Last week, I shared about the importance of exercising discretion in the messages you listen to.  I encouraged leaders to avoid messages from people who are just trying to discourage you.  Now, I want to go a step further and teach about the messages you listen to in your own mind.

Yes, the principle of “selective hearing” can be applied in multiple ways.  You may not have people talking negatively about you, but you may struggle with accusations in the form of negative thoughts.  It’s often said that our biggest spiritual battles are fought in our minds. 

You see, the Bible refers to the devil as “the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10, NIV).  You may “hear” the accuser in your mind through thoughts such as “I’m not good enough,” … “Nobody likes me,” … or “I’m going to fail.”  But be assured that those thoughts of defeat didn’t originate from God! 

God is called “the One who lifts up my head” (Psalm 3:3, NKJV).  His thoughts will encourage you, inspire you, and lift you up.  But while God is trying to lift you higher, the devil is trying to pull you down.  He works in our thought life to plant seeds of defeat, doubt, fear, and anxiety.  But when we’re carrying such burdens in our minds, we can’t run the race God has called us to run, and we certainly won’t be a help to others.    

Have you ever noticed that it seems more difficult to hear from God when you feel stressed out or overwhelmed?  It’s hard to be led by the Spirit when you’re distressed and dismayed.  That’s why the devil wants to keep us in a downcast state of mind. 

We must be aware of his strategy and take control of our thought life.  Think on good things, not bad.  The apostle Paul admonished, “Whatever things are true, … noble, … just, … pure, … lovely, … of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8). 

So, what do we do with the thoughts that don’t meet these criteria?  In another scripture, Paul taught to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, NIV).  When negative thoughts enter you mind, dismiss them as soon as they come; don’t dwell on them.    

Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10, NKJV).  Let that truth be the litmus test for your thought life.  Thoughts that steal your joy and kill your dreams come from the devil; thoughts that bring life and hope to your soul come from the Lord.

One of my most common prayers is, “Lord, help me to think the right way.”  I believe this is one of the most important keys to leadership.  To be an effective leader, you must have the right mindset.  We can’t be effective leaders of others if we’re downcast ourselves with a defeated mindset.  We need to be victory minded.

So, what’s on your mind today?  Take control of your thoughts and remember to think on good things.  Pray for the supernatural ability to demonstrate selective hearing and thinking.  Let’s listen for truth from God, not lies from the accuser.

Leadership Lesson: Think about what you’re thinking about; choose to think on good things.