The Power of Our Thoughts to Change Our Lives

thoughts

 

My thoughts said I wanted to create a new family culture, and put the past behind me, keeping the positives and leaving the negatives, but I didn’t know how. I knew God could powerfully transform my heart, but I also knew the power of generational cycles.

 

Being young and immature, wounded and healed, but committed to change left me searching for ways to live out the transformation God was doing in my heart.

 

I attended a church beneath a pastor who accepted me where I was at and called me to where I could be. He taught me to study the Bible and how to apply what I learned. His wife loved well and spoke truth when needed.

 

They knew my heart to rewrite history by changing my present so that my future would be filled with the power of God. Rather than dwelling on what I didn’t want or didn’t like, they urged me to think about what I wanted to be.

 

So I thought about the qualities that were important to me and chased after them with all that was in me.

 

Grace. Forgiveness. Passion for God.

 

They say we become what we think about and it’s mostly true. Our circumstances affect us, but we choose our responses to them. We control our thoughts, attitudes, choices. My responses are my responsibility.

 

But if I dwell on the hurts or painful memories more than I dwell on God’s faithfulness, hope, and peace, then I risk bringing to life the memories with new players and the cycle continues.

 

Do you want to be brave? Then don’t think about all the times you weren’t brave, but think about the time when you trusted God and he gave you what you needed to act brave.

 

Do you want to show grace? Then learn to forgive. Understand your own need for forgiveness, not so you can go around beating yourself up and wallowing in your own wretchedness, but so that you can rejoice in how much God forgives you. When we understand how much grace we receive, we begin to live in grace towards others.

 

It’s all in how we frame what we don’t want to be with what we want to be.

 

If I tell my kids “don’t forget to do the dishes,” they hear “forget. . .dishes,” and the dishes don’t get done.

 

But if I tell them, “remember to do the dishes,” they hear, “remember. . .dishes,” and my kitchen gets cleaned.

 

What lurks in your past that haunts you because you see it repeated in your present?

 

Unforgiveness? Bitterness? Resentment? Anger? Self-absorption? Broken promises?

 

Remember our thoughts give way to actions. If we’re focusing on events that feed these emotions, then we sow seeds into our lives that eventually give way to a harvest that we didn’t want to sow.

 

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6 (ESV)

 

Breaking cycles begins with a surrender to the will and way of the Lord in your heart and then follows with  your commitment to change your thinking so your thoughts line up with the Spirit.

 

The Takeaway

 

Be aware of your thoughts.

Capture them.

Flip the script.

Filter using Philippians 4:8

Spend more time thinking about what you do want to be rather than what you don’t.

 

How to Break Cycles and Change Your Thinking

thinking

 

We use different filters in photography and post-processing to neutralize a bright scene or enhance blue skies, or draw the eye to a focal point.  I have created presets for bringing out the eyes, whitening teeth, and getting rid of pesky under-eye shadows. Presets or filters applied the right way enhance the photo.

 

While it’s fun to play around with filters in Lightroom or Photoshop, filters used to hide the truth compete with the authenticity and transparency God desires in relationship with him.

 

Hebrews 4:12-16 tells us that everything is exposed before God, even the things we don’t want him to see or acknowledge to ourselves that they exist in our heart.

 

The Psalms are filled with raw, unfiltered emotion before God and that’s okay. We must have a way to express the raw, unfiltered emotions that navigating this life stir in our heart.

 

But, when we’re in the renewal and transforming process, a filter is an absolute necessary in training our hearts and thoughts into new patterns.

 

When we use God’s word as a filter for our lives, we don’t filter God’s word through our opinion, but our opinion and point of view through God’s word. And if there’s anything within us contrary to God’s word, then we readjust our point of view to God’s, we don’t readjust God’s point of view to fit ours.

 

It’s a simple process to break cycles. Yet, it requires a heightened awareness, a capturing, and a flipping of the script in what is going on in our hearts and minds.

