What does God want us to think about?

God wants us to think about many important things in life. As human beings created in God’s image, we have been gifted with the ability to reflect, ponder and make choices. Our thoughts shape who we are, how we live and relate to God. In the opening section, we will provide quick answers to key questions about what kinds of thoughts God wants us to cultivate.

What are some things God wants us to think about?

  • God’s love, grace and salvation
  • Living according to God’s word and commandments
  • Serving others and caring for those in need
  • Using our talents and abilities for God’s purposes
  • Pursuing righteousness, peace and justice

Why does it matter what we think about?
Our thoughts influence our actions, attitudes, values and priorities. God wants us to fill our minds with things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). Our thoughts should honor God and reflect His character.

How can we align our thoughts with God’s will?
We can align our thoughts with God’s will by reading the Bible, praying, meditating on scripture, listening to biblical teaching and putting off worldly thinking. The Holy Spirit renews our minds as we pursue Christ.

What happens when our thinking goes against God’s ways?
When we fill our minds with things like greed, lust, envy, pride and hatred, it leads to sinful actions and spiritual decay. We drift away from God and His purpose for our lives. Wrong thinking causes relationship conflicts, poor decision making and separation from God.

Godly Thought Life

Cultivating a godly thought life is a critical priority if we want to live as followers of Jesus. Our brains are constantly receiving input and generating ideas through inner dialogue and imagination. Scripture has much to say about our thought lives. The book of Proverbs particularly emphasizes the importance of right thinking and warns against deceptive and destructive thought patterns. As Philippians 4:8 instructs, God wants us to develop pure, elevating thought habits that shape us into mature disciples. Here are some key areas for our thinking.

Meditate on God’s Word and Truth

Psalm 119, the longest psalm in the Bible, celebrates the beauty and value of God’s word. Verse 15 says, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.” Verse 148 adds, “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.” God wants us to dwell on His wise and loving instructions. As we read, study, memorize and meditate on the Bible, we gain perspective, direction and hope for life’s challenges. Biblical meditation renews our minds and reorients us to God’s purposes when worldly thinking clouds our vision.

The psalms also portray meditation as focused reflection on God Himself – His majesty, goodness, faithfulness and care for His children. When we deliberately meditate on who God is and how He has revealed Himself, especially through Christ, our faith grows stronger. Regular study and meditation on scripture keeps our minds centered on God’s eternal truth rather than the changing circumstances of life.

Reject Lies and Negative Thoughts

While God wants us to meditate on truth, He also tells us to reject lies, false reasoning, worry, bitterness, lust and other unhealthy thought patterns. Philippians 4:8 specifically tells us to focus our minds on things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. There is no room for false or destructive thoughts.

Jesus emphasized the critical link between our thought lives and moral choices. In Matthew 15:18-20 he said:

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person.

Paul warns against being conformed to worldly thinking and tells us to renew our minds and reject destructive mindsets (Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-24). Our thought patterns profoundly impact our relationship with God. We must reject mental strongholds that oppose God’s truth and will (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Think About Things That Are True, Noble, Right

The key to changing our thought patterns is to actively choose what we focus our minds on. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

This verse provides a filter to evaluate our thoughts. When we catch ourselves dwelling on something false, impure, cynical or fearful, we can make the choice to redirect our minds according to this standard.

Thinking true, positive thoughts doesn’t come automatically. It takes intention and practice. Too often we operate on autopilot, absorbing ideas and mindsets from media, advertising and culture without conscious thought. But as Christians, we can train our minds through prayer, study, worship, meditation and other spiritual disciplines to align with God’s perspective and reject distorted thinking.

Set Thoughts on Things Above

In Colossians 3, Paul instructs believers to set their hearts and minds on things above rather than earthly things. Eternal priorities like knowing Christ, loving others, pursuing holiness and storing up heavenly treasure should define our thinking. This passage also parallels the idea that our thoughts inform our actions. Paul writes, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Thinking about heavenly realities puts struggles and needs in perspective. As we set our minds on the bigger picture of God’s kingdom and purposes, we can trust Him in everyday life on earth. Our thought lives should connect to God’s eternal values rather than short-term pleasures and pursuits.

Think About Others’ Needs

In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul instructs the church to adopt the mindset of Jesus, who looked to others’ interests before His own:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

God wants us to think about how we can serve, encourage and meet needs around us. It’s easy to go through life focused only on ourselves – our problems, desires and ambitions. But when we take the time to consider other people’s struggles and how we might help, our lives take on a new purpose.

This applies globally as well. God is concerned with the poor, oppressed and marginalized across the world. He wants us to see their plight and take action through giving, advocacy and mission work. Shifting our thinking from “me” to “others” changes how we spend our time, money and energy in profound ways. It also leads to a life of greater meaning, connection and impact. As Philippians 2:5 reminds us, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”

Cultivate Wisdom, Discernment and Understanding

The book of Proverbs repeatedly connects wisdom with our thought lives. “Get wisdom, get understanding” we’re told in Proverbs 4:5. Wisdom begins by fearing the Lord (Prov. 1:7, 9:10). As we fill our minds with God’s truth, gain life experience and depend on the Holy Spirit, we can grow in discernment and understand people, circumstances and decisions more clearly. Wise thinking leads to prudent choices that honor God. Foolish or simple thinking leads to trouble.

God wants us to think carefully about life choices regarding relationships, finances, time management and more rather than relying on feelings or worldly advice. We need God’s perspective. “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17). Seeking Christlike wisdom should be a lifelong pursuit as we meditate on God’s word and encounter various situations and dilemmas.

