How to be Self-controlled in What We Say (updated)

A child has no filter when they speak. A child will speak whatever is on their mind. As adults, we think it is cute. When an adult has no filter, it is not cute, just offensive. Self-control begins in your mind. Your mind determines what you think, perceive, feel, and believe, which influences your decisions and behaviors. Your mind stores memories of the past and present that controls your thoughts and feelings. So, to be self-controlled we must transform our minds.

My last two posts explain how and why childhood issues need to be transformed so we can be self-controlled. The Link Between Disappointment, Resentment, and Self-control   and Self-control and Maturity.

Do you know what is in your mind? What you think? How you feel?

To transform your mind, you first must become aware of what is in your mind. Since God is the all-knowing Spirit who created us, ask Him to show you, because He knows all your thoughts and ways. Psalm 139:1-4 state, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2) You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3) You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4) Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. Jeremiah 17:9,10 state, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10) ‘I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.’” Also read Revelations 2:23. If you do not want to be rewarded according to your evil thoughts, then you need to ask God to reveal them, so you can repent and put them out of your mind. Remember, we reap a lot more than we sow (see Galatians 6:7,8). Psalm 139:23,24 state, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!

How do we transform our minds?

The bible says a lot about how we are to think and be self-controlled in all areas of our life. In fact, Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Transforming your mind happens as you look to Jesus for help as you read the Scriptures. Transform means to take another form and renew means to make new. The phrase, “that by testing you may discern” is also translated in the King James Version as “that you may prove.” The meaning of these two phrases is commonly applied to testing the quality of metals by fire. Spiritually, these two phrases indicate, as your mind is renewed you will be able to pass the test and understand the will of God, and what is written in the Bible. So, as your mind is renewed you will become more self-controlled and will be able to love well. My short-book on my website explains the scientific and spiritual research for why and how to transform our minds to achieve a self-controlled life.

How to control your tongue.

When we control how we think with the help of God, then we can control how we speak, and be mature. This can only be done by continually abiding with Jesus in the heavenly places through prayer, which can be accomplished by turning every thought into a prayer. See my post called, Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?

The Bible says we are to bridle our tongue to control it, like we bridle a horse to control it. James 1:26 states, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” And, James 3:2,3 state, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle (control) his whole body. 3)  If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.” Some people have problems gossiping, complaining, being critical, and arguing. Why?  How can we live blameless lives before God (Philippians 1:9-11)?

(Update:  I know I am being vulnerable, but I hope it helps you in some way.  A few days after I posted this, I wrote a negative venting email to my friend while under the control of my feelings, and spoke negative about my someone.  I felt the conviction to not write what I did (should have heeded the Holy Spirit), but I did it anyway.  At 4:30 a.m. the next morning, God put His finger on my heart about it.  I repented and ask Him what I could do to not let my feelings control my responses.  God said (paraphrase), talk to Him first.  A few hours later, I had the opportunity to do just that.  I prayed about a difficult situation I was getting emotional about and WOW, it worked.  I was able to respond logically and under the Holy Spirit’s control.)

It is one thing to know the right thing to do and say, but another thing to do it.  For example, I wrote a helpful post called Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without   so I know what I should be thinking, now I need to discipline myself to do this daily.  You can never be perfect at something unless you practice all the time.  You have my permission to print out my post on “Thoughts that Create Peace Within and Without” to practice training your mind.  The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:9: What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

When events don’t go as planned is stressful, and we sometimes, or often, lose self-control of our feelings and do and say things we shouldn’t.  The next time you are tempted to lose control of your emotions, excuse yourself from the situation and answer the following questions to bridle your tongue before your mouth spills hurtful words.

What is the expectation not being met? (Take a deep breath and accept the disappointment and the fact that not everything will go the way you want it to.)

  1. What are the wrong thoughts I need to capture and loose from my mind?  (Take a deep breath and ask God to show you.  It may not be right away, but He will.)
  2. What is the false belief or offense driving my thoughts, which need to be loosed from my mind?  (Take a deep breath and ask God to show you, and the memory that needs to be healed.)
  3. What is the problem that needs to be solved?
  4. What are some solutions?
  5. What are Biblical truths I can bind to my mind to renew it and transform my attitude.
  6. What can I be thankful for?

There is hope for complete transformation of your reactions when you depend on God to show what is in your mind and seek His help to renew your mind through the Holy Scriptures. You can be self-controlled in what you say as your mind is transformed by God’s love.

