"(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (2 Corinthians 10: 4-6)
We do not have to fret about bad thoughts -- at all.
In fact we are not called to fight with these bad thoughts.
Most people simply do not take time to read through the above passage:
"The weapons of our warfare are mighty through. . .God". They are not mighty through us!
Like many people who learn to walk by faith in Christ Jesus, I would face off against a sense of anger and outrage over the thoughts flowing in my head, and then headaches would follow.
I spent a great deal of my time trying to prevent bad thoughts.
I had so much more to learn about this central tenet of the Gospel:
"There is now therefore no condemnation in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)
The negative is far more emphatic than anything that English can convey. "No never. Not ever. Never ever". It is a done and forever deal.
We do not even have to feel guilty or feel condemned about what we are thinking.
Our thoughts are now His thoughts, for we are no longer in ourselves, but rather in Christ.
"5Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 15: 5-6)
"For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2: 16)
If we find ourselves meditating on something bad or something wrong, if we have lustful unhappy thoughts about times past or times to come, the answer is the Cross.
We are no longer in ourselves, and thus no longer called to look at ourselves, but Jesus:
"1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Colossians 3: 1-4)
We are no longer trying to get rid of the bad thoughts, but instead we are called to receive more of His righteousness and grace into our lives.
"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:17)
What needed to be focused on, was the truth of the Gospel, that in Christ I am justified from all things, and that the law of Moses has been put aside and fulfilled for me.
One of the most outstanding revelations for me especially was that He restores my soul. Not me -- He! Jesus Christ!
"3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (Psalm 23: 3)
He causes us to prosper, He causes us to walk in His ways (3 John 2)
It has been a hard transition for me, no question about it. I have wanted to fix what I was thinking, have nothing but good thoughts going though my mind. It is a fight that I still want to fight much of the time. Resting in God's goodness is a hard thing to do, but it is not impossible.
In fact, He gives us more grace (James 4: 6)
We are not called to fight the bad thoughts in our lives. He is fighting, and we are called to let Him fight.