What are you thinking right now? What have you been thinking about today? Are you worried, thinking about the challenges you face or thinking about pleasant things, rolling hills and wild flowers perhaps? Our thoughts are important; it shapes who we are and who we become. If you dwell on negative thoughts, you will become negative and so perceived by others. Did you know that your thoughts play a role in your health too?
Do you think that our thoughts can be controlled in any way? We will show you how our thoughts can be used by satan to make war against us on many levels.
Let us start off by looking what we can find in scripture about our thoughts and also examine how and by whom our thoughts can be influenced. We shall start off by defining the word.
How is the word “thought” defined in Scripture?
Many different words, translated as thought are used in Scripture. The context of each of these gives us more understanding. Each word gives us another nuance of the word “thought“.
Here are some common Hebrew and Greek words used and an explanation of their meaning based on context. This is not an exhaustive list, just an indication of how many different words are used to define a thought.
THOUGHT(S) [Heb. maḥašāḇâ (Gen. 6:5; Job 21:27; Ps. 33:11; etc.), dāḇār-‘word’ (Dt. 15:9; Ezk. 38:10), higgāyôn-‘whispering’ (Lam. 3:62), ḥešbôn-‘account, device’ (Eccl. 9:10), maddāʿ-‘knowledge’ (Eccl. 10:20), mezimmâ-‘evil thoughts’ (Ps. 10:4), ʿaštûṯ (Job 12:5), rû (a)ḥ-‘breath, wind, spirit’ (Prov. 1:23), rē (a)ʿ-‘will, intention’ (Ps. 139:2, 17), śē (a)ḥ (Am. 4:13), śeʿippîm-‘disquieting thoughts’ (Job 4:13; 20:2), śarʿappîm-‘disquieting thoughts’ (Ps. 139:23); Aram raʿyôn (Dnl. 2:29f.; 4:19 [MT 16]; 5:6, 10; 7:28); Gk. dialogismós-‘opinion, reasoning’ (Mt. 15:19 par; Lk. 2:35; 6:8; 9:47; 1 Cor. 3:20; Jas. 2:4), logismós-‘calculation, reasoning’ (Rom. 2:15), enthýmēsis (Mt. 9:4; 12:25; He. 4:12), nóēma (2 Cor. 10:5; 11:3), dianóēma (Lk. 11:17), énnoia (1 Pet. 4:1)]; AV also THING, DEVICE, SPIRIT (Prov. 1:23), COGITATION (Dnl. 7:28); NEB also MURMUR (Lam. 3:62), SCHEME, COUNSEL (Prov. 1:23), PURPOSE, etc.
The word “think” in Gen. 26:7; Ps. 59:7; Isa. 36:5; and Jer. 22:15 translates no specific Hebrew terms but derives from the respective contexts…
…In the RSV the usual verb for “think” is Gk. dokéō. It refers frequently to the thought directed at that which is illusory or deceptive (e.g., Mt. 6:7; 1 Cor. 12:23; Gal. 6:3), and often in contexts in which the standards and suppositions of this world contrast with those of God’s people and kingdom. In the Gospels Jesus frequently employs the rhetorical, impersonal interrogative Gk. tí dokeí (“What do you think?”), especially as an introductory formula to short parables and metaphors (e.g., Mt. 18:12; 21:28), to arouse attention. Another common verb is nomízō, which is often used of faulty assumptions, as when Jesus debated with the Pharisees over the Law (Mt. 5:17; cf. 20:10; Acts 8:20; etc.) The only other term to occur with any frequency is logízomai and its compound, dialogízomai. The former means primarily “reckon” or “credit” and is a standard Pauline term for the imputation of God’s righteousness to human beings. In a few contexts, however, it has the less technical sense of “estimate” (2 Cor. 11:5; 12:6) or “consider” (Rom. 14:14), and even the somewhat unusual idea of “reflect” (e.g., “think about these things,” Phil. 4:8). Gk. dialogízomai can mean “reason” or “debate,” often with oneself, and frequently in contemplating evil (Lk. 12:17).
