How do our thoughts control our life?

Question: “How do our thoughts and mental pictures control our life?  How can improving our thinking improve our life?”

Bible Answers

You can control your thinking for the better or the worse. A Godly attitude can bring greater joy and peace with God, with yourself, with your spouse, and with your children and friends. Godly thinking will provide you greater victory in your life and more of the fuller life God wants you to have.  

Proverbs 23:7 provides us a key to one of the greater secrets of life. For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

What you think in your heart, you picture, what you picture is who you are.  You naturally project your picture to others and others will picture you based on what you are projecting. If you are happy and confident, people will perceive it and believe it.  If you are down, have a poor self-image, they will perceive it and believe it.  Most of those on drugs, who are depressed, or are abusive toward others have a poor self-image.

It is very difficult to change our self-picture until we change our thoughts about ourselves.

Our thoughts and mental pictures are very powerful at controlling our lives.  We need to review our thoughts to see if they are in alignment with God’s Word and what we want of ourselves. We need to start seeing ourselves as God sees us, the sons and daughters of our heavenly Father.


For I am  forgiven of all my sins (Ephesians 1:7).

For I am greatly loved by God (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 2:4)

For I am a joint-heir with Christ (Romans 8:17).

For I can do all things through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:13).

For I am a friend of Jesus Christ (John 15:15).

Click for more verses about Who Am I.


By changing our self-image into an image of being a son or daughter of the King, we will picture ourselves as walking with Him, doing the very works of Jesus through the Holy Spirit. This is what God wants for us. And we all, who … contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18). God wants us to focus on the positives in our lives and banish the negatives.

We can be pro-active by declaring who we want to be. We can say, “I declare that I am a nice guy, that others like me, and that I can do all things through God who strengthens me.”  I do not look to others for approval, but only love them and look to God for approval.  When we look to others for approval, we are on a constant roller coaster of “I am liked”, “I am not liked” depending on how others respond to us. When we see ourselves as God sees us, we will see the positive.

I am not presenting the concept of  positive thinking. Positive confession says, “If you believe hard enough, it will come true.” Christianity says, “This is the Word of God, it is true; therefore I believe it.”


Examples of false and deceptive thinking

Let’s look at some examples of Satan’s deceptive thinking and lies. Do any of these apply to you?


“Do I picture God as mean, uncaring, unloving, old, just waiting to get me?”

“Do I picture myself as unworthy of God’s love, unable to be of service to God, unliked, not friendly, not wanted, and unattractive? Do I picture myself as being a fool, stupid, or a failure?”  

“If sick, do I only see my pain, that it is getting worse, with little hope of healing, or do I believe the Word of God and picture my healing?”

“Do I only see financial problems and picture what the horrid outcome is likely too be, or do I trust God and picture success?”

“Do I have a significant different picture of my spouse than when I married her or him?”  

“Do I have immoral thoughts of the opposite sex?”

“Do I picture my children based on the problems they cause me,  or do I picture my children as what I want them to become?”

“Am I able to talk to others about a multitude of personal experiences in my life, but believe that I cannot talk to others about what Jesus means in my life?”

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have false thinking that needs to be dealt with, needs to be changed by believing you are who God says you are.


We can concentrate on thinking about all of our problems, how bad we have it, and in time, because of our negative attitude, we may start believing that God no longer loves us, or we can concentrate on all the blessing we have received from God.  Our attitudes and thinking determine our life. Science has proven that a positive attitude supports our immune system for greater health, while a negative attitude produces stress that produces poorer health. And negative attitudes support fears that decrease faith in God and thusly decrease God’s blessing.  

A spaceship uses what’s called “attitude thrusters” to change its direction. Sometimes we need to take time to see if our attitude thrusters need adjusting.

A good example of negative and positive thought is a person in foreclosure.  They confess, “My world is collapsing, everything is falling apart, I am losing my house and in two weeks I will be on the street,” and they picture themselves on the street, or they can picture money in their bank account, trusting God, and picturing God taking care of them. I cannot guarantee that your picture of money in the bank will occur, there are many conditions to answered prayer, but I can guarantee that if you see yourself in the street, it is more likely to happen. Your confession of defeat will kill your faith and the curses you speak against yourself are more likely to occur.

We all have negative thoughts from time to time, but the real question is what will you do with your negative thoughts.  