 

We find the steps woven throughout the Bible and while this series includes practical steps to take, there also needs to be a foundational understanding of God’s love for you and your identity in him.

 

Philippians 4:8 is one of the filters we can use to filter our thoughts so that we generate new thoughts for our regenerated heart.

 

“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 4:8

 

I run my thoughts through this filter like I would run my raspberries through a sieve in order to separate the sauce from the seeds. I ask myself if what I’m thinking is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellence, or praiseworthy. Using Philippians 4:8 keeps God’s word at the forefront of my mind and keep my mind pointed to Jesus’ ways.

 

True

 

When we consider true in the biblical sense we refer to true conduct, sincerity, uprightness, and honesty. We can be totally and completely true and honest with God about our hurts, anger, and frustration.

 

Honorable

 

Philippians 2:3-4 speaks of looking to others interests and not doing anything out of vain conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourself.Honorable thoughts are thoughts are are filled with consideration, deference, and fair.

 

Just

 

There’s a growing demand for justice in our world, but let’s strip it back to the Greek definition of just which is morally righteous, impartial, and upright. Are your thoughts moral? Impartial? Upright? Or are you finding your thoughts filled with revenge or showing favoritism? Jesus declared that even if we think hateful thoughts we commit murder.

 

Pure

 

Pure thoughts are innocent and blameless. Blameless. I can’t tell you how many times my thoughts are filled with blaming others for my problems. If you want to break free of the victim mentality that keeps you hostage, start by developing thoughts that don’t point the blame.

 

Lovely

 

Lovely thoughts are thoughts that are friendly toward something or someone. Lovely thoughts are pretty difficult when we’re harboring unforgiveness and resentment towards someone or something. By filtering our thoughts through loveliness, we are made aware of any lingering vestiges of bitterness.

 

Commendable

 

Do you speak well of your enemies or situations or are you full of grumbling and revenge? Commendable means to speak well of. The key to being able to thinking on things that are commendable is replacing a grumbly heart with a grateful heart by focusing on God’s character and presence during and despite the difficulties we face.

 

Excellent

 

The Greek word for excellent refers to goodness of actions and virtuous deeds. Our actions are born out of our thoughts. What you think is how you act. If your thoughts are vengeful, you might just find those words you don’t mean to say, but mean in your heart, to fly out of your mouth like a dagger to wound and maim.

 

Worthy of Praise

 

Praiseworthy. Are your thoughts worthy of praise? Eventually, as you filter your thoughts through the other commands in this verse, they will be worthy of praise. Anything that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable and excellent are praiseworthy. But the previous descriptions give color and nuance to this passage.

 

The Takeaway

 

Paul is calling us to action in Philippians 4:8.  We don’t have to remain stuck in unhealthy patterns of thought, but can be set free as we progressively apply these principles to our minds.

 

Freedom comes by way of walking in the freedom that God made available with Jesus’ death and resurrection. So we practice. Every day. Every minute. Every second.

 

Then we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to do his renewing work in our minds.

How to Flip the Script and Turn Your Thoughts Around

thoughts

 

If thoughts are good, it’s wonderful. Thoughts about the effervescent giggle of a child who found a lost lovey or the way the sunlight made you glow as you basked in it’s warmth bring comfort and encouragement.

 

But when those thoughts damage trust and hope, they’re like knives filleting hearts.

 

We cannot comprehend the power behind our thoughts until we put them into words, and we see the effect they have on us and those around us.

 

The smile that radiates from someone when they receive affirming words, fills our hearts as well.

 

And the ache that leaks out of the eyes of someone who has had words stabbed into their heart feels like shards of glass to our hearts as well.

 

To control our speech, we become stingy with our words, doling them out here and there, raising the bar of exception higher and higher until we’re impossible to please.

 

Or we become self-protectant, doubting the goodness of someone’s words or validating our self-protection when hurtful words come our way.