Other terms for “think” include Gk. enthyméomai, which usually carries a negative connotation of evil or foolish thought (Mt. 9:4), hēgéomai, which can mean “regard” or “consider” (Acts 26:2; 2 Pet. 1:13), and peíthō, normally translated “persuade,” e.g., in Agrippa’s famous reply to Paul, “In a short time you think to make me a Christian” (Acts 26:28). Phronéō, a predominantly Pauline term, sometimes refers more to the manner or content rather than the process of thought (1 Cor. 13:11); its compound hyperphronéō appears pejoratively in Rom. 12:3 for inflated self-assessment. In Eph. 3:20 Gk. noéō refers more to the activity of the mind (see UNDERSTAND) and when compounded (pronoéō) means “think of beforehand,” though often without emphasis on the temporal prefix, except in the secondary sense of making preparation for something (e.g., “take thought for what is noble,” Rom. 12:7). In Acts 15:38 axióō, “thought best,” is literally “deemed worthy” or “fitting.” Krínō in Acts 26:8 is literally “judge” in its neutral sense of “evaluate.”2
The power of thoughts
Do you think it really matters what we think? Our thoughts have power in our lives. Job said the following.
25 “For what I fear comes upon me, And what I dread befalls me.
These are sobering words! “What I fear comes upon me and what I dread befalls me.” Fear is something created in our minds based on what we observe with our senses. If you smell or see smoke you fear that there might be a fire. If you hear or read a bad report, you fear the impact on your life or that of your family.
YHVH teaches us not to fear, the phrase “fear not” is used more than eighty times in the Bible in this context. We can control this. Every time we fear or dread something we are to go to YHVH and give it to Him.
1 Peter 5:7
7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
I have a list of all the giants in my life and every day I take it before YHVH and give it to Him and I trust that His will be done. This has helped me so much. Every time one of these giants come before me during the day, I send them away with the thought that I have given it to YHVH, and He will sort it out in the best way, because He cares for me.
We have previously written about these giants. Here is a link to the article: “They say there are giants in the land…”
Also consider this…
22 A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
The word heart can refer to thoughts
4213 לֵב (lēḇ): n.masc.; ≡ Str 3820; TWOT 1071a—1. LN 8.9–8.69 heart, i.e., the blood pumping organ of the body (Ps 38:11[EB 10]; Hos 13:8); 2. LN 8.9–8.69 chest, formally, heart, i.e., the thorax cavity of a creature (Job 41:16[EB 24]); 3. LN 26 heart, mind, soul, spirit, self, i.e., the source of life of the inner person in various aspects, with a focus on feelings, thoughts, volition, and other areas of the inner life (Isa 57:15; Ecc 2:1)3
From this, we can deduce that joyful thoughts could be considered good medicine. You have probably heard that laughter can relief stress, and we know that stress can harm our health. Once again, what is stress? Stress is nothing but fear. By fearing something, stress is created in our bodies, which cause havoc when we are exposed to it for extended periods of time.
So, from these scriptures, we learn that our thoughts can either have a beneficial or detrimental effect on our lives. I never realized that it was so profound. We are therefor to focus on what we ponder on. We should have control over this; we are to be the gatekeeper of our minds.
Saying this, is there anyone else who can have control over our thoughts?
Who is in control of our thoughts?
We have seen that our thoughts can have an effect on our lives. Could anyone or anything also have control over our thoughts? Let us see what is taught in Scripture.
2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of Elohim is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
From this verse in Romans, we learn that we can be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Quite amazing if you consider this. We have the power to transform our lives by renewing our minds. However, before we go a bit more into that, let us focus on the first part of the verse “do not be conformed to this world” What does this mean?
To conform means to form oneself after another, to be conformed to an example. Worldly examples are abundant in the world. Just think about television, Facebook, books, even friends. You will be influenced by what and who you spend your time with. If you watch “soapies” on television all day, adultery, lying and cheating would not be so bad in your estimation, because everybody does that all the time.
We are not to conform to this world, we are therefore to choose, wisely, how we spend our time.
Even worldly music can influence us without even realizing it. We may be singing along with a catchy tune, not realizing the song is about satan or some other ungodly thing. Do not be conformed to this world, instead be transformed by the renewing of your mind… Our mind is renewed when we study and internalize YHVH’s word, it is life changing. YHVH’s word is our instruction manual for life. His law has not been done away with! His law shows us what is good, acceptable and perfect.