Satan’s Lies

Satan will often deceive us by combining a truth with a lie. For example, you sinned last month and repented. Now Satan tells you “You sinned last month (a truth) and God does not love you (a lie).  Because of the partial truth, we are more likely to believe the deception.

Satan can be very subtle, starting with a hardly noticeable thought that appears to offer little danger, but Satan will over time build upon the thought until it becomes all encompassing and pulls us into sin.  For example, Satan may start with a thought that a co-worker or neighbor is nice, then the co-worker or neighbor is nicer than your spouse, then the co-worker or neighbor is more attractive than your spouse, then you start imagining what a relationship with them would be like, and the mental picture continues to grow until it becomes an obsession that leads to action that may end in divorce.  Satan has over 7,000 years of experience deceiving billions of people. The secret is to cut off the thought before it can grow into a temptation, by remaining on guard and questioning the source of your thoughts.

Sin never just happens. Sin always starts as a thought. James 1:14-15 tells us that uncontrolled thoughts can lead us to hell. …after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our thought life because the road to sin starts in our mind/heart. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

Some people think about past sinful relationships or other sins with fondness. This is just as bad as pornography or entertaining immoral fantasies and requires repentance and asking God to cleanse us of the thoughts.  Make it a habit to think about things that are pure and true. Psalm 66:18 says, If I cherished sin in my heart, the Lord will not listen to my prayers.  

The Bible tells us to aim for perfection (2 Corinthians 13:11), but it is inevitable that we will sin from time-to-time. When we sin, God encourages us not to give up! Ask God to reveal any areas in our thought life that need changing. When we ask the Lord to forgive us, he always does.  

Examples of Godly thinking

Picture of God

I picture God as my loving Father who holds me in His arms. He is all wise and all-powerful, wants the best for me, who will never leaves me, is my Lord, my friend, my helper, and my savior.  He still loves me even when I am doing wrong.  

We cannot see ourselves correctly if we have a false image of God. We learn who God is by studying His love letter. The Holy Spirit wants to help you learn the truth about God. God says in Jeremiah 9:24, Let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord.

Picture of Self

I picture myself as a child of God, walking with God, wanting to please Him, in His love, in His righteousness, and in the authority of God’s power.  

The best way to picture ourselves is to turn to the Word and learn how God pictures us. We need to spend daily time in the Word, learning just how much He loves us and wants to do for us.  Paul said, you can do all things through Christ who strengths you (Phi 4:13). You can be attractive, friendly, liked, and sociable.  You can be loving, understanding, knowledgeable, successful, and capable through Christ who strengths you.  For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.  As you think correctly, your self-picture will change, you will change, what you project will change, and how others see you will change.

To change; change the thinking, change the picture, and you will change.

Picture of Spouse

And I try to picture the good and maintain the picture of what it was like in the beginning, when we were dating.

Do you remember the mental picture you had when you were dating? Is that still the picture you have today? If you let the devil give you negative thoughts, such as, “they are not as affectionate,” “they are not as attractive,” “they are not as kind,” “they are not as nice,” then these thoughts will change your picture of your spouse and you will become less affectionate and less kind.  In time your spouse will respond in kind, and so it goes until you both may end up not even liking each other.  You have a choice - let the devil guide your thinking or let the Word of God. You can replace the devil’s thoughts with positive Godly thoughts.

Remember the 80-year-old guy who affectionately says his wife is as beautiful as the day he met her 60 years ago. No, he is not blind or senile.  But in his love for her, he still retains that picture of her when they met. Do you suppose that his marriage still contained a fire of love?

What do you think would happen if you returned to that original picture of your mate and started treating him or her as when you were dating?  You will change and your mate will have a hard time not responding to your renewed love, kindness, and affection.

Picture of kids and friends

Start thinking of them as you would like them to be and you will start picturing them that way, and you will project those thoughts to lead them in that direction. Start blessing your family with those Godly attributes you would like to see.

Picture of others

People can often be rude and unkind, either unintentionally or intentionally. I can get offended, have my feelings hurt and possibly retaliate. However, I do not know why they are acting unkindly, or what problems they may have, so I try to give them the benefit of the doubt. It leaves the door open and shows God’s love.

Picture of prayer

Thinking on the problem only brings fear and uncertainty. Thinking on the answer, picturing the answer, and sometimes I picturing the river of life flowing from the throne of God to me or the person I am praying for.  It helps wash away doubt and builds faith that what I am praying is in the Lord’s will, in His name, and if I doubt not, but believe, I will receive what I asked for in prayer and pictured.

