Our thoughts matter. While I cannot control every thought that comes into my mind, I do not have to entertain it. I can choose to entertain it, or, I can choose to refuse it entry to the gate of my mind. You have the same choice.
I am not promoting a mystical, new age experience. What I am presenting to you is a Biblical practice. Controlling my thought life is part of allowing my old nature to die and my new nature in Christ to come alive (Romans 6 and Romans 12:2).
Guard Your Thoughts
1 Peter 1:13 instructs me to gird up the loins of my mind. In other words, guard my thinking. The verse continues instructing me to be sober. In this case, sobriety is not just an absence of alcohol, but it is being alert. You and I must be alert to the type of thinking we entertain.
For example, I can be convinced that a friend is upset with me because she has not called or texted in a few days. My mind can roll back through conversations that I had with her when we last spoke. I can convince myself that she has misunderstood something I have said or done. At this point, I have a choice. Either I can continue the irrational thinking that leads to illogical conclusions, or, I can call or text her to see if she is okay.
What if she is upset with me? Even if she is angry at me, entertaining the worst possible scenario only leads to torment which is the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit the Holy Spirit brings is peace (Galatians 5:22-23). Continuing on a path of this type of thinking leads to confusion, and God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). Checking on my friend through a visit, call, or text message is the best approach.
Thoughts Determine Actions
A cold-blooded murderer does not simply wake up one morning and decide to take a life with no thought beforehand of the deed. He or she has devised and calculated a plan. Time has been taken for careful preparation.
A person having an extra-marital affair does not suddenly cheat on his or her spouse with no sign of trouble. Thinking about how much better life would be with someone else, magnifying one’s faults, and other thought patterns lead to acts such as these.
Taking ungodly thoughts captive at the onset will prevent much heartache later. Unbelievers do not know to practice this biblical concept, but believers should know what to do. Do not allow such thoughts to take hold. Take them captive and replace them with biblical thinking as soon as possible. If needed, seek help from a trusted Christian friend or pastor.
You Have a Choice
If you notice that you are out of sorts or that your attitude is horrible, it is always a good idea to assess your thinking. What has been on your mind? What occupies your thinking? How do you feel when you entertain this type of thinking? Asking these questions can give you a quick answer as to the reason for most negative attitudes.
Certainly, I am not suggesting that changing your thinking will bring everything you want in life, I am suggesting that allowing God control of your thought life can change your attitude and outlook on life. Changing the way you think, if that change is needed, can change relationships. You can develop more peace of mind and joy in the Holy Spirit by refusing to give just any thought access beyond the gate of your mind.
I know you have all heard me speak of my upcoming book, Are You Ready for Transformation? It’s All In Your Mind. Originally, I had planned to have the book ready for publication this month; however, unforeseen circumstances have delayed me a bit. I do promise to have this ready in October.
The first ten chapters of the book discuss various types of thinking while the last ten chapters go into an in-depth Bible study of chapters one through ten. Today, I am posting chapter eleven here. It is a Bible study for chapter one. It is my hope that you enjoy this reading and study, and I hope you will consider purchasing the book once it is available for publication.
Chapter 11 (Bible Study for Chapter 1: It Is in Your Mind)
Thank you for finishing chapters 1-10. If you are with me in this chapter, you are serious about your transformation. The following chapters will correspond with chapters 1-10. You may or may not need to refer back to chapter readings.
Now that you have read about the various types of thinking that we often deal with, it is time to work on the transformation of your thinking. In chapter 1, I stated that the mind is different from the brain. Your mind is a part of your soul. You process both natural and spiritual matters here.
Turn to Romans 12:2 and read our theme verse from your favorite Bible translation. Write the verse on the following lines. After writing the verse, please record the Bible translation you are writing from. (I have a reason for this.)
Thank you for humoring me. I will explain at the end of today’s lesson the reason for writing your translation choice.
Now, back to Romans 12:2. First, we are instructed to avoid being conformed to the world. When the Bible refers to the world in this sense, scripture is not referring to the earth. The Bible is referring to the system of the world. Sadly, many people are controlled by Satan or their own fleshly desires. Most do not even realize this. The world system is predominately evil. Now, I am not saying that everyone in the world is evil. I am simply saying that the overall world system (government, secular entertainment, etc.) is not surrendered to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s look at the word “conformed”. Most translations use the word “conformed” in this text. Some of the other wording might be different though. If you have a translation that does not use the word “conformed”, I truly would like to know what version you are using simply out of curiosity.
Use an online dictionary to look up the word “conformed”. Write a brief definition in the following lines.
Now, we will look at Strong’s definition from the Greek text. If you ever wish to look up word meanings, you can go to www.blueletterbible.org and use the free resources which includes Bible dictionaries, commentaries, and lexicons.