The next quote from Proverbs confirms how we are to be gatekeepers of our own minds.
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
We have seen how the word “heart” can also relate to our thoughts. Another admonision is to be steadfast in mind. What does this mean?
2 “Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter, The one that remains faithful. 3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.
The steadfast of mind YHVH will keep in perfect peace. To be steadfast means to uphold or sustain. We have posted the preceding verse for context. The one that remains faithful is the steadfast in mind. He remains faithful in his thoughts. That is where it all begins, in our minds.
Can satan influence our thoughts?
According to John 13:2, he can. I think we often underestimate the spiritual influences we are under.
2 During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him,
It is also interesting to notice what the consequence was when Judas chose to entertain what satan put into his heart
27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Y’shua said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”
Don’t we sometimes entertain toxic thoughts? This is what Judas did, he entertained toxic thoughts that satan tempted him with. Here is another example. How does a man react who is confronted with a woman who is immodestly dressed? Does he turn his eyes away and dismiss the thought or does he look and entertain the thoughts that follow? When that sinful thought is entertained repeatedly, he will eventually fall and commit adultery. That is why pornography almost always leads to adultery and divorce. Y’shua taught that when a man looks at a woman in a lustful way, it is as if he has committed adultery with her.
When we choose to entertain toxic or sinful thoughts, satan gets his foot in the door, and it leads to us committing the sin.
Now that we know how easily we can be influenced, we need to, also, find out how to counter this.
How do we control our thoughts?
We find some very practical instruction in Scripture. Here are five things we can do to help us control our thoughts.
Take every thought captive
Whenever we have a toxic thought enter our minds, we are to take it captive. How?
2 Corinthians 10:3–5
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, 4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of Elohim, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah,
We have a choice as to which thoughts we entertain in our minds. Do we entertain thoughts that are contrary to YHVH’S Word? We are to resist these thoughts and take them captive. We are to redirect our thoughts whenever toxic thoughts enter our minds. We are in control.
Y’shua gave us an example when he was tempted by satan (Matt 4:1-10) He did not even consider the temptations, He countered it with Scripture. We are to do the same, counter the toxic thoughts (temptations from satan) with Scripture. If we have an area, we battle with, we can look up scripture that can help us in that area and memorize it in order to have it ready when we need it. Say we battle fear, look up a few verses that will help you to take the fears captive, to counter it. This is war, and the battle is in our minds. YHVH’s word is a sword, our weapon against toxic thoughts or temptations from satan.
When we resist satan in this way, he will flee from us.
7 Submit therefore to Elohim. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you; he will otherwise enter in and cause you to sin. Think of each temptation as a test. Make sure you are well prepared for it. The next action we can take, we just mentioned, renewing of our minds.
Renew your mind
22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of Elohim has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
When we renew our minds, we learn how to to live our lives and how to act and react when temptations comes. We train ourselves for battle.
Set your mind on the things above
1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Messiah, keep seeking the things above, where Messiah is, seated at the right hand of Elohim. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
We are spiritual beings in a physical world and should look at things through spiritual eyes. Sometimes that is just the perspective we need in order to deal with the difficulties we face. Furthermore, this also means we are to focus on what YHVH desires of us. He has redeemed us thought our Messiah Y’shua and we belong to Him. We are to live for Him and His Kingdom.
The next action is often underestimated. Our senses influence our thoughts in a profound way; we are, therefor, to ponder on that which builds us up.
Ponder on this
We can choose what we dwell on.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
To dwell on this is to think or ponder on this. Stay away from things harmful and dysfunctional and ponder these things instead. What is the fruit of pondering on dysfunctional, harmful things like conspiracy theories? Often it is fear, and we have learned that we are not to fear. So, stay away from these things.
Last but not least, we are to pray. King David prayed these words and so could we.
23 Search me, O Elohim, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O YHVH, my rock and my Redeemer.
May the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in YHVH’s sight.
- All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Y’shua for Jesus.
- Blomberg, C. L., & Knapp, G. L. (1979–1988). Thought(s). In (G. W. Bromiley, Ed.)The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised. Wm. B. Eerdmans.
- Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
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