Some days I wake up and I know it’s going to be a good day. Other days I wake up and I know that I’m not in the best frame of mind. I’m not necessarily talking about medical conditions like depression and anxiety. I’m talking about the “stinking thinking” that we all struggle with. They are the negative thought patterns that pull you down, and that pull those around you down as well.
Our society doesn’t help us. I believe that our society has a serious case of “stinking thinking” itself. It has always been around, but the rise of our scientific materialistic culture which dismisses God out of existence hasn’t helped. The Apostle Paul describes what happens to our thinking when we don’t acknowledge God and his role in our lives:
They didn’t honour him as God. They didn’t thank him. Their thinking became worthless. Their foolish hearts became dark (Rom 1:21, NIVR).
Could it be that this is what has happened to our societies? That as we have slid into the godless paradigm of scientific materialism, our thinking has become worthless?
So, what’s the key to avoiding stinking thinking in your life, and to develop worthwhile and positive ways of thinking? It’s to recognise who God is.
When you understand what God is like, everything changes in your life.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion, even among believers, about how to know what God is like. They will say that you do it through things like studying the Bible, prayer, and helping others. These are all wonderful things to do, and they are essential for followers of Jesus Christ. But of themselves they cannot help you know what God is like. The Jewish people in the time of Jesus did all these things, yet they were far from God (e.g. John 5:39; Matt 23:15.)
The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is the supreme revelation of God (Heb 1:1–2; John 1:14–18). To see Jesus is to see God (John 14:8–9). To know Jesus as your friend is not only to know God, but to have everlasting life (John 17:3).
When you understand what God is like, everything changes in your life. To know the goodness of God leads you to repentance (Rom 2:4). To know the power of Jesus is to learn to trust him and be at peace. To know the purpose of Jesus for this world is to find a positive purpose for your own life. These are the things that help to remove the “stinking thinking” from your life.
God wants your thoughts to be positive, encouraging, and joyful. He wants to replace your “stinking thinking” with a renewed mind (Rom 12:2).
You have to be alert to the cues in your own life, so that you know when you’re at risk. What do I do when the “stinking thinking” starts to creep back into my life? I take some time to acknowledge who God is, in Jesus Christ. I don’t have time for worthless thoughts in my life!
Note: If you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, or other forms of mental illness, please make sure you seek professional help.
Article supplied with thanks to Dr Eliezer Gonzalez.
About the Author: Dr Eli Gonzalez is the Senior Pastor of Good News Unlimited and the presenter of the Unlimited radio spots, and The Big Question.