Stress is mostly a mental thing, isn’t it? We have to think right. The moment we step over the line in faith to receive Christ into our lives, he places the person of the Holy Spirit inside of our lives. The Holy Spirit is constantly whispering truth to us. He’s telling us to think on things that build us up, to think on things that reflect the glory and the nature of God. He’s whispering truth to us. Conversely, the evil one is whispering a bunch of lies to us. There’s this constant tension going on. If the evil one could pen Philippians 4:8, this would be his version. He would tell you and me, “Hey, whatever is false, whatever is tenuous, wrong, off-color, ugly, detestable, unworthy of praise, think about such things.” That’s what he would say.
Ed Young Church says In 2 Corinthians 10:5 it says, “We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Sometimes we’re going to be assaulted by impure and ungodly thoughts. That’s just part of our depravity. They’ll just hit us. Have you ever even been in church and said, “Whoa, why am I thinking that? I can’t believe it.” Surely you have. Well, bad thoughts, impure thoughts, negative thoughts, ungodly thoughts, will infiltrate our minds. It’s what we do with them. 2 Corinthians 10:5: “We take captive every thought,” every thought, “and make it obedient to Christ.” We run it through God’s grid. We say, “Does this reflect the nature and the character of God?” If this thought does, we’d better nurture it, we’d better complete it, we’d better concentrate on it. If it doesn’t, we just take it and whoosh, toss it. Toss it.
According to Ed Young Pastor what kind of magazines are you reading? What kind of books are on your shelves? What kind of web sites do you frequent? What kind of movies do you watch? What kind of music do you listen to? “Oh, Ed, it doesn’t have an effect on me, man!” Take a look around our culture. Take a look.
Right praying leads to right thinking. And right thinking leads to something else that’s right. Philippians 4:9. The apostle Paul was a spiritual stud. To write this is unbelievable; just listen to this. “Whatever you’ve learned or received or heard from me or seen in me,” Paul is saying, “put it into practice.”
Or like the woman who says she is a great tennis player, that she has power and the groundstroke and serve. But then you see the businessman in the business world and you realize that he is a joke, that he talks a good game but doesn’t walk it.