Helpful posts to read:

POSTS on Thoughts

Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE

A POWERFUL MOOD CHANGER

Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul

Psalm 91:5-6 – DO NOT FEAR THE UNSEEN

When we find refuge under the wings of God’s truth and faithfulness, we do not have to fear the unseen. To fear is to feel anxious or agitated by the presence or nearness of real or imagined danger, evil, pain, etc.

Psalms 91:5-6 states, You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day; 6) nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.”

Albert Barnes wrote in his commentary that the Septuagint (one of the first Bible translations) and the Latin Vulgate interpret verse six as “Nor of mischance and the demon of noonday.” Mischance means an unfortunate accident or bad luck. I believe the earlier translations are closer to the original text because I see this Psalm describing how we are protected from the demonic spirits that attack our minds. Also, I interpret the terror of the night as bad dreams and discomforts Satan puts on us while we sleep. The next two testimonies illustrate this.

Mark Brubeck believes that many afflictions are from demonic attacks. In his book, The Adversary, he wrote the following account. His daughter was 11 years old when she became afflicted by fears, physical nausea, and colitis symptoms at bedtime, which became progressively worse as the night went on. Medical professionals could not help her. Mark and his wife suspected demons were to blame. So, they prayed over her commanding the demon(s) causing the fear, nausea, colitis, destruction, and deception to come out of her. The demon(s) left her, and she had no more fear and digestive issues during the night. Brubeck believes Satan will use every opportunity we give him to claim ground against us. Fear opens our mind to allow demons to access our emotions and physical health. So, we should verbally pronounce God’s protection over our minds.

Maxwell Whyte shared the following incident in his book, Demons & Deliverance, of a demonic attack that happened to him and his wife. One night, he felt his life was being choked out of him to the point of near death. He wrote that he cried “the blood” three times, and a demon departed. The next night the same thing happened to his wife, and she called on the blood of Christ. Whyte believes no demon can afflict those who apply by faith the blood of Christ and testify of God’s protection (see Revelations 12:11). Remember, our words have power, especially when we use the name of Jesus and the authority, we have in Him.  I explain this in greater detail in the book listed on this website.  2–Removing Blocks to Healing

I interpret the arrow that flies by day as the lies and accusations Satan shoots into our minds (see Ephesians 6:14-17).  He also puts false beliefs into our minds that do not line up with the truth of God’s Word. The pestilence that stalks in darkness is the shameful allurements Satan uses to cause us to want to sin. Remember, all actions begin with a thought, which we can take captive and make it obey Christ Jesus. We don’t see deception coming, but if we continually hide in the shelter of God through prayer, praise, pondering, and believing the truth, then we won’t fear because we will be under His protection.

Fear should alert us that we are not praying and trusting God. Fear is believing and confessing wrong thoughts and false beliefs. 2 Corinthians 5:7 states, “for we walk by faith, not by sight.” Faith is the opposite of fear. Faith finds refuge in the promises and truths of God.  On the other hand, fear focuses on the problem which makes us vulnerable to being wounded in our souls.

For example, David did not deny the existence of the giant (see 1 Samuel 17). He compared the size of the giant to the size of God. By faith David chose to believe the promises of God and defeated the giant.  In the same way, Satan attempts to paralyze us with fear so that we lose our confidence in God. The story of David and Goliath is a classic example of being paralyzed by fear. Goliath used the power of his words to intimidate and inflict terror on the Israeli army, which immobilized them.

The prophet Elijah was paralyzed by fear when Jezebel vowed to kill him after he had slaughtered the Baal prophets on Mt. Carmel (see 1 Kings 18). Ironically, he became fearful after God demonstrated His power on Mt. Carmel. What did he fear? Did he not believe God could deliver him from the hand of Jezebel? Words have power, and they create thoughts in our minds which then control our emotions and actions. We can take those thoughts captive by loosing them and binding in the truths found in the Word of God.

[!] Do you find yourself being immobilized by a fear that prevents you from being able to reason normally?

Fears can be overwhelming. Most fears, especially irrational fears, originating from what we watch on TV or in the movies, or what we read. For example, irrational fear controls the decisions of people who are preparing for the worst disasters that may never happen.

!! Ask God to show you any words spoken or things you have seen that cause you to fear.

!! Use the power of your words to loose the memory of these words or images from your mind.

Read through all the Psalms and note every passage related to protection, deliverance from troubles, and God as our refuge. This exercise will greatly encourage you and strengthen your faith.