The Greek word for “conformed” is “syschēmatizō” meaning “to fashion or shape one thing like another.” We are not to be fashioned like the world. We are to be different from the world. It is sad to say that many Christian people blend in with the world, so, unbelievers often are unable to see Christ in many Christians.
What do the following verses say about the way we are to conduct ourselves?
Matthew 5:13-16 ________________________________________________
The Greek word for “transformed” is “metamorphoō” meaning to change to another form, or to transfigure. The root word for transformed is the root for metamorphosis which describes the process of a caterpillar as it is changing to a butterfly. The Greek word for transfigure was the used in Matthew 17:2 when Jesus was transfigured before His disciples. Therefore, the transformation our minds go through is powerful. Take a few moments to visit Matthew 17: 1-8.
The change that will come to our minds after continual renewing is not to be taken lightly. It is a powerful transformation. When we yield to the Holy Spirit, we can think with the mind of Christ. That is some truly transformed thinking!
In conclusion, we will look at the word “renewing”. If your translation uses a slightly different word, the Greek is still the same so have no worries. The Greek word for “renewing” is “anakainōsis” meaning “renovation, a complete change for the better.” When a house is renovated, old items are replaced with new ones. When your mind is renewed, your old way of thinking is totally replaced with God’s way of thinking.
I don’t know about you, but I get excited when I think about the change of thinking that we can undergo through the power of the Holy Spirit. Renovation takes work. It can be painful as old mindsets are torn down, but the pain is worth the victory.
Write a brief prayer in the space below asking God to help you as you prepare to renovate your mind and tear down what is not of God and wallpaper your mind with what is of God.
Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s all in your mind”? This can be annoying depending on the nature of your problem. Surprisingly, the fact is that in many cases, it is true. No, that does not mean you are crazy. It simply means that many of our battles are either won or lost in our minds.
Change Your Thinking
Often, the changes we wish to see can only come about when we change the way we think about the situation. If I want to change the way I feel, most likely, I need to change the way I think. Many of you reading this post might ask me if that is truly possible. According to the Bible, it is totally possible. In fact, we are commanded to do just that when our thinking patterns do not line up with the Word of God.
Romans 12:2 states that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind so we can live out God’s will in our lives. I find it interesting and not at all a coincidence that we are instructed in verse 2 to renew our minds after being told in verse 1 to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord. Such a feat could only be accomplished through changing your thinking.
What Needs to Change in Your Life?
Everyone has weaknesses and faults that they have to address in some way. Everyone has situations they would love to be able to handle in a more effective way. It will not happen until you change the way you think about the given situation. For example, if I am angry at a co-worker, yet I know I need to forgive this person, I will be unable to do so until I change the way I think about the situation. In order to make this change, I need to know what God’s word says about forgiveness. Once I am familiar with scriptures concerning forgiveness, I put those into my mind and allow the transformation process to work. God’s word says that I must forgive as Christ forgave me. I would remind myself that Christ forgave me for so much more than what I must forgive my co-worker. Next, I would repeat the process with other scriptures until my thinking is changed.
Taking time to journal through the process helps in two ways. It helps the process as I am going through it, and it serves as a good reference should I face the problem again. Barb Raveling has a process that she calls Truth Journaling. It works very well. Visit her website for further details.
I realize that this sounds like a great deal of work. Truthfully, it is, but if you desire the change strongly enough, you will be willing to do the work. True change comes from within, within your mind, that is. Being transformed by the renewing of your mind will not happen overnight or through trying the process once. It is a process that is ongoing, and it will take time as well as patience. However, it is worth all the work. Most of all, it is worth giving God the praise when the work is done.
Disclaimer: If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your mind cannot be renewed until you come into a relationship with Him. Romans 10:9-10 states that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart, you believe resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth you confess, resulting in salvation.
Mindfulness is simply being aware of something. This could consist of a great variety of issues or situations. One could mindful of eating. Another could be mindful of words spoken. Someone else could be mindful of friendships. The list could go on.
The Word Speaks of Being Mindful
Although mindfulness has been attributed to aspects of Buddhism, God’s Word has plenty to say on the subject. For example, Psalm 19:14 (MEV) states the following: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” If a thought has been meditated upon in the heart, it had to pass through the mind first. God is concerned with what we think about and our awareness concerning various areas of our lives.
In Psalm 8:4, David asks, “Who is man that You are mindful of him?” This indicates that God was mindful of us. In other words, He had a strong awareness of us. His focus was on us. If God is mindful of us, shouldn’t we be mindful of Him? Isaiah 26:3 states that God will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are on Him.
Mindfulness that is achieved God’s way brings peace and joy. If the mind is not focused on what it ought to be, we lose peace, and we tend to wander from the Lord. Being mindful of the things we focus on raises awareness which can bring the change we need if we allow it.
