What Were You Thinking?
As Christians, our greatest challenges in life are not:
- To have great faith – Jesus said that you can have faith the size of a grain of mustard seed and still move mountains. The scripture also says that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) So getting faith and having faith are not the main challenge.
- Overcome the flesh – Your flesh simply responds to the strongest voice in you and responds to the decisions that we make.
Our greatest challenge as Christians is to change our thinking and thus change our behavior.
How we behave determines the quality of life you experience now as a believer in the earth.
Your victory in this life will follow your right decisions and your behavior.
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.
Proverbs 23:7 NKJV For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…
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 who 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.
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
Matthew 6:22-23 NIV “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. (23) But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
- Eye = vision
- Healthy = clear
- Unhealthy = degenerated or diseased
- Darkness = opaque or obscured
The problems that face you in life and you are not able to overcome can be traced back to a cloudy and diseased perception of who you are and the world around 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.
Romans 12:2 NLT Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
The transformation of our lives is contingent upon us changing the way we think.
Some think that renewing the mind is simply replacing the worldly value system that you have had and replace it with God’s value system or removing old standards and replacing with new ones. Renewing does not mean learning.
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 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?
- 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 NIV …we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
- You make thoughts obey by speaking God’s Word which is contrary to that thought.
When you do this, that thought will die powerless and unborn.