Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8
Changing your mind from a dwelling place for any fleshly, negative and sinful thought to an honorable one is a mind game. Cognitive behavioral therapy centers on changing the way you think to change your actions. The Bible certainly advocates this, like Philippians 4:8 and others like Romans 8:5-6, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
I read this classic sermon given by Scottish preacher Thomas Chalmers, “The Expulsive Power of a New Affection.” (GLS Publishing) His point is basically this: The best way of casting out an impure affection is to admit a pure one; and by the love of what is good, to expel the love of what is evil. Chalmers continues, “ A new affection is more successful in replacing an old affection than simply trying to end it without supplanting it with something better.” In other words, if you want to break a bad habit, find a good habit to replace it with, don’t just quit the bad habit.
The phrase that sticks in my mind about getting away from a bad habit or thought pattern is to overwhelm it with the opposite good. So, if you want to think of things that are true, honorable, just, pure, etc. then immerse yourself in worship songs. Or better yet, memorize Scripture. Be radical about it. One more quote from Chalmers: “What can not be thus destroyed, may be dispossessed–and one taste may be made to give way to another, and to lose its power entirely as the reigning affection of the mind.” Expel the old love of your life that is fleshly and not pleasing to God with a new affection that is pleasing to God. Overwhelm your mind with the new good thing that is set on the things of the Spirit.
A dear friend that was absorbed in many addictions became a Christian and joined a church that is radical about serving Jesus. She expelled the old love of alcohol, some drugs, and carousing by overwhelming her affections with a new love of fellowship with believers, studying the Bible and helping others. This takes planning and perseverance, along with discipline and desperacy.
What negative thought or habit pattern do you need to overwhelm with the positive good today?