Let me encourage you to think and picture positively in all aspects of your life in accordance with the Word of God.

Do I fail in my thoughts

Do I let the devil’s deceptive thoughts in sometimes? Absolutely, and sometimes my false thoughts will lead me into something that is wrong, that is not pleasing to God.

I can believe that God is angry with me because of my sin and in His great anger will punish me, which is false thinking. Rather, I have learned that God is loving and patient and He gently reminds me that I am doing wrong, that I need to repent, and He shows me the way back to the right path so that I may continue in His love.

How do we gain false or negative thoughts

False thinking, attitudes, and thoughts come from false conclusions, thoughts from the enemy, and thoughts from others that are often from the enemy.

Sometimes a parent may say “You are worthless, you will never amount to anything.” Or it can be a remark by a friend, co-worker, family member, or enemy. We keep hearing it, we start believing it, and then we put the curse into action by picturing it.  For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

Can I change

The big question is, can I change.  The answer is yes, if I want too. The problem is that we believe Satan’s lies and the pictures they form in us, and we accept the deception. It is often very hard to see the deception, but if we look at the results of our thinking in our pictures and actions, we will more clearly see the result of the deception. It is easier to cast the deception out when it can be identified. In my case, I am likely to replay past hurts and losses until I realize what I am doing, choosing to change channels, I cast the thought away in the name of Jesus and start thinking of the Lord. Then instead of being brought down, I am brought up.

How to overcome false thoughts

The more you think about something, the stronger it takes hold of you, which is why the Bible teaches that we should, Run from anything that gives you evil thoughts . . . but stay close to anything that makes you want to do right (2 Timothy 2:22).

1.  Pray for God’s help and protection

The first step is repented of all sin and unforgiveness, and asking God to help you.  He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one (2 Thes. 3:3).

2.  Pursue God and His Word

Knowing the Word of God provides a standard to judge the truth of our thoughts.  If you have any negative thought, find a scripture to replace the negative thought. If a scripture does not come to mind, just start praising God. You cannot think negative thoughts when you are praising the Lord.

3.  Cast Out Negative Thoughts

Cast out negative thoughts by saying, “In the name of Jesus, I bind this thought and cast it out.”  

Sometimes this means physically leaving a tempting situation. Get up and turn off the television set. Walk away from a group that is gossiping. Leave the theater if the movie becomes crude. To avoid being stung, stay away from the bees.

Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts (Proverbs 4:23).

Our minds can only think about one thing at a time. If you catch yourself dwelling on negative thoughts, make a conscious choice to switch to positive thoughts. Think on good times, happy times, and pleasant times.  If we think on the positive there is no room left for the negative. Picture the positive and picture yourself being positive.

Philippians 4:8 provides guidance on how to think. …if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  

Start your day off with prayer and praise, and thank Him for all the blessings He has provided, is providing, and will provide.  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever (Psalm 107:1).

Let me give you a true-life example of how a situation can provide choices of how you view a situation. A fisherman rowed his boat out of a little fishing village to fish. He did not get very far when a sudden storm swept in and started to capsize the boat. The storm was so severe that he did not know which way to row home. Suddenly he saw a faint red light, believing it was from the harbor, he started rowing. When he got close enough to see the harbor, he no longer saw the red light. His wife met him at the docks. She told him that their house had caught on fire and that they had lost everything. She then became upset with her husband because he did not seam concerned. He said to her, you are concerned because we lost our house, I am thankful because it saved my life.  


We can let negative thoughts run over and over again in our mind or we can trust God and dwell on the positive of His Word.  Your life is before you and with God’s help, it can be all that He has planned for you.  Earnestly seek God for strength to overcome the negative and He will give it to you. It is your mind, and you can change your thinking, that will change your picture, that will change who you are. Rather than curse yourself, you can bless yourself.  You can have a more blessed life.

The following is offered as a prayer.

Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask for your help, that the lies, deceptions, and strongholds of my mind may be demolished by your divine power, that every argument would be cast down, and that every thought may be taken captive to make it obedient to Christ.  Help me to see the negatives and to cast them away, to replace them with the positive Word of God that I may see you in your Glory and see myself as your beloved child, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Isaiah 40:31 tells us how choosing to have positive Godly thoughts will lift us up.  …those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.

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