I receive incredible delight from cleaning out a closet. Give me one hour — and four trash bags and a trunk full of items to be donated later — and I somehow feel less burdened, lighter. While some of you can relate, others (like my husband) think it’s beyond weird — and annoying when it’s his closet I want to clean out. But all of us can relate to the angst and burden we experience when our minds are crammed full of negative and anxious thoughts. Many of us have junky, lie-based thoughts that should have been cleaned out and thrown away long ago. Yet we cling to these lies because they’re comfortable and familiar, like the favorite old sweater we should have donated a decade ago.
The most thorough method I’ve found to clean out a closet is to remove every item from it. Then, item by item, I choose what goes back in through a very selective process. I’ve found this same process very helpful when my mind becomes cluttered with thoughts. I undertake the intentional act of clearing my mind. Then, one by one, using the Word of God as a screening tool, I determine which thoughts go back in.
I’ve found one phrase to be key in the process:
“Whatever is true” (Philippians 4:8).
I’m most successful in the process when “whatever is true” begins with focusing on what is true about God. I’m refreshed and enlivened when the beauty and majesty of God are the focused thought on my mind. Inevitably more thoughts need to enter, but the time spent meditating on this main thought makes it clear what gets put back in and what gets trashed.
Followers of Christ are commanded to do just this:
“Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
What we choose to think about (and it is a choice) determines the trajectory of our life. Our emotions and actions are birthed from our thoughts. Our thoughts shape the person we become. Junky, lie-based thoughts will never produce a Christ-like, God-glorifying life. We are transformed into the likeness of Christ as God takes His truth and renews — makes new — our mind.
This is Way #6 of 52 Ways to order your life to live for the glory of God:
Make every thought obedient to what God says is true.
This is a habit you can develop. It may not come quickly or easily, but it will be well worth it! The freedom you’ll experience will far surpass an uncluttered home or organized closet. If you need a jump start, here’s a passage to consider: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever” (Jeremiah 33:11).
The meaning of the word “good” in Hebrew is beautiful, righteousness and virtuous. Take a few minutes. Clear out every thought and meditate solely on the goodness and enduring love of God. You will be greatly blessed. God’s glory will shine from your life.