“You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair”
― Martin Luther
We need to rehearse beauty and not be side tracked by random thoughts that may disturb us. Some of the best people and most sane people have had passing thoughts of wickedness, perversion, self-loathing or oddity but this does not make them those things. It is only those that get caught in the realm of those things and cannot break away that are in danger. Let them go. Give no power or stigma to random passing thoughts of a darker nature. There should be no shame borrowed from them either. We need to be self aware enough to realize our human brains are susceptible to anomalies. Just move on and do not stop to give your thought a second thought or a feeling.
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. Phil 4:8
I used to share with others back when I was first moving away from addiction that, “if you try to NOT think about a white elephant you will indeed be thinking about a white elephant.” We need to employ our faculties toward the worthy, toward the lovely and not “try to avoid bad thoughts.” We need to be inspired by wonderful things and noble things. Fear and stigma and shame multiply the negativity in our minds and keep us in a vicious cycle of thought. “Behold” the beauty of Christ and all that is good and your countenance will be lifted.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. – 2 Cor 3:18
Shame and guilt are like a barb causing sin to stick. We must embrace the love and completed work of Christ, realizing we are sons and daughters now, no longer slaves, subject to a spirit of fear. We are empowered because we are now alive unto God. Our spirit is empowered by His Spirit and we are moved and directed by God’s life. Our flesh is trapped in it’s old ways and chained to a darkened mind. Our new man is filled with the fresh perspective of love.
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. – Rom 6:11
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” – Rom 8:15
Perspective has a huge impact on our spiritual “lift.” I am saying it impacts our faith and our conviction and our confidence, even our energy (motivation). I love the example in Scripture of Peter walking on the water. Upon seeing and hearing Christ he is motivated to step out of a boat and then do the impossible, walk on water. Once he shifts his focus to the winds and the waves he begins to sink and the threat of drowning and fear overcome him. His posture went from sharing with Christ in His exalted, more glorious position, to sinking and not being sure if he would even “make it.”
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” – Matt 14:30
We are transformed by the renewing of our minds as we offer ourselves up to God. When we take on this posture of offering ourselves to Him as being alive to God we are renewed and lifted.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.b 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. Rom 12:1-2