Other Related Posts

Four Realities of the Spirit World

Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

ANXIETY: Protected by Worry and Fear Strongholds

ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL

15 Promises We Can Trust God to Keep

Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

We learned in the last two posts that our thoughts control our destiny, and we can control our thoughts. Please read my previous two posts if you haven’t already. In this post, I want to share more specifically how to control your thoughts. In the post called ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL, I explained how I tend to let my thinking go to extremes of anger, and then to worry.  I use the truths in the Bible for my inspiration because it is the authority for how we should think. How we think dictates how well we love.

To break my negative thought cycles, I would consciously choose to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks for this is God’s will” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  To rejoice always is to choose to focus your thoughts continually on things that make you glad, happy, or delighted.  Rejoice in Jesus and how you are forgiven and free from the control of sin, etc.  Rejoice in the fact that God is faithful, and nothing is impossible with Him.

Next, pray without ceasing by turning every thought into a prayer. If you think of someone, pray for them. If you are upset about something, ask God to help you forgive or whatever you need God to do.  If you are tempted to give in to your fleshly desires, pray for help to resist.  By praying we are practicing the presence of God in our lives as Brother Lawrence teaches.

In everything give thanks, which does not leave anything out.  Have an attitude of gratitude.  Imagine, if you rejoice, pray, and be thankful all the time, you would never be depressed, miserable, angry, etc.  When I focus my thoughts on these three things, I feel peaceful, so I don’t act miserably and make others miserable.  Breaking negative thought cycles takes work and discipline, but it is well worth it.

The Apostle Paul also taught the Philippians how to safeguard their minds. In Philippians 4:4-8 he lays out four ways to create a healthy thought life.

  1. Have an attitude of praise and gratitude. “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4 NIV) – To rejoice in the Lord always is to worship the Lord and all He is with thanksgiving. Philippians 3:1 also states, Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. …it is a safeguard for you.” A safeguard is a protective stipulation. Rejoicing protects our minds from destructive thoughts of anger, malice, envy, worry, fear, etc. Things to rejoice and be glad for, and be thankful for, can be found in Who God is — Daily A-C-T-S Prayers, I encourage you to add this page to your favorite list and visit this page daily.
  2. Let prayer occupy your thoughts all the time, especially during times of emotional stress. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6 NIV). Also, Ephesians 6:18 states, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions (all the time) with all kinds of prayers and requests.” So, how do we pray in the Spirit all the time?  It is our spirit with the Holy Spirit in us that prays through our minds to God. Read Four Realities of the Spirit World to learn about the interactions of the spirit world. You can also pray in the spirit through a spiritual language you receive when you pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to fill you (see Acts 19:6 and 1 Corinthians 14:2&14).  Prayer with thanksgiving is a way to productively channel your emotional energy. If you tend to worry or be angry, then read the following posts to learn how to be free to choose different thoughts and break the cycle: Anger Issues Protected by Pride and Judgmental Strongholds and ANXIETY: Protected by Worry and Fear Strongholds
  3. Choose where you let your thoughts dwell. You have control of your thoughts, so use that control to your benefit and the benefit of others.  “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble (honorable), whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Phil. 4:8 NIV emphasis added) – Be proactive about your thought life! Choose to think true and positive thoughts described in this verse. Write down an example for each type of thought that would pertain to your life. For example:
  • True thoughts are based on what you read in the Bible, so focus on scriptural truths about yourself, others, God, and the world around you.  My short book on this website has over 100 true thoughts to think on.
  • Noble or honorable thoughts could be thoughts about what you can do to help others or to show kindness to a crabby person, or show love to someone who is difficult to love, etc.
  • Right thoughts could be thoughts about what is good and what you like about a person or something. For example, I must walk a ½ mile to my office building from where I park.  When the weather is crappy, it is hard to have right thoughts.  Right thoughts are to think of the good exercise I am getting that I wouldn’t get otherwise, the fresh air I am breathing to detoxify my lungs and body, more time to pray, etc.
  • Pure thoughts could be thinking good about people and not judgmental thoughts. Choose to think pure thoughts about the opposite sex, instead of obscene thoughts. Choose to view movies and TV shows or read material that generate pure thoughts. In Psalms 101:3a, King David said, “I will set no worthless thing before my eyes;” Make this verse your priority to protect your mind from wicked and evil words and images, so your thoughts remain pure.
  • Lovely thoughts could be thinking about someone you love or thinking about how much God loves you that He would send His son to die and atone for our sin. And how His son, Jesus, would willingly do this for ungrateful people who reject Him.
  • Admirable thoughts could be thoughts that marvel at God’s creation, goodness, and mercy. Or, think about things that are done excellently, like a beautiful garden or some other good works.
  1. Your thoughts determine the beliefs and attitudes of your heart. When you practice thinking the thoughts listed above your mind is at peace, and you will be at peace with others and life. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7 NIV) – This verse is conditional and is based on following the previous principles of thinking. So, when you rejoice, pray, be thankful, and think good thoughts, you are inviting God into your thought life and valuing yourself and others.

