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No matter how spiritual we are, we all have “buttons” that can be pushed. They are like a silent switch – turned on and off – sometimes without a sound. We often are not aware of just how they are pushed, but we are aware of the results. Some people learn what buttons they can push to make us angry, unhappy, or manipulate us to get what they want.
We all have things that we should avoid, places or people that stir up wrong passions or desires, things that cause us to lose needed sleep or . . . the list could go on and on. Certain things cause us to act in ways that are not good for us either physically or spiritually. In other words, we may suffer if we permit the wrong buttons to be pushed.
For example, there are times in the day when I especially want to think about something good to eat – something that might not be best for me. If I think about such tasty items, eventually I will decide it would be okay for me to have just a little – then maybe just a little more – then . . .
That’s the way it is with buttons. If we begin thinking about something that we enjoy doing, we may quickly be persuaded to do it. Satan is a master at button pushing. He did that to Adam and Eve, and it worked. They responded to the suggestion he gave them. He tried the same with Jesus, but Christ would have none of it. He would not accept Satan’s thoughts whether they came through people He loved or from thoughts that Satan directed His way.
What can we do? What provisions has God provided to help us? We can learn how to make it increasingly difficult for things or people to control our thoughts. Jesus set His mind to think only the thoughts that would please His Father.
God tells us what to think about, and this is often the solution to many of our problems:
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 (Phil. 4:8 NIV).
When we have unhappy, troubled, angry, or resentful thoughts, we can quote this verse and see if our thoughts agree with God’s directions.
We may be thinking of something that is true but is it also admirable? Is it pure and excellent? If not, we can turn our thoughts toward things that we know God will use to bless others and ourselves.
Often, I’ve realized that my thoughts were not fitting into God’s plan of what I should be thinking about. When I redirected my thoughts, I sensed joy stirring in my heart.
When I’m happy I think about ways to help others to be happy. I think about you and how I want to help you to have: the joy of the Lord (Neh. 8:10 NIV).
(Reprint from November 2016)