By David Holder
We hear much today about mind control. Such control is the power of the cults as well as the idea behind advertising. The inescapable fact is that something is going to control our thinking. And whatever it is that wields such control over our minds determines the kind of people we are. The writer of Proverbs observed, “For as he thinks within himself, so is he” (23:7). This should impress us with the fact that we must be concerned about our thinking. The reason that people do not do right and live right is that they do not think right. While mind control is the power of the cults and other such evils, it is also the power of the word of God. Paul teaches in Romans 12:2, “But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Each Christian needs to do some serious thinking about thinking.
The Danger Of Wrong Thinking
The Bible is replete with examples of and warnings about wrong thinking and its consequences. In the days of Noah, “the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). As a result, God destroyed mankind by the flood. In Isaiah 55:6-8 God called upon the unrighteous man to forsake his thoughts, “For,” God said, “my thoughts are not your thoughts.” Certainly God had not erred in His thoughts. It was the people whose thinking was not right.
There are several warnings in the New Testament regarding our thoughts, especially thoughts about ourselves. Paul speaks to all people in Romans 12:3 when he warns man ” . . . not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 says, “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” And Galatians 6:3 reads, “If a man thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” The summary of the matter is, whether we like to “think” it or not, man is capable of wrong thinking. We can think ourselves into or out of just about anything. “Free thinkers” have thought their way out of morals, religion, and belief in the existence of God, just to name a few. Some professed Christians have thought their way into pride, immorality, and sin of all kinds. This clearly shows that what we think is important because our thinking is a determining factor in the way we live our lives. Hence, it is necessary that our thinking be controlled by the right things.
Controlling Our Thinking
Our minds are controlled by one or more of four basic influences: our own will, the will of other people, things of the world, or the will of God. A good example of how such influences work is to study the mind of Pilate, the Roman procurator who sentenced Jesus to die. When Jesus first came before Pilate, the governor found the Son of Goo guilty of nothing and desired to release him. This was Pilate’s own will. Luke records in 23:23 that “the people were urgent with loud voices, asking that he might be crucified. And their voices prevailed.” Pilate was influenced by the will of others. Finally, the people said to Pilate, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend” (Jn. 19:12). They held before Pilate the power and prestige of his position. This greatly influenced the decision he made. Without doubt, there were definite influences in control of Pilate’s mind at various times which led him eventually to sentence Jesus to death. Such makes an interesting study, but what does this have to do with our thinking today?
The conclusion is that there are certain factors which can and will control our minds if we so allow them. If it is our desire, however, to be right and acceptable to God, then our minds must be controlled by the will of God alone. After all, who knows more about our minds than He? And who is more worthy of such control than God? Examine carefully what God’s word has to say about such matters:
(1) “Whatsoever things are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8). How can we do right and think only of evil, immoral, and worldly things? Why is it that men sin and Christians forsake Christ and grow unfaithful? It is because their minds are dwelling on the wrong things. What the church and the world needs today is more people who think on such things as Paul lists in Philippians 4:8.
(2) “Bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Why would a man put his soul’s salvation into his own hand or into the hands of other people? Yet this is what so many people do through the thinking they are involved in. Their minds are controlled by some other will than God’s. The Bible teaches men to yield their will and thinking to the will of Christ. Paul exhorts, “Set your mind on the things that are above, not on things that are upon earth” (Col. 3:2).
The mind of man, without reservation, is the most complex thing on earth. If man could ever happen to figure out all things in the realms of science, technology, and medicine, never will he completely know his own mind. Probably the most difficult task we have as Christians is to control our own minds to the extent that we completely yield ourselves to the will of God. Rather than turning to cultism, agnosticism, or atheism as we search for peace and fulfillment in life, let us learn that true fulfillment and salvation come only from minds controlled by the will of God.
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 14, p. 436
July 21, 1983