My mother gave us a clear and quite strict upbringing as children. That was necessary since my parents had a full-time Bible school at home. The hustle and bustle of our family with 4 children had to be combined with the dynamics of 10 to 18 ardent students every day. A unique interplay between family and ministry in one home. Music and sports In addition to chore lists, which we often tried to avoid as children, there was also a note at the beginning of the hallway with our bedrooms. That piece of paper reminded us, among other things, of the fact that we ‘had’ to enjoy music and sports. Every year again. Although it was often reluctant, my brothers and my sister studied solfège (that’s what it’s called in Belgium) for 4 years and learned to play an instrument. The four of us could have formed a nice music band.Fit and fresh We were also all ‘kind of voluntarily’ involved in a sport. Fortunately, I have always been very sporty, but I am not actually a specialist. I don’t really excel at anything and that’s why I changed sports almost every year. Swimming, table tennis, athletics, squash, indoor football, tennis, volleyball, field football… I have done it all in a club. Delicious! Over the years I have continued to exercise, although it requires discipline to really make time for it. In addition to fun games of indoor football, I try to run at least twice a week. No huge distances, just 4 to 5 kilometers to stay fit and fresh.To fool This morning I walked my regular lap. And again what happens to me so often happened. After 3 km the struggle to stop begins. My legs are getting tired, but I don’t care about that. Then my lungs ask for more air, but I say no to that too. But then follows the battle in my thinking. And that is the most intense. Your body can go much further than you think, but your head says something different. The thoughts that literally attack me go something like this: ‘You’ve come a long way, it’s okay’ and ‘You’re extremely tired, just stop it’. The more I allow those thoughts, the more likely my body will abruptly shut down. But if I focus my thoughts on something else, half a kilometer later I may suddenly realize that I have easily walked a lot further. Apparently your thoughts can lie to you or fool you.The biggest battle The biggest struggle in sports is in our thinking. This is also the case spiritually. Paul uses sports as an illustration to make it clear to us that the battle is mainly in your head.‘That’s why I don’t run like someone without a goal, I don’t fight like a fist fighter punching the air. I harden myself and practice self-control’ (1 Corinthians 9:26-17). Paul invites us to undergo this thought transformation and really run the royal race to the end.Heavenly thinking“You must not conform yourself to this world, but change yourself by renewing your mind, so as to discover what God wants from you and what is good, perfect and pleasing to Him.” (Romans 12:2). Don’t fall in line with this world. Don’t get sucked into the maelstrom and opinions of the masses. Don’t let Mammon and all those other powers be the masters of your mind. Choose to fill your thoughts with God’s laws, which will make you think heavenly and live heavenly. That will take you much further, just like running. Then you suddenly discover that God does work in your life and His goodness does carry you. Suddenly the lies in your head have been silenced.A lot further Don’t fight the lies, because if I walk I won’t be able to either. I can’t just silence them. But when I fill my mind with something beautiful or good, the lies automatically lose their power. Renewing your mind-set is above all filling you with God’s good thoughts and wonderful promises. Then old, worldly thought patterns are converted into new ones. So conversion is not only repentance for your sins, but also a holy desire for a complete reformation in your thinking. The next time the battle in your head is fierce, remember this exercise lesson: fill your mind with beautiful thoughts from God. Who knows, you might suddenly get a lot further than you thought! If you would like to read and learn more about this, please orderHERE my book ‘Growing in Royal Thinking’ or sign upHERE for our unique Growth Year.