During the years before God freed me completely as regards to my thought life, I struggled a lot with my self-made mind control, which, honestly, never worked at all. Thoughts come and they go. They always “go together” with those good and bad feelings they cause. And they don’t ask me, “May I stay or should I go?” Instead, they seemingly do what they want. The reason for their impertinent “behavior” lies in the fact that every recurring thought or dream has an invisible root that is hidden deep within our hearts. Recurring thoughts use to bother us and therefore we are often lost in them or speak about them if possible and appropriate. If we don’t have anyone with whom we can share the thoughts which grieve us for example, or which reveal our deepest longings, then the thoughts will ”reveal themselves” somehow automatically by coming out of our mouth in inappropriate situations as well. Here I am reminded of Jesus who said that the mouth speaks “out of the abundance of the heart” (Lk 6:45).
As long as I was trying to control my thought life on my own, I was like a gardener at the attempt to fertilize a limp tree by cutting off some brown and dry leaves. Afterwards the tree looked a bit better than before, but the bigger part of the plant remained sick since the roots were lacking vitality. And soon there were again brown leaves all over the tree.
What I find so comforting with Jesus is the fact that I may show Him everything I can’t get rid of. There is nothing Jesus would not understand since He is not only God, He is man too. Walking in the spirit, which means here living with Him who is quasi “controlling” my thought life (2 Cor 10:3-5) by changing my heart (i.e., by nurturing the roots of the tree), is a kind of freedom I have never known before.
In fact, I have been set free to think whatever might occur in my mind and to understand any thought, word, or deed (esp. sin) other people tell me secretly because there has been no thought I have not been thinking at some point as well.
Regarding psychology, that’s not a real new observation since Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung undertook the essential preparatory work in this area. One might also say that nothing human could be foreign to me because Jesus constantly teaches me to understand and hear and feel (more and more) like He does – HE to whom nothing human is foreign at all.
However, there is a big difference between psychology and Christian faith. Even though psychology offers objective observation of the subjective mind and heart, it can’t help us change the outcome of thoughts and deeds, that means, psychology only offers solutions in the area of the visible “tree”: pills which let a sick tree look better on the outside or exhaustive talk about brown leaves dying on sick branches (i.e., our undigested past that can still mess us up as long as we are not yet completely one with Christ). Psychology never reaches the rotten roots in the human heart. Here we urgently need our Savior and His freeing Spirit.
Well, I have just been thinking about how a good thought, in fact, could be like and I think that every thought which is rooted in God’s spiritual love, which makes us want to share His unconditional love with our neighbors, will eventually bring forth deeds of love, peace, joy, and so on (Gal 5:14-23). Maybe I am simplifying here a bit?
In my humble opinion, there is no difference between our thoughts at all. Therefore we should not judge anyone because of their thoughts. The difference between living in the light of God and living with our back to it, that is, walking and stumbling in the darkness, lies solely in the fact that living in the light, i.e. walking by the Spirit, means to freely show God our thoughts and in so doing we can be assured of being loved and fully accepted by Him.
The “darkness” is only the absence of light, but not a realm of different thoughts, even though they may be twisted by Satan’s deceptive maneuvers which can have the effect of a distorting mirror that nonetheless intrinsically entails the true, pure, and good thought of divine origin.
I believe that there is nothing (here: no thought) we could create on our own, because God is the Creator of everything. Before any word is spoken and any deed is done, there is always the thought consisting of words. I have been thinking especially of the introduction to the gospel of John, for it is written,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” […] “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” […] “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (Jn 1:1,3,5)