Be Selective and...Sift It!
by Ann Musico
Your Beautiful Brain
Proverbs 23:7 Amplified: For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
"I'm exhausted." "Where am I going to get the money for that?" "This will never work out." "Who does she think she is, talking to me that way!" "I can't believe how fat I am." "Things just never go right for me." "I can't take it any more!" “I hate to exercise.”
Thoughts are constantly floating through our minds, whether we are aware of them or not. We also may not realize the origin of many of those thoughts. Every critical, negative word ever spoken to you is filed away in your computer-like brain. The devil won't miss an opportunity to whisper destructive, negative, hurtful thoughts into your ear every minute of the day -IF you allow him to. After twenty-four solid hours of those destructive thoughts bombarding your mind and spirit, no wonder you're exhausted, discouraged and defeated. They chip away at your strength, self-esteem and hope, which is exactly what the devil intends. If we absorb enough of these trashy, miserable thoughts, they can erode our confidence to step out, paralyze us with fear of the unknown and utterly destroy our faith. If we allow him free access to our thoughts, he can eventually fulfill his mission according to John 10:10 which is to steal our joy, kill our vision and destroy our lives.
The good news is we have a choice. We can choose to sift the thoughts we constantly have offered to us. It is called selective hearing. That's an expression usually used to describe how a husband can hear every detail of a ball game, yet totally tune out his wife's request to take out the trash! It's quite an effective tool (as many a husband will testify), and it is at our disposal as believers to use against these rogue thoughts.
We find it in Philippians 4:8. Here it is in the Amplified: For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things fix your minds on them.
In order to do this, though, you have to begin with a simple, basic, elementary truth: God is good and the devil is bad. I realize that's 'Faith 101,' but if you measure each thought according to that yardstick of truth, you will be able to tell what the origin of the thought was and whether to receive it or reject it. John 10:10 is my yardstick.
Next, you have to purposely become aware of the thoughts constantly fighting to gain entrance into your mind throughout the course of each day. When you decide to pay attention, consciously, to what percolates through your thoughts, new understanding will begin to flood your being. If you've been exhausted and dragging around in defeat lately, you may be surprised to realize how many fearful, discouraging lies you've been assimilating over each 24-hour period.
Once you gain this awareness, you can be selective about what you allow to saturate your thinking. For instance, you're driving to work and seemingly out of nowhere you think, "I hope I don't get laid off."
Sift it. What feeling floods you when you really acknowledge that thought? Fear? Uncertainty? Confusion? Despair? Definitely not good. That thought originates with the father of lies. Right then and there you have the choice as to whether to receive it as truth or reject it as a lie. Once you choose to reject that lie, you must replace it with the truth. For instance, something like, "God blessed me with this job and He can and will keep me here or find me a better one."
You may find yourself doing this exercise a hundred times a day at first. That's OK. Don't get discouraged. As you practice 'taking these thoughts captive' as we're instructed to do in 2 Corinthians 10:5, you will find it becoming less and less necessary. Why? The reason is simple. As you continually capture, sift and examine your thoughts, measuring them against the ruler of God's Word, basically what you are doing is submitting yourself to God and resisting the devil. James 4:7 says if you do that, the devil will have no choice but to flee from you! He'll get the message pretty quick that his lies are not having their desired effect and look for an easier target.
Just as you are careful about what kind of food you put into your body, the thoughts you allow to gain entrance into your spirit through your mind can have a devastating effect on your life and physical health.
The choice is yours. Be selective and sift your thoughts.