How do we distinguish between “our” thoughts and “God’s” thoughts? 1 Corinthians 2:16 states: “But we have the mind of Christ”. If we have the mind of Christ then how can we tell if a thought is our own or His? I would like to offer this as a possibility to begin understanding the differences. I think we have two basic options when it comes to determining whether it was “God” or “us”. We either have a thought and believe it was ours until we decide it was from God, or we begin with this thought could be from God and I need to test it to see. I find that using the 2nd assumption has benefits.
When I start from this perspective, that I share a mind with Christ and every thought I have could be from Him, it’s as if I am testing the thought for its source.
I begin with assuming all thoughts could be from God. I then begin to test them with my first question: is this thought rooted or founded in love. The Bible tells us that “God is Love” 1 John 4:8, and in 1 Corinthians 13:7 love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” If the thought is not founded or rooted in love then I can flush the thought (My wife describes hearing someone refer to it as a plumbing system where we can flush things down the toilet where it belongs). A thought that produces guilt, shame, condemnation is not based in love and those thoughts I flush. I would like to make a distinction between condemnation and conviction. Conviction tells me I did something wrong and here is how to correct it, condemnation feels like an attack on my character and becomes a personal defect within me.
Once the thought passes the “love” test, the next test I run it through is the True or False test. In school, we were taught that on a true and false test for a statement to be true the whole statement had to be 100% true otherwise it was false. If I have a thought that I am a horrible husband, and I run this through the true or false test I have to answer false, even if my wife and I have an argument. I may handle myself or my emotions in a poor manner, and possibly say the wrong thing, but that in and of itself, doesn’t make me a horrible husband. While the statement I’m a horrible husband may have some truth to it, i.e. I acted horribly or unkind doesn’t mean I am or act this way all of the time. Thus, this statement is not 100% true and therefore false. Therefore the thought that I’m a horrible husband needs to be flushed or decided was not from God.
The final tests I use involve asking trusted friends and family that hear from God and checking it against the word of God (Bible). Sometimes, I will check with friends and family and they will back it up with scripture. What I have experienced when I begin from the perspective of this may be a thought from God, testing each step of the way, my confidence and faith are strengthened. Every time I move from maybe to I believe this is God, I grow. Every time I go from maybe this is God to this is not from Him, I learn what He does not sound like. One final thought to leave you with: John 10:14 says “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” Jesus also says in John 10:4 “his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” We were designed and created knowing Jesus’ voice from the beginning. Isn’t it time to silence the competing voices and focus on the One that gives life?
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