“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” — Mark 12:30, NIV

God created us as spiritual beings (souls) who have bodies and minds. When we talk about the mind, we’re talking about our thoughts. So how can we use our thoughts to love God, like Jesus tells us to do in Mark 12:30? Do we even have control over our thoughts? 

Try an experiment: Set a timer for one minute. Sit still and try not to think any thoughts until the alarm goes off. How did you do?

It was difficult, wasn’t it? Most people find it hard to control their thoughts. But thoughts are important because they often lead to actions. They also shape how we feel about ourselves and the world. 

Scientists have found that, with practice, it is possible to change our thoughts. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who has read Philippians: 

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. — Philippians 4:8, NIV

The apostle Paul would not have told the Philippians what to think about if they couldn’t control their thoughts, right? He wanted them to think about things that please God. But because everyone is a sinner, we often have thoughts that are not pleasing to God or helpful to us.

So how do we strengthen our minds and guide our thoughts in a way that pleases God?

Here are a few tricks to practice:

  • When your thoughts run wild, silently recite a short Bible verse you’ve memorized.
  • When you notice yourself thinking an unkind thought, replace the thought with a kind one.
  • Each time you think fearful thoughts, say a prayer of trust.
  • The messages we see and hear can shape our thoughts. Next time you choose a TV show to watch or song to listen to, ask yourself if it will give you thoughts that are pleasing to God and kind to others.


  • Hebrews 12:2 — this is a great one to memorize!
  • Philippians 4:8 — List some things that are true, lovely and excellent.


  • If your family sponsors a child, write them a letter and share kind words, thoughts, drawings and Bible verses.
  • Set aside time every day to be still and pray so you can be aware of your thoughts and train your mind to be strong.


  • Thank God for giving you a mind so you can solve problems, think of new ideas and do well in school.
  • Pray for Jesus to give you kind and true thoughts.