 

Not giving life to the ugly by being quiet is one step towards using our words for good. But even if we are  still thinking them, there will come a time when the pressure of life causes those words to spillover. And what a mess.

 

In the first week of college, I made a mess with my fellow college students. Let’s just say first impressions are vital and recovering from a bad first impression is nearly impossible. It takes heroic effort and deliberate repeated actions to prove that the bad first impression was the wrong first impression.

 

I made a terrible first impression. Embarrassingly so. A young man threw his fork, which had just been in his mouth, across the table and into my cottage cheese and yogurt. I delivered a sharp and stinging lecture on germs and cleanliness. In the process, I indicated that the person who threw the fork was just as disgusting as the germs in their mouth and I shamed them.

 

I shamed myself by my words.

 

Those words welled up like a volcano and I couldn’t stop them like I had in the past. “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” was my mantra growing up. But it failed me in this instance.

 

The combination of moving to a new town, adjusting to a new school, and dealing with shattering the illegal haircutting business of the Dorm Mother created pressure that built into the “Don’t Throw the Fork That’s Just Been in Your Mouth into My Food” scathing speech. I cringe at the memory.

 

I learn from it too. I understand that preventing thoughts from turning into words isn’t effective. It’s pretty much exhausting and induces a “try, fail, beat oneself up” cycle. That cycle does not lead to lasting, heartfelt, transformation that believers in Christ exhibit as a new creation.

 

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

 

One of the steps of breaking negative cycles is capturing our thoughts. The next step is making our thoughts obedient to Christ.

 

Awareness of our thoughts leads to capturing our thoughts.

 

Then we bring them into obedience to Christ.

 

How? By flipping the script.

 

Flipping the script involves taking the negative thoughts and looking at it upside down.

 

God’s wisdom is not the world’s wisdom. God’s wisdom doesn’t turn to the latest “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” philosophy or turn to blaming other’s for your problems. God’s wisdom is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (James 3:17)

 

I rail against the injustice about the lack of healing in my friend’s body and I shake my clenched fist at the heavens. I tell God exactly what I feel, all the hurt and the anger, and then I declare to myself that God has been my hope and my confidence since my youth (Psalm 71:5).

 

At times I struggle in relationships and find my mind filled with imaginary conversations putting so-and-so in their place, I am completely honest with God with my frustrations and disappointments. But then I flip the script and remind myself that God is sovereign, and his ways are higher than mine.

 

When I feel surrounded by darkness and cannot find my way, I hurl my confusion at God and he hears me because he doesn’t turn me away. But then I turn that thought around by reminding myself that God’s light and truth will guide me. (Psalm 43:3)

 

Flipping the script takes guarding our mouth to a whole new level because we’re renewing our thoughts by making them obedient to Christ. Rather than being held hostage to a cycle of “try, fail, beat oneself up,” we’re set free because our thoughts are filled with the truths found in God’s word.

 

Know his word. Capture thoughts and flip the script.

 

The Takeaway

 

Be aware of your thoughts. Tune in.

 

Capture your thoughts. Even the slippery ones.

 

Make them obedient. Flip the script.

 

 

 

The Biggest Lie About Surrender – and Why You Can’t Afford to Believe It

mind

I’m inviting my friend, Jennifer Dukes Lee, to tell her story of breaking the cycle of control she wielded in her life. Her latest book is releasing today, and this excerpt is one of my favorite parts of her book, It’s All Under Control. It’s a pleasure to welcome her to Welcome Grace.

~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~  ~~

If you asked me five years ago, I naively would have told you that I didn’t struggle with control. I mean, seriously— as long as everything went exactly the way I hoped, I was totally flexible.

 

It’s not that I wanted to control other people. Mostly, I wanted to control myself. If I ever had high expectations of anyone, it was of me. I wanted to present the self-assured, together version of my whole being. Which means I craved control over my face, my emotions, my body, my food, my words, my house, my schedule, my yard, my future.

 

My preference was a tidy, predictable, safe life where no one got hurt, where my kids remained in one piece, where there was no pain for anyone ever again, amen.

