Thoughts Matter | Ashley Varner

Thoughts Matter

Today I’m going to give you three steps toward taking your thoughts captive.

But first, let’s talk about why your thoughts matter.

Sometimes we tend to think that our feelings are a direct result of our circumstances, but there is a step that we’re missing in there.

The circumstances around you don’t determine your emotions, the thoughts you have about your circumstances are what determine your emotions. 

Paul and Silas

Let me give you an example from God’s Word:

Paul and Silas in prison. Acts 16:22-25

“The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. 

Now let’s stop reading for a moment and look at this circumstance. If circumstances determined feelings then Paul and Silas would be feeling defeated and forgotten by God. Here they were trying to do the right thing and now they’ve been beaten and thrown in jail. 

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

Acts 16:22-25

Paul and Silas were praying and worshipping! Why? Because they understood that their circumstance had very little to do with how they feel.

Let’s use another example:

Think of the most recent Super Bowl. 

The circumstance is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the super bowl. 

That circumstance by itself doesn’t make you feel anything. What you think about that circumstance decides how you feel. 

If you’ve been a Buccaneers fan forever, you were probably cheering and super happy. 

If you don’t like Tom Brady, then you probably weren’t too happy when he won yet another super bowl. 

If you don’t watch football, then you probably don’t care at all who won. 

See what I’m saying?

Your emotions don’t have to be ruled by your circumstances. 

Thoughts are in your mind, but you don’t have to believe everything you think. You can take thoughts captive with the power of the Holy Spirit. 

If you are struggling with unstable emotions, what you really need to do is figure out what thoughts are causing those emotions. We’re going to talk more about that next week, but let’s talk about why your thoughts matter.

Your life is going to go in the direction of your attention. That’s why Hebrews 12:2 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…”

Surrender

If you’ve been here for awhile, then you know that I was certified as a Christian life coach a couple years ago.

Many life coaches will tell you that you can think whatever you want to think. You can believe whatever you want to believe. And in all fairness, that is true. But when you are a Christian, that changes.

When we become Christians, we are saying to ourselves, to God, and to the world that are following after Jesus.  That we surrender our lives  to Him.  Surrendering your life is language that is used a lot in church, but what does that really even mean?  

It means that we are giving up our rights to the way we want to live. We are saying that the Bible now has the right to tell us what to believe and how to act.

That’s why when someone wrongs you, you forgive, right? Not because you feel like it, but because  God’s Word says to forgive and you have given God the right to tell you how to live.

This is actually really great news. Because yes, you as a human being have the right to think whatever you want to think.  However, all the guess work is gone. We have timeless biblical truths that help us to guide our thoughts and minds in the direction of Christ.

This is so important.

Your circumstances do not create your feelings.  Too many Christians fall into this trap of believing that they don’t have control over their feelings.

So we’re going to make a shift in what we’re learning.

Like I said, I can continue to teach the things I’ve taught on this podcast about how to change your behavior, but if I really want to serve you in the best way possible, then what we need is to learn is how to change our thinking to line up with God’s Word.  Once you do that, your feelings and actions will follow.

Now let’s look at the three steps toward taking your thoughts captive.

2 Corinthians 10:5 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 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. 

Step 1: Choose God’s Way

Step 1: Realize we overcome God’s Way – we have the power to demolish strong holds – a strong hold is anything that has a strong hold on your thinking. We have the power to break those down. 

That means that with Gods help you have the ability to control your thinking and your emotions. Even if those thoughts and feelings have been engrained in you. 

Step 2: Align Your Mind

Step 2: Check your mind against God’s Word – we demolish those strongholds by checking to see if it lines itself up with or against GOd’s word

Again, I’m going to be sharing more in future episodes about practical ways to do this, but what I suggest you do, is write down the thoughts you’re thinking.

Then line those thoughts up with what God says. And see if they match up. 

Step 3: Take Your Thoughts Captive

Step 3: Take The Thoughts That Don’t Line Up Captive, then those thoughts that don’t line up need to be made obedient to Christ.

Because you’ve given God the right to direct your thinking, you must feel your mind with God’s Words. We have to meditate on Scripture. 

I’m going to go into detail in the next few weeks about this, but the first step is just to be aware that the thoughts you’re thinking don’t line up with God’s Word.

If you are struggling with rollercoaster emotions and taking your thoughts captive, then I want to make sure that you get access to The Mindset Reset, it’s a 6-week transformational workshop with me that will include a video lesson each week as well as worksheets and routines to really start taking your thoughts captive. We’ll be holding that workshop in a few weeks and it is limited space so get on the waitlist.

Another way you can get a jump start on this work is by getting access to my 21 Day Bible Study called Walking in Confidence. It’s all about replacing your thoughts about yourself with God’s thoughts about you.

What’s Next?

In the weeks to come, I’m going to be sharing biblical truths on how to handle unstable emotions, feeling your emotions versus avoiding them, how to be kind to yourself, and develop God-confidence. It won’t all be abstract thinking, we’re going to talk about some practical ways you can begin changing your thoughts, too!

I hope you’ll continue to listen. The Graceful Life Podcast has now become The Renewed Mind podcast, and I chose this title because of Romans 12:2,  which says, “Do not conform to the patterns 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.”

Paul called the Romans to be transformed. But how were they supposed to be transformed? By renewing their minds with God’s Word. As you know, my word from 2021 is Renew and I just thought this was a perfect way to lead into this new season of the podcast.

I’m excited for what God is going to do in your life! Stay tuned!

ready to be renewed?

- Ashley Varner

it’s my goal to reach every Christian mom with the truth that God wants to transform their life by renewing their mind.

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