Are you happy right now with the way your life is going? Do you want to live the rest of your life the way you are living it now? Do you know that you have the power to choose your tomorrows by changing your thoughts today? Your thoughts define your destiny!
I often tell people if they don’t like how they are feeling, they can change that feeling by choosing a different thought. I mostly get stared at with disbelief when I say that. People tend to think they ‘just feel’ in response to a person or situation, but in reality we are created in such a way that we emotively respond because of a mindset or thought pattern. The way we live our life is determined by what we believe to be true about God, about others, and about ourselves.
Thoughts produce feelings, which then in turn affect behavior. In order to change either a behavior or a feeling, we must consider what thought has provoked or produced that feeling and behavior. When the feelings and behavior are expressing something other than the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), we might suspect the thought is based on an ungodly thought pattern.
C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying “We are what we believe we are”. Perhaps you remember the story told in Numbers 13 when Moses sent men to spy out Canaan. The spies encountered not only an abundance of fruit and a land flowing with milk and honey, but residents who were giants and strong warriors. The majority took the position they couldn’t take possession of the land because when they saw the men of great size they “became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” In other words, they saw themselves as too weak to win without taking into consideration God’s equation for victory.
What perspective do you hold of yourself when it comes to a challenging situation you face? Who do you believe you are? Have you taken time to ask God His perspective of you? What do you believe about the God who lives in you?
Ungodly thought patterns must be recognized and replaced with godly thought patterns. Only then do we experience healthy emotions that influence our behavior.
Romans 12:2 says we are transformed by renewing our mind. We don’t get changed by “doing” differently; we are changed by “thinking” differently. Even after we have a salvation experience in which we are made a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), we enter into a journey to transform the way we think. The goal of the heavenly Father is to change us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
I suggest the beginning point for transformation is to recognize the thoughts we hold to be true and see if they are okay with God. One of my favorite questions is: “Lord I’m thinking this…is it okay with you for me to think this? Does this agree with your thoughts?” Of course, I now recognize that if I am experiencing negatively expressed emotions that are leading to ungodly behavior, I already know the thought that led to those ungodly expressions are not in agreement with God and are definitely not okay with Him. He gently answers, ”How about thinking this way instead?” Sometimes He leads me to a scripture; sometimes He shows me a picture, or speaks a word. He always points me to Jesus, His nature and character. It is His indwelling presence that empowers me to be like Him and to walk in newness of life.
There are times we get stuck on our journey. We seem to try and try to do the “right” thing. Yet we never get the desired results. We get discouraged and want to give up. We want to do better in becoming more like Jesus, but like the Apostle Paul, we cry out: “Why do I keep doing the things I don’t want to do?” (Romans 7:15-20)
Are you stuck in a habitual pattern? What are the thoughts about God, others and/or yourself that are hindering your walk in freedom?
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7 KJV
Take time to Pause, Ask and Listen (PAL) today as you consider your choices. What are you choosing to think? Does it agree with God?
Rev. Dr. Carolyn Allen has partnered in pastoral ministry with her husband, Ron, for 50 years. She has seen and lived a wide spectrum of church life in rural churches, suburban and city parishes. She has experienced several streams of the expressions of the Body of Christ.
Carolyn has a Masters in Christian Counseling and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies. Her own journey into wholeness evolved while raising a family and caring for others. She is an ordained minister on staff at the Heartland Parish, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Carolyn recently published Journey Into Wholeness, a book that helps you learn foundational biblical principles that will lead you through practical ministry and personal application. Learning to ask key questions will enable the reader to evaluate thoughts that produce feelings that lead to ungodly behavior, if not challenged and changed.
Journey Into Wholeness is available on Amazon.
You can reach Rev. Dr. Allen at firstname.lastname@example.org.