Thoughts come from all directions.  Thoughts come from our experiences and the words we read and hear. I wrote two posts about the power of our words and how they influence us.

WORDS HAVE POWER—Part I: Overcoming The Destruction of Offensive Words

WORDS HAVE POWER—PART II: Words produce death or life energy

ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL

Has this ever happened to you?  My son finished his fourth year of college out of five and it is not cool to talk to his mom.  I find out from my husband that he received two awards, one was for having the highest GPA in Architectural Engineering.  So, I took offense and I thought, well, why didn’t he tell me when I asked what has been happening in his life.  Why wasn’t I invited to the awards ceremony?  Who was invited instead of me?  My thoughts kept going like a fire.  I could not sleep; I woke up depressed.  All my muscles were tense with anxiety.  I had the unhealthy belief that my son did not love me.  I believed he will shut me out of his life, and I will never see my grandchildren.  BOO-HOO.  This example is only a smattering of how my thoughts quickly got out of control.

I know all thoughts are within my control.  So, I told myself to STOP thinking those wrong thoughts and taking an offense.  I talked to myself and acknowledged that I was disappointed because my expectations were not met, but that doesn’t mean it is the end of our relationship.   The Bible teaches us to forgive, rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and be thankful in everything.  I refocused my thoughts on good thoughts and what I can be thankful for.  I prayed and asked God to take my anxious thoughts and unhealthy beliefs from me and the resulting stress energy.  I felt better immediately.

I decided to text my son to let him know I was disappointed when I was not invited to the awards ceremony and how proud I was of his achievement.  He called me right away and told me (in a funny way) to get over myself and stop my pity party because the awards ceremony was not open to family and friends.  I had a good laugh at myself.  By that time, I accepted that those we love will disappoint us, and we will disappoint them.

So, where did those wrong thoughts originate?  I asked God to show me where those thoughts flowed from.  He showed me that I was feeling insecure about my relationship with my son, and my insecure feelings generated my wrong thinking and unhealthy beliefs.   Could an unseen evil spirt have planted the thoughts that make me feel insecure?  What is generating your thoughts?  Hurt feelings, insecurity, disappointments, unmet expectations, etc.  My short book on my website helps you to discover the sources of wrong thinking.  1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

I know the topic of thoughts is vast and mind-boggling, but my research is specific to the influence of unseen spiritual forces that affect our thinking.  Thinking about what controls our thinking and how our thoughts influence us is hard enough, now I have added the unseen spirit world.  The Bible records many instances of how the devil influences people’s thinking.  I use Biblical accounts because the Bible was written by God, as He influenced men’s minds to record His words.  Therefore, the Bible is the authority on spiritual and relational issues.  To learn more about who God is and the unseen spirit forces around us, read my post called, Four Realities of the Spirit World.

The following Biblical account is the first example of planted thoughts, which most of you already know or have heard of it.  God created Adam and Eve in a garden and told them not to eat from the tree in the center of the garden.  Satan (an evil spirit) takes the form of a serpent and climbs the forbidden tree.  He causes Eve to doubt what God told her is the truth about dying.  The devil tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit by enticing her to desire it and then persuaded her that if she eats it, she will be like God, knowing good and evil (see Genesis 3:4).  This thought appealed to her pride.  Interesting, the devil’s sin was pride, because he also wanted to be independent of God, which broke his relationship with God.  The wrong thought then caused Eve to look at the fruit and desire to eat it.  Her desire then compelled her to sin and eat the fruit.  This process shows how unseen wrong thinking led to disobedience and separation from God.

Temptations also create thoughts of offense, which then generate unhealthy, false beliefs.  Satan’s temptation may have caused Eve to think and believe:  “How could a loving God keep such a beautiful piece of fruit from me?” and “Why should Adam and I not know good from evil and be like God?”

??  What were Eve’s mistakes? 