Think About Praiseworthy Things

Our thoughts not only inform actions but also reveal the state of our hearts. Paul encourages believers in Philippians 4:8 to intentionally shift our mind’s focus: “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

This includes moral and ethical matters but also whatever brings joy, inspiration, beauty and creativity. God is the ultimate source of truth, nobility, righteousness, purity and loveliness. As we set our thoughts on the gifts and miracles of creation, the wonder of life, simple blessings and acts of human kindness, our hearts swell with gratitude. Contemplating life’s inherent goodness lifts our spirits from cynicism and anxiety.

A mindset of praise flows from recognizing God’s love and grace at work in the world. We can develop a keen eye for the splashes of beauty all around us, from stunning sunsets to the smile of a child. “I will meditate on your wonderful works” the psalmist proclaims (Psalm 119:27). Noticing and giving thanks for God’s gifts each day transforms our outlook.

The Impact of Our Thought Life

The Bible makes it abundantly clear our thought lives hold incredible power. Wrong thoughts lead to sin, corruption and estrangement from God. Pure, godly thoughts produce good fruit in our lives. Our thoughts influence who we become. That’s why scripture places such emphasis on controlling our minds and thinking rightly. The following are key ways our thoughts impact us.

Thoughts Shape Character and Identity

Proverbs 23:7 states, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Our thought patterns form habits that influence character, values and identity. Just as repeated actions become instinct, recurring thoughts ingrain themselves in our sense of self. If we cultivate meekness, joy, patience and other godly attitudes in our thought patterns, they increasingly define who we are.

Thoughts Influence Actions and Behavior

Jesus taught that evil actions flow from evil thoughts within our hearts (Mark 7:20-23). David’s lustful thoughts led him into adultery (2 Samuel 11:2-4). When Ananias conceived the thought of deceiving the Apostles, he carried it out (Acts 5:3-4). Our thoughts propel actions, for better or worse. Purposefully shifting thoughts translates to changed behavior.

Thoughts Impact Mental and Physical Health

Scientific studies consistently demonstrate the mind-body connection. Chronic negative thinking and worry increase anxiety, depression and stress while raising blood pressure and lowering immunity. In contrast, positive thoughts and attitudes are linked to better health outcomes. Scripture affirms this principle: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Prov. 17:22).

Thoughts Affect Relationships and Community

Selfish thinking strains relationships. Judgmental attitudes divide people. Cherishing vengeful thoughts poisons communities. Conversely, humility and compassion strengthen social bonds. Seeking to understand rather than judge improves relationships. Loving thoughts breed love. As Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:34). Our social interactions start with mindset.

Thought Life Impacts Our Connection with God

Sinful, willful thoughts erect barriers between us and God. Doubts about God’s goodness undermine faith. Entitlement and indifference drift us from reliance on Him. But humility, trust and reverence draw us closer to God’s heart. Setting our minds on things above deepens intimacy with Christ through the Spirit. As Proverbs 4:23 urges, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Our thoughts shape our spiritual life.

Changing Thought Habits

Since our thought lives hold tremendous sway over the trajectory of life, putting off ungodly thoughts and cultivating spiritual thinking is crucial. This process requires persistence, discipline and regular self-evaluation. Here are some practical ways to change thought habits:

Read and Memorize Scripture

Immerse your mind in God’s truth and perspectives by consistently reading the Bible. Write down key verses on cards to carry with you. The Psalms in particular teach us to reject fretful thinking and rejoice in God’s sovereignty. Let scripture renew your mental frameworks. As this happens, thoughts will increasingly align with God’s will.

Engage in Prayer and Worship

Bringing requests and praises to God recalibrates our outlook. Thanking God for blessings counteracts negative thought patterns. Honest confession and intercession for others shifts self-focus. Listening and responding to the Spirit guides thinking. Valuing God’s presence through worship directs thoughts toward spiritual things.

Practice Mindfulness of Thoughts

Mental mindfulness simply means paying attention to your thoughts without judgment. Notice when your inner monologue expresses worry, resentment, envy or lust. Don’t condemn yourself. Just acknowledge these thoughts so you can first evaluate them against Philippians 4:8. Then make the choice to change your mental narrative when needed. Stay alert to thought habits over time.

Limit Toxic Inputs

What we consume through media feeds our thought life. Set boundaries on input from news, movies, music, internet and relationships that stirs up unhealthy thoughts. Instead, read books, listen to speakers and build connections that nourish godly thinking. Our thoughts respond to what we feed our minds, so choose wisely.

Replace with God’s Truth

Simply trying to stop unhealthy thoughts is usually ineffective. The most powerful method is to intentionally replace them with truth. Combat worry with affirmations of God’s sovereignty, lies with scriptural facts. When tempted toward bitterness, consciously meditate on grace. Actively filling your mind with righteousness pushes out destructive thinking.

Envision Right Actions

If certain situations trigger anger or lust, picture responding rightly in that scenario. For example, envision patiently enduring insults or averting eyes from alluring images. Athletes and musicians mentally rehearse actions to program optimal responses. We can apply this technique to moral and spiritual challenges.

Confess and Seek Accountability

Admitting unhealthy thoughts to a trusted friend allows them to offer perspective and prayer. This practice also builds self-awareness. James 5:16 instructs, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Godly counsel provides strength to reshape thinking.


Our thought lives have tremendous impact on the trajectory of life and faith. God cares deeply about our thinking because thoughts influence character, actions and relationships. The Bible offers instruction to reject destructive mindsets rooted in falsehood and sin. God calls us to cultivate thinking aligned with His truth and purposes. Implementing practical spiritual disciplines can help transform thought patterns away from darkness and toward Christ. As we fill our minds with the light of God’s word, our lives will overflow with righteousness, wisdom and joy.

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