"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit" (Romans 8:5).
There is a battle going on inside you between your old, sinful nature and your new nature that comes from Christ. If you want to win this battle, you're going to have to change the way you think.
Satan gives you thoughts; they are temptation. And God gives you thoughts; they are inspiration. Which are you going to choose? Romans 8:6 says, "To be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
I don't know anyone who wouldn't choose life and peace over death. But the truth is, we have self-destructive thoughts all the time. So what do we do?
Here is how the Holy Spirit frees us from uncontrolled thoughts. It's the principle of replacement: Whatever you want to change in your life, don't resist it; replace it.
If you're watching television and a show comes on that you know is bad for you to watch, change the channel to something better. If you want to quit smoking but you keep thinking about cigarettes, focus on something else. The Bible says you have to replace the old mindset with the new mindset.
When you start thinking about something positive instead of something negative, something good instead of something evil, the old will lose its appeal and won't have its allure anymore.
Invite the Holy Spirit to have free access to your mind to help replace those uncontrollable thoughts.
Talk It Over
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you new ideas to think about that will replace the old, bad thoughts. Pray this: "Dear Holy Spirit, I give you permission to give me thoughts anytime you want. I'm wide open, and I will accept them. I have an open mind to you."
The Holy Spirit will also use Scripture to direct your thoughts toward God. If you're not already in the habit of memorizing Scripture, begin doing that today with a friend so that you can remember God's Word when you need it most.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global internet community for pastors.
This article originally appeared at pastorrick.com.
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