do our jobs, drive our cars, and tuck our children in bed at night.
If the mind is a battlefield, an idle mind is the devil’s playground. It’s easy to allow ourselves to believe we aren’t in control of what we think since thoughts tend to fly in and out all day long—even while we sleep. But the truth is, we can have more control over our thoughts than we give credit to.
How To Control Your Thoughts
In Romans 12:2, the apostle Paul challenges us to renew our minds. In Philippians 4:8, Paul also tells us the types of things to fix our minds upon. Second Corinthians 10:5 says to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Romans 8:6 says, “letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to light and peace.” And finally, as Christ-followers the Bible tells us we have “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
So, a Christian IS, in fact, able to control his/her thoughts through the power of the Holy Spirit! Allowing our minds to become idle means it’s not under Christ’s authority. This is why the Bible warns us to “stay alert” (Ephesians 6:18) and to fix our minds on godly things” (Philippians 4:8, Isaiah 26:3).
The Trouble With Idle Thoughts
The Bible gives us many disastrous results of a mind not fixed on godliness. But King David’s example is heartbreaking (2 Samuel 11). It all starts when David abandons his purpose by staying home from war. He allows his mind to become idle, leaving him open to temptation which eventually turns to sin when he takes another man’s wife. The sins continue to mount when the woman, Bathsheba, becomes pregnant. David tries to cover up the sin with deception. He then murders Bathsheba’s husband. Eventually, his many sins are exposed but the consequences were far-reaching. Not only does the baby die, but eventually his own sons rebel against him.
Indeed, the mind is a terrible thing to waste. So, let’s not waste it by allowing dangerous idle thoughts to have control. We’ve got the power to take charge of our thought life by living in submission to Christ. And prayer is the best place to begin.
Prayer: Father God, I don’t want my sinful nature to control my thoughts. I realize that idle thoughts can easily lead to sin. Your Words says if I allow the Spirit to control of my mind it leads to light and peace. I take captive thoughts like_______(fill in the blank) and bring them into submission to Christ Jesus right now. When sinful thoughts come in, I will continue to submit them to you and then fix my mind on Your promises and things that are good and worthy of praise.
“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.”
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