How to be Mindful
Now that the meaning of mindfulness is understood, the next step is to figure out how to be mindful. Being mindful is a choice. It is simple, yet, not easy. Colossians 3:2 states that we are to set our minds on things above. If I set an object somewhere, it means I need to pick it up from one place to set it at the desired destination. To set your mind means you might have to move your thinking from one direction to another. Mindfulness is work. To begin with, your thoughts will try to drift back to the place from which you brought them. After consistent renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2), you will find that the process becomes simpler. We can never stop renewing our minds, or being mindful, but the battle is not as intense the more we practice the process.
Consider your thoughts and ways. Ask the Lord to direct you to the areas of your life in which you need to be more mindful. This will look different for everyone because our struggles are not all the same. Once He reveals an area in which you need to be more mindful, surrender that area to Him, and allow Him to help you redirect your thinking.
What about you? What does mindfulness mean to you? Are there areas of you life in which you need to be more mindful?
Overcomer became available this morning on Amazon. I can not begin to describe the excitement I feel when I pray for God to use this e-book to bless people. It is my desire to see struggling Christians overcome the sins and other issues that keep them from living the abundant life that Jesus Christ called us to live.
The link to the purchase the book will be listed below. Another link is also listed that will take you to a site in which you can download (at no charge) the PDF study to Life’s Curveballs, a study I wrote in 2014, as well as the audio sessions. The downloads for Life’s Curveballs are completely free as my gift to you to express my appreciation for your support.
When you download the Life’s Curveballs products, you will be asked to enter your email address. Please understand that I will not sell your email address to anyone. I am only asking for it so I will be able to send you updates which will include freebies.
God bless you, and I pray that you will be blessed by Overcomer and Life’s Curveballs.
We all have those days that are completely horrible! You know the type of days I am talking about. You’ve made the same mistake over and over. You’ve sinned in one of those ways that you thought you had overcome. Your co-workers seem frustrated with you. It does not seem that your family appreciates you. Before we get wrapped up in self-pity, let’s stop and assess these situations through the lens of God’s word.
Learn to be Content
In Philippians 4:11-13, the Apostle Paul tells his readers that he has learned to be content in all circumstances. He goes on to list some hardships suffered. Trust me, Paul did not have it easy. Not only were people angry with Paul, but many of those same people were also trying to kill Paul. When he penned the book of Philippians, Paul was in prison.
What was the secret to Paul’s contentment? Philippians 4:13 (MEV) gives the answer: “I can do all things because of Christ who strengthens me.” The secret should truly be obvious to those of us who know Christ. Jesus is our answer in all things!
In Christ, we can learn to be content even when the day is a mess. We can be content even if everyone seems against us. Did you notice I used the word seems? I realize this is not always the case, but, more often than not, our minds play tricks on us to cause us to think that particular situations are worse than they truly are. Even if it is as bad as you think, you can still be content in Christ.
New Every Morning
Whenever you have had a bad day, take the time to remember what the word says. When you sin, go to the Lord in repentance immediately. When you make mistakes, own them, and move on. We all make them, even those who attempt to pretend otherwise. We all have those days!
Remember that God’s mercies are new every morning. We can begin again. Every day is a new day, another day to learn and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether you work at a nine to five job, or you are a stay-at-home parent; whether you are unemployed, or working more than one job, the Lord’s mercies, compassion, and faithfulness are new every morning. As a matter of fact, they are available throughout the day. Simply stop and take a breath, then ask God for them. He will not refuse!
“Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. Surely my soul remembers and is humbled within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed; His compassions do not fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness,” Lamentations 3:19-23 (MEV).
What about you? Do you need a fresh start? All you need to do is go to the Lord and ask Him for it. After all, it is a new day.
Most Christians know what is meant by “quiet time.” We all need that time in which we are alone and going before God. This precious time is meant to be spiritually refreshing. What does a “quiet time” look like?
Not a One-Size-Fits-All
As people, God created us all with different qualities and personalities. Although many of us have much in common, we still do lots of things differently. Why in the world would we expect our relationships with Jesus to all be exactly the same? That expectation is completely unrealistic.
Not everyone has the exact same schedule. Some people love to pray, read the Bible, and spend time with Jesus early in the morning because that is the time when they feel fresh. Others do not prefer mornings and operate at a much better capacity late in the evenings. In my humble opinion, I do not believe the time of day is what matters. I believe it is going before the Lord giving Him our best time which looks different for everyone.
What does a person do at this time?
