- Our greatest challenge as Christians is to change our thinking and thus change our behavior.
How we behave determines the quality of life we experience now as believers in the earth.
- Your victory in this life will follow your right decisions and your behavior.
What exactly shapes our thinking?
- Poor decisions and bad behavior can be traced back to a cloudy way that you see yourself and your world. (Matthew 6:22-23)
Perception: Your behavior is a response to how you see and perceive your circumstances and how you should relate to them. In other words, the filter of your mind looks at your life and evaluates your circumstances and then tries to determine the best course of action. But this is based on your perception.
Mr. Steven Covey in his book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about perception and how it affects our behavior. He tells the story of how he was riding the subway in NYC one morning. “I remember a mini-paradigm shift I experienced one Sunday morning on a subway in New York. People were sitting quietly – some reading newspapers, some lost in thought, some resting with their eyes closed. It was a calm, peaceful scene.
Then suddenly, a man and his children entered the subway car. The children were so loud and rambunctious that instantly the whole climate changed.
The man sat down next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to the situation. The children were yelling back and forth, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers. It was very disturbing. And yet, the man sitting next to me did nothing.
It was difficult not to feel irritated. I could not believe that he could be so insensitive as to let his children run wild like that and do nothing about it, taking no responsibility at all. It was easy to see that everyone else on the subway felt irritated, too. So finally, with what I felt like was unusual patience and restraint, I turned to him and said, “Sir, your children are really disturbing a lot of people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?”
The man lifted his gaze as if to come to a consciousness of the situation for the first time and said softly, “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”
Can you imagine what I felt at that moment? My paradigm shifted. Suddenly I saw things differently, and because I saw differently, I thought differently, I felt differently, I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn’t have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior; my heart was filled with the man’s pain. Feelings of sympathy and compassion flowed freely. “Your wife just died? Oh I’m so sorry! Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?” Everything changed in an instant.”
- You don’t see things as they are – you see things as you are.
Proverbs 23:7a | NKJV For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…
From the moment we are born, our mind begins to store and catalog everything that is said and happens to us. This is what shapes your perception of life and the world around you.
- Family History
- Life experience
- Words spoken to you
- We who are Born Again have another perspective or viewpoint of our circumstances that can determine another course of action or behavior.
Your right behavior will follow your perception of life and reality and this requires us to renew our minds.
- You can change defeat into victory by changing your behavior and you can change your behavior by changing your mind.
Your mind is the ceiling to the power of God that we are filled with and to the degree that our mind comes into agreement with our spirits, will release that power out of you to effect your life and reality.
- The supernatural power of God in you can never rise above the ceiling to which your mind comes in agreement with your spirit.
- We have no limitation in this life except what our mind sells us based on how we see our lives.
- Your mind is the check valve to the power of God that we are filled with and to the degree that our mind comes into agreement with our spirits, will release that power out of you to affect your life and reality.
- Being a Christian is not about behavior modification!
Some think that renewing the mind is simply replacing the worldly value system that you have had and replacing it with God’s value system or removing old standards and replacing with new ones. Renewing does not mean learning.
Romans 12:1-2 | TPT (1) Beloved friends, what should be our proper response to God’s marvelous mercies? I encourage you to surrender yourselves to God to be his sacred, living sacrifices. And live in holiness, experiencing all that delights his heart. For this becomes your genuine expression of worship. (2) Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.
The word “transformed” is the Greek word that we get the English word “metamorphosis”.
Metamorphosis – a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.
- God is interested in something supernatural happening on the inside of us that changes us on the inside.
How do we change our thinking?
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 | KJV For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (4) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (5) Casting 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;
Three Levels of Thinking:
Our thoughts are a process of moving through the circumstances of our everyday life. There is no such thing as a blank mind. Your mind is in operation all the time.
Thoughts are introduced to you by the circumstances of life.
Matthew 6:25-26 | KJV Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (26) Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
- You determine the thoughts that you take or reject.
Matthew 6:31 | KJV Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
- You take a thought by saying it.
The word “saying” in the Greek is “lego” meaning you are laying it out and systematically communicating your thoughts and relating them to you. You are connecting it to you.
2 Corinthians 10:5 | KJV Casting 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;
Captivity – as in a prisoner of war
- You make thoughts obey and submit by speaking God’s Word which is contrary to that thought.
When you do this, that thought will die powerless and unborn and does not have any power to affect your life.