In keeping with my Trading Resolutions for Grace theme, I think that reflecting on the last year is a good idea. This time of reflection will help us to see where we need to make necessary changes that will bring us closer to God. In particular, how were your thinking habits? What kinds of things did you dwell on last year? Good things? Or negative things? What are you thinking about most of the time?
Power Of Positive Thinking??
No, I am NOT in agreement with any kind of the power of positive-thinking philosophies. I don’t believe that if I just think positive thoughts about getting a parking space near the mall entrance, I’ll get one right in front of the main doors of my favourite store. I certainly don’t believe that positive thoughts will cure a serious illness. This idea is even being taught by popular ‘Christian’ teachers and speakers. They say that positive thinking will cure your cancer if you ‘think it away’. One dear friend of mine has been deeply caught up in this philosophy and other false teachings. So much so that she has alienated anyone who does not agree with this doctrine, including me.
I am not going to tell you to start believing in magical thinking.
Change Our Thinking
BUT…I do believe we need to change our thinking patterns so they line up with the Word of God.
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 10:5 for some wisdom on this matter. This is the NKJV, however, I do find it interesting that the KJV uses the term “imaginations” in place of “arguments”. Hmmm…have you ever held an argument in your imagination? I have;)
Strong’s concordance defines arguments as:
- a reckoning, computation
- a reasoning: such as is hostile to the Christian faith
- a judgment, decision: such as conscience passes
How many times have we ‘reasoned’ or made ‘judgments’ that do not line up with God’s word?
I don’t think I’m alone in this, but I do tend to let my imagination run wild. When things don’t go the way I planned – I begin to think my life sucks – I can get quite down on myself if I continue to think that way and don’t bring that thought under the obedience of Christ. It is easy to continue this kind of thought pattern and start seeing everything through this faulty lens. Soon, any mishap or accident feels more intense than it would IF I had brought that initial thought under Christ’s authority in the first place!
I am going to bring every thought captive under the authority of Christ Jesus!
Or how about when a friend hurts my feelings or someone says something that stabs my heart? I can choose to allow my reasoning and imagination ‘run away’ with what I think they think, or I can give my friend the benefit of the doubt and bring those thoughts under Christ’s authority. Could you imagine what our friendships would look like if we chose to give each other such grace?
Bringing our thoughts under the obedience of Christ takes intention and purposefulness. It doesn’t just happen by chance. It is a practice that we need to exercise daily. Yes, we get stronger in doing so the more we practice, but it is still a choice we need to make. Thankfully, we have a Helper to help us! We must ask the Holy Spirit to help us control our wild imaginations and thoughts.
Transformation and Renewal
We also must be familiar with what God’s word says. Not only does reading God’s word regularly help us to know Him more and know His word in a deeper way, but it helps us with our thoughts!
Not knowing what our future holds can create anxiety and fear. But according to this verse, if we regularly renew our minds with God’s word and with communion with Him, we will prove the will of God. Trusting Him with our future – and we know from Jeremiah 29:11, that He has wonderful plans for us!
Have you ever felt a sense of peace after reading a passage of scripture that spoke to your heart? Your heart and your mind just quiet down? And you just know everything will be alright? THAT is renewing your mind!
Those who think of godly things will find their minds are much more at peace. If we are focused on the ungodly and negative thoughts about ourselves and about others, then we will be filled with anxiety, fear, anger, bitterness, etc.
What happens when we think awful thoughts about others? Do we have peace? Do we have joy? Do our thoughts hinder our relationship with that person? To put this in a bit of a different perspective, how do you feel when you are around someone who constantly says negative things about others? Including strangers? Whenever I am around someone like that, I end up feeling awkward, uncomfortable and quite frustrated and annoyed. If you find yourself saying or thinking negative things about others regularly, then something needs to change!
Rejoice! And Again I Say Rejoice!
And, of course, we have that passage in Philippians:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:4-9.
To help us keep our thoughts in the right place, we need to rejoice and give thanks to our Father!! A heart of gratitude is one of the best ways to get our thoughts in line with the Father’s! With Thanksgiving, we should COME to the Father in prayer. We should hand over our concerns and worries to the One who is meant to carry them. Paul continues on to tell us what things we should think about. Think about the virtues Paul mentioned in the passage. What are some of those kinds of things in your life? What are you thankful for? Make a list and post it somewhere so you see it every day.
Here is the start of mine:
- The laughter of my kids.
- Our lovely new home.
- My husband loves me.
- Snuggles with my kids!
- The peace of God.
- My oldest daughter is seeking redemption and healing…and she is finding it!
What are some things on your list? I’d love to hear them! Use the comments section for sharing. Who knows, you might just inspire someone else to start their list…and add to it!
I also wanted to highlight a course I am taking that helps me to renew my thoughts, think about God’s word and to take my thoughts captive under Christ’s authority. The course goes perfectly with the theme of this post. We long to make changes in our minds, hearts, and lives, but it can be so hard…and impossible to do on our own. This is where the grace of God comes in. I just love this course and the ladies who are involved in the facebook group are AMAZING and so encouraging.
My friend, Arabah, has put together this exciting and incredible course of setting goals for 2017. She has entitled it Grace Goals – is there any wonder why I love that title? GRACE – Oh, the wonder of grace.
She teaches us to call on our Helper, the Holy Spirit, to help us change and grow instead of relying on our faulty and flawed selves. As an affiliate with Arabah Joy, I do receive a small commission from sales through the link on my site. I don’t recommend resources and products unless I use them as well! I have my copy of the course already and I can’t wait to start – it looks so great.
“But the vast majority of goal setting resources out there fail to go deep enough on a spiritual level to actually equip us to change. They give us great “how-to” but not enough “carry through.”” ~Arabah Joy, Grace Goals.
I have been working with Arabah for a few years now. She was gracious enough to post a couple of guest posts for me like 5 Songs for the Desert Season and 7 Tips for Strong Sibling Ties (ummm…I can’t believe she let me even have this on her blog – I was such a newbie blogger and knew NOTHING!). I have linked up with her Grace and Truth link-up since almost the beginning…and now I am one of the hosts! I’ve also taken several of her incredible courses – like Grace Goals – and I am in a Mastermind group with her. WOW! We are connected! I just appreciate her heart for the Christian blogging community. Therefore, I don’t even hesitate to recommend her products to you…because I know you’ll love them just as much as I do!
What Do You Want?
I love how the first workshop in the course centers around Jesus’ question to one of His disciples, “What do you want?” I’ve imagined Jesus asking me this very same question many times. What do I want from Him? What do I really want? What do I want for 2016?
- Deeper healing
- Renewed Hope
- Freedom from certain areas of bondage
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