A guest post by Jen Smith
Have you ever thought about your thoughts? What they can make you do? What they can make you say? How they can make you feel?
I've been learning a lot about my own thoughts when it comes to my marriage. I see my sin much more clearly in my marriage. My words, my actions, my facial expressions, and my attitudes have all, multiple times, shown the darkness that can come from my heart. And what I have realized is that in those times when I have a bad attitude toward my husband and I have given him the "I'm disappointed in you" look, my thoughts are not where they should be.
"Finally, brothers, 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 3:8, ESV)
Do you ever read that verse and think, "man, that's a great verse", and tuck it away into your good intentions verse box? What I mean is that I have read that verse and thought about how I should apply that to my life but it never really gets much past that. I struggle with it because it seems too daunting to try and think about every thought I have everyday and figure out if I'm thinking of something praiseworthy. But I have finally discovered a good application of this verse in my life and hopefully you can use it too.
Think back to the last time you were frustrated with something or someone. Now, try to recall what you were thinking. More than likely, you were not thinking on what was true, noble, right, etc. I am just as guilty. My thoughts are a battle ground that need to be taken captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). But that battle is not always easily won. When I get frustrated with my husband, it's because I have let my thoughts wonder down a road where I am dwelling on his wrong doing or his sin (or what I think is sin). And last time I checked sin is not on that list of things to think about. Instead I need to think about how faithful my husband was that morning or how thoughtful he was the day before. I need to remember that he is not the sin that I see coming from him now; he is a forgiven child of God battling sin just as I do. And when I start thinking on those things, like the great mercy the Lord has shown and the wonderful husband he has given me, I start being thankful for him instead of frustrated at him. When I start to control my thoughts, my emotions suddenly start to change also.
But even in that effort, it can still just come from good intentions. Without the grace and power of Jesus Christ in my life, I will never be able to take control of my thoughts. Especially when I am in the moment of frustration, that is the time when I need his grace the most so that I am not just responding out of emotion. For me to think that I can control my thoughts on my own is arrogant. I must be in prayer for my thought life in order that Jesus might be king and victor over that battle ground of my thoughts.