While it is fine to look at what others do during their times with the Lord simply as an example, it is important to be led by the Holy Spirit for yourself. Some people spend that time just sitting quietly before God enjoying the gift of simply being with Him. Others spend that time praying for others as well as themselves. There are many people who use the scriptures as prayers, and there are people who do a combination of these things.
Personally, my quiet time does not always look the same. There are some days that I spend a few minutes in prayer concerning my day and other requests. Next, I will spend time reading and studying the Bible. Other times, I will simply give praise to God while listening to praise and worship music. Then, there are times when I do all of those things as time permits.
Keep Communication Open
It is vital for a Christian to keep communication lines open with the Lord throughout the day even when the quiet time is over. I have sat quietly before the Lord waiting for an answer I needed only to go on about my business and hear from Him when I least expected. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing, so we can still speak to God while we are going about other activities.
If we can always speak with God, why have a quiet time? The answer is simple. We need the time of rest in His presence. We need a time of simply being still physically speaking so we can tune out other distractions. This precious time gives us spiritual strength and refreshing, and that is something we cannot afford to go without.
What about you? What does your quiet time with God look like?
The following is a portion of my book, Overcomer, that will be published in September:
What in the world does it mean to have a weak mind? To be weak-minded in biblical terms can have a vast array of meanings some of which will be discussed in this chapter. Any Christian can be capable of having a weak mind, just as we can become weak spiritually, or even physically.
Not a Lack of Intelligence
To have a weak mind is not to insult one’s natural intelligence. To fail to allow yourself to be transformed by the renewing of the mind is a sure way to become weak-minded. To allow any thought to go unguarded leads to a path of great destruction. Victory or defeat begins in the mind. Attitude, positive or negative, begins in the mind. Adultery begins in the mind. Coveting begins in the mind. Do I need to go on? I think you get the point.
James 1:8 speaks of being double minded, or wavering. The context was speaking of asking God for wisdom then doubting that He would give it to you. The Children of Israel wavered back and forth between doubt and belief when they were in the wilderness after having left slavery in Egypt. It cost some of them their lives, or at best, not being able to enter the Promised Land. What is your wavering mind costing you?
My Own Wavering Mind
When I graduated from college with my Bachelors’ Degree in Education, I believed God for a job to come quickly. Instead of enjoying the summer, I spent it worrying about working. During the middle of the summer, I got a job at one of the schools I in which I completed my Student Teaching. It seemed the perfect job! It was an English-teaching job! The only drawback was that I would have to travel forty-five minutes one way. A few weeks after accepting this job, another teaching job came open at the school my children attended, which was only a five-minute drive. If I got the job, I would be teaching Kindergarten. I prayed fervently about this decision, and even decided I wanted the job, but I procrastinated when I realized I needed to notify the Principal at the other school. Why was I putting this off? Although God was leading me to bid on the job at the school closest to my home, I did not want to forfeit the other job. I wanted to keep my eggs in two baskets so to speak. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I wanted to have my way, yet I wanted to trust God. I was being weak-minded, or double-minded. I was unstable!
Despite my wavering, God worked in the situation for me to have the job closest to home. My husband and children were happy, and at last, I was happy. I was only ashamed that I had not trusted God more fully. Thankfully, He is merciful!
How can one overcome a weak and wavering mind? If you said that we need to be transformed by the renewing of the mind, you would be correct. Romans 12:2 covers a vast array of mind issues.
You Can Overcome!
If your mind is wavering with doubt, unbelief, or you are just going back and forth on any issue, it is time to remember that God is not the author of confusion but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). It is time to evaluate your thoughts on certain issues and ask God what His thoughts are concerning it. He will guide you if you will wait on Him. You might not receive the answer, immediately, but accept His peace and trust that He will lead you to the answer when the time is right. Often God does not reveal certain things until He knows you are ready. If you are simply doubting God Himself, confess this to Him and ask Him to help your unbelief (Mark 9:24).
The following is an example of how you could pray when faced with a weak, wavering mind: “Father, I know You are not the author of confusion. The wavering I am leaning to is not of you. I confess any unbelief to You, ask You to forgive me, and help me overcome this. I am more than a conqueror in You. I receive Your peace right now, and I tell my doubts to be gone in the name of Jesus!”
Once you have went to the Lord, you must replace your doubtful thinking with thoughts of faith. You might have to stay in the scriptures for a while or listen to a praise and worship song. You can even engage in an activity that you enjoy such as reading a good, clean book, or playing a game with your family. There are other activities you can be involved in to keep your mind from drifting to thoughts that weaken.
Our loving Father understands that we are human, but we must deal with wavering and double-mindedness immediately and allow Him to transform our thinking. Nothing is impossible with Him, even the strengthening of our weak minds.
What about you? Do you go back and forth on certain issues? Are you confused? Are you in doubt about what God can do? You can renew your mind and be totally transformed!