Her first mistake was to reason with the serpent (the devil).  Her second mistake was to consider disobeying God.  The third mistake was to entertain the wrong thought and be enticed to look at and desire the fruit.  And the ultimate mistake was to give into her fleshly desire and disobey God’s good and just command.  The devil still uses the same temptation of living independent of God on all of humanity.

Until we recognize our thoughts and rule over them, they will continually control our beliefs, feelings, behavior, and destiny.  We daily face temptations that appeal to our self-centered desires to live independent of God.  Satan has not changed his tactics since tempting Eve.  All unseen battles begin as a thought that is within our control.  The girls in the prison system were told that if they withstand temptation for seven seconds, they can overcome the temptation.  I encourage them to replace the wrong thought creating the desire for the harmful activity with a healthy thought based on Scriptural truth.

??  How do our thoughts dictate our actions?

My mind used to be controlled by thoughts of fear, which would cause my adrenaline to go up.  Before I could stop it, I was in a panic—over nothing—except thoughts that needed to be taken captive.  And because of all the conflicts from my past, I realized I was constantly in a flight or fight mode, which created stress in my body.  I would sometimes imagine a confrontation with someone that would never happen.  I would get all upset and angry because of wrong thoughts, which needed to be taken captive and loosed from my mind.

To learn more about dealing with unhealthy beliefs read: Identify and Replace False Beliefs.

 

Identify and Replace False Beliefs

A false or unhealthy belief is a lie about the true nature of reality about us, life, and God. For example, if you believe you are not worthy of love, you believe a lie. These lies come from words spoken over us and from memories of offenses done against us. For example, I grew up in a very dysfunctional angry “Christian” home, and I developed a lot of false beliefs about myself, other people, life, and God. I share my story in more detail in the following post: My Story.

The following nine categories of unhealthy, destructive beliefs distort the way we view everything in life.

1. I am unlovable. I am insignificant. I am flawed.

2. I am hopeless. I am worthless. Life is hopeless.

3. Something bad will happen. The future will be like the past. I’m not OK.

4. Something must change right now for me to be OK.

5. People will take advantage of me. People are too sensitive.

6. I am bad. I am not good enough. I am unforgivable.

7. People are out to get me. I must be in control. It’s not fair.

8. People must think well of me for me to be OK.

9. I can’t do it. I am not capable. Others should do it for me. It’s not fair.

The Healing Codes Manual by Loyd and Johnson, p. 55

We internalize these unhealthy, false beliefs at a subconscious level.  And, they cause us to live in self-destructive ways. There are many self-destructive behaviors, such as cutting, alcohol and drug abuse, uncontrollable anger, self-debasing comments, anxiety, etc.  The beliefs mentioned above may result in addictions to cover over the painful feelings these beliefs generate.  To learn more about addictions, read my post called Addiction Strongholds. Unhealthy beliefs also create stress in our bodies that lead to illness and disease, which is explained in detail in my book on this website.

Do the following to uncover your unhealthy beliefs.  First, pay attention to your thoughts and reactions and write down strong emotional reactions. Second, ask God to show you the unhealthy belief(s) that is generating your wrong thinking in your reactions.  Third, trace backward from negative fruit in your life, and prayerfully ask God to show you the answer to the following question, “what is the root of this fruit?”

Wrong thinking creates negative feelings, which directs unloving, destructive behavior so ask God to show you the link.  Also, look for a link to a trauma memory, offense, and word curses because they also create unhealthy belief(s).  Some examples of word curses are: “I will probably fail. I will most likely end up in divorce. Nobody likes me. All politicians are evil. A godly person can’t succeed in business.” Have you thought these?  He will show you so you can then remove it through prayer and repentance, which I explain how on my website, 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

Reading self-help books will also reveal unhealthy beliefs and wrong thinking.  I especially like the book called “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.  I encourage you to read my adapted summary of the right beliefs and thoughts we should have according to Mr. Covey.  Healthy Thinking and Behaving from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Read each of the Issues Worksheets to learn about other subconscious unhealthy beliefs we can have and the truth to replace these unhealthy beliefs.  LOVE Issues, JOY Issues, PEACE Issues, PATIENCE Issues, KINDNESS Issues, GOODNESS Issues, TRUST AND FAITHFULNESS Issues, MEEKNESS, HUMILITY, AND GENTLENESS Issues, and SELF-CONTROL Issues.

Read, who God is and what you can be thankful for to replace the lies you believe about God and yourself.