“What you think about God is the most important thing about you.” — A.W. Tozer
My favorite pastor of the 20th century is A.W. Tozer. This quote of his is etched in my heart and has shaped a lot of how I minister to people and athletes.
We don’t give enough credence to the power of our thoughts. When we think about God in a certain way, it has the ability to dictate how we live our life, who we marry, how we raise our children and how we interact with this world.
Our thoughts are powerful. So powerful that the Bible gives us many warnings on training our minds to focus on Godly things.
“Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.” — Romans 1:28
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” — Ephesians 4:22-24
“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” — Colossians 3:2
“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.” — Philippians 4:8
Why the focus on our thought life? Why is it so important to be careful what we think? Because who you are is directly dependent upon what you think.
Years back, making a playlist consisted of “burning” songs onto a CD. The new CD would have the exact copy of the original CD or a specific set of songs someone wanted to put on a new CD. The new CD would then be a “copy” of the original.
When you and I engage in sin and allow our enemy, Satan, to influence our actions, and we repeat these actions over and over, they become burned into our psyche. Inevitably, our actions become habits, our habits then influence our thoughts, and our thoughts will impact who we believe God to be.
The Apostle Paul understood the depth of what spiritual battle and internal struggle with sin looked like in the mind, and he taught the Corinthian people a very valuable lesson through one of his letters:
“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
We are instructed to “take captive” our thoughts. We are to identify them, capture them, and like in Biblical days, bring the captive before the King for judgement. Paul is so worried about the thought life of his churches that he comes up with a real-life illustration that people would understand. In Christ, we are able to identify our faulty thinking, capture it and bring it before God in prayer. When we do this, we strip evil thoughts from harming us and influencing us.
If our evil thoughts have the ability to produce poor actions on our part, think what Christlike thoughts will produce in us. Imagine the character we will display or integrity we will live by if we were able to “set our minds on things above” (Colossians 3:2).
Paul wants Jesus-followers to produce good fruit in their lives, and he gives us the secret to cleansing our minds and flushing out the evil that gets trapped in there: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
The antidote to evil influencing our thoughts is found in the presence of Jesus through prayer and reading God’s Word. It is there that we are transformed and will be able to know in our mind exactly what God’s will for us and our lives is.
— Reza Zadeh, Denver Broncos chaplain
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.