Why Your Thought Life Matters

Scripture has a lot to say about our thought lives as Christians. The mind has always been vulnerable and God has always cared about it.


Why Your Thought Life Matters 

Why Your Thought Life Matters 



We live in a culture that seems to have double standards when it comes to thought life. What we think, our own mind has become a marketable field, another area for business and cultural agendas to acquire. We frequently get bombarded with ads and app suggestions that promote decreasing mind clutter, engaging in meditation and centering practices, and slowing down during the day. Embracing “mindfulness” is very trendy right now. There are online services and communities dedicated to helping humans relax their minds, declutter their brains, and clean mental space. Yet, on the other hand, there is seemingly very little discussion about putting checks and balances on what we are actually thinking about. As long as your thoughts are authentic, “true to you”, and bring you pleasure…the current American culture celebrates it. Putting limits on our thought life might even be seen as oppressive. Self-fulfillment and actualization is a top priority, therefore, the self should be able to think whatever it wants, right? So…as long as the self is being prioritized, actualized, and expressed…no thought is off the table. That’s supposed to create a mental oasis? 


Why thought life matters 

If this is the case, how do we account for the fact that an American dies by suicide every 12 seconds? Why is depression the number one cause of disability among working-age Americans? Why is suicide the second highest cause of death in young Americans? These issues are complex and involve so many different factors. But the quality and nature of an average American thought life must be seriously considered when analyzing these grim mental health statistics. 

The problem is that apps, minimalism, mindfulness tips, and mid-day stretch breaks aren’t going to renew our minds. These tools are helpful, to an extent…but the health of your mind is only as healthy as the thoughts you’re thinking are. These tools aren’t going to release us from damaging messages that thrive and grow in unhealthy minds. These tools simply don’t have the power to break the chains of darkness we allow to take root in our thoughts when they are given free range; unchecked and unhindered. Project “self-fulfillment and actualization” is a dangerous and empty delusion. We need a better strategy.


Your thoughts plant a garden 

Scripture has a lot to say about our thought lives as Christians. It’s discussed multiple times throughout the Bible to a variety of audiences in different cultures and time periods. This tells me that the human mind has always been vulnerable and that God has always cared about it. 

Garden imagery is all over the Bible, and it’s one of my favorite metaphors to return to. If we think of our mind as a garden, we can quickly recognize that labor and intentionality are required for growth. Left to itself, a garden may grow but be hindered by invasive species, wildlife, and overgrowth. 

An attentive gardener knows he needs to fertilize, till, and nurture the soil. He plants seeds at the right time, depth and distance. He waters, prunes, and shapes. He may set up fencing to keep out especially harmful critters and uses whatever means necessary to protect the life he is creating. 

Our thoughts are the garden of our life. In order to produce the life we intend, we must take our role as farmers seriously. Keeping a garden healthy requires both offensive and defensive measures. Letting our minds wander into whatever thoughts it pleases is like letting a garden go untended. 

My thought life was first challenged during my Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Youth With A Mission (YWAM). Until that point, I had assumed that my thought life was my own, and I had the right to let my mind explore any and every corner of possibility. There is a common saying in YWAM that addresses this assumption perfectly. “Relinquishing my rights” means that when I said yes to life in Jesus, I also said yes to death in Jesus. Being a disciple of Jesus means that I sacrificially lay down every perceived right I think I have in order to find abundant life through Him. And what I have discovered in my own walk with the Lord is that what once looked like death to me now looks like freedom. Placing limits on my thought life hasn’t been oppressive, it has been liberating. 


You are what you think 

So, where do you start? Great question. As we already discussed, the tools that our current culture offers are helpful but only to an extent. Getting your thought life into a healthy space takes work, commitment, accountability, and time. 

  • The first place I would suggest looking is the Bible. There really is something miraculous about spending time in God’s word…it cleanses us as we consume it. Even if you don’t really understand what you’re reading, getting in the habit of exploring the Bible will act as tilling and fertilizing your soil.
  • Another thing to consider is your community. Are the people in your life encouraging you to improve your thought life, or are they part of the problem? Until you’re a more experienced “farmer”, you may need to surround yourself with safe people and limit your time with those who might invade and damage the garden you are trying to grow. In time, you may be able to invite them back into your life when your garden is strong enough to handle a few foxes. 
  • As you surround yourself with the right people, invite them to keep you accountable. Ask them to lovingly call you out when they see you mistreating your garden. Consider letting a mentor, therapist, or trustworthy friend into your garden to help you in the process. 
  • Last but not least, you’ll need grace. You will fail, and you will have difficult mental seasons. Don’t be too hard on yourself in the process. The Holy Spirit is the project manager of your sanctification, and He’s your number 1 fan. Let Him lead you and sustain you as you farm your garden together. 

Consider a DTS 

Are you ready to get your thought life in order? Consider joining us for our next Discipleship Training School here at YWAM Asheville! YWAM values teaching its students practical and transformational life rhythms that allow Jesus to be Lord of our thoughts. YWAM training, courses, and curriculums are designed to give you the tools you need to tend to your garden successfully for the rest of your life. Wherever you do your DTS, please know that the best YWAM DTS location for you is the one that the Lord leads you to. Don’t just look for the cheapest DTS, let the Holy Spirit guide you in making that decision. Have questions? Let us know! A DTS coach would love to discuss any questions you might have. A YWAM DTS is the perfect place to get the right community around you, get focused on scripture, and have grace-filled accountability!


Similar posts