 

I said I trusted God but had reached the point where I realized I actually didn’t.

 

As a Jesus girl, this shocked me.

 

Clearly, my old systems of coping weren’t working: My desire to obsessively orchestrate my whole life was burning me out.

 

As a mom, I heard myself snapping at my kids. As a ministry leader, I knew that I was functioning within my call, but I didn’t feel fulfilled. I was tired, even after a regular night’s sleep. And I found myself zoning out during conversations with my husband, because I was mentally making lists of everything I needed to get done.

 

In short, I ran out of gas.

 

Maybe the empty tank was God’s way of bringing me to a dead stop, so I would finally pay attention. It worked. God got my attention, and maybe he’s trying to get yours too.

 

Imagine that it’s you who’s run out of gas. Maybe that doesn’t take much imagining after all, because like me, you’re tired of trying to hold it together. You want to keep it all under control, but things aren’t working out the way you planned.

 

When you and I began to follow Jesus, we relinquished control over our lives. But because we suffer from the chronic condition known as being human we constantly try to steal that control back.

 

My wake-up call happened when I realized that the battle for my heart was regularly being fought inside the tiny squares of my to-do list.

 

I began to ask myself this question: “What are the things that, if they were taken away, would shatter the identity I have created?”

 

Was it my work? My calendar? My efforts to shield my children from pain and suffering? This urge to always say yes?

 

For me, the answer was: “All of the above.” I was trying to be the CEO of everything.

 

Jesus delivered a sobering reminder: You will never know if you can trust Me if you don’t give Me the chance to prove it.

 

I recommitted myself to a life surrendered to Jesus’ plans for my life. But something felt … off … when I considered what surrender truly meant.

 

I accidentally bought into a weird idea that surrendered living meant mostly that I needed to “do less.” Yet that was unrealistic because so much of life clearly couldn’t be opted out of. People depended on me. I had kids to feed. A house to manage. Books to write.

 

Most people can’t simply fire their lives and move on when it gets too chaotic. We can’t stop managing a household, cancel all our appointments, and spend the rest of our days on a floatie in the middle of a lake.

 

Here’s what I began to learn: Surrendered living is much more than “doing less.” It’s being more of who God created us to be.

 

Yes, I totally need more chill in my life, and maybe you do too. But here’s the full truth about surrender:

 

Surrender doesn’t come with some unrealistic demand that you are suddenly going to stop being the incredibly brave and brilliant woman that you are. Real surrender appreciates God’s remarkable design in you.

 

Do you know what a wonder you are?

 

You don’t settle. You are the sort of woman we can count on to meet a work deadline, organize a food drive, take in the neighbors’ kids during an emergency, drive your coworker to chemo, counsel a friend at 3 a.m. by text message, keep track of everyone’s appointments, and make sure we’re all wearing seat belts before you drive us on the three-day adventure that you single-handedly arranged.

 

We need you. We need take-charge, charitable women like you as doctors and nurses in operating rooms where details like “proper disinfectant” matter. Let me tell it to you straight: If you have an inner control freak, I’m hoping you’ll let her bust loose like nobody’s business if someone I love is on your operating table. We need responsible women like you to control all the bleeding.

 

We also need you in charge of schools, nonprofits, and Fortune 500 companies. We need rock-star women like you to show us that surrender isn’t “lie down in a pile.” It’s “march forward like a warrior.” Sometimes surrendering to God will require you to do the hardest work you’ve ever done in your life: take in another foster child, fight for your marriage, kick cancer where the sun don’t shine, or refuse to capitulate to the persistent drubbing from Satan.

 

Girl, listen up. We count on you. You are a woman fervently devoted to God’s calling on your life, not only in your work but also in your relationships.

Of course, as Carrie Underwood will sing to you, Jesus is definitely taking the wheel. But make no mistake: There are times when he’s going to ask you to do some driving.

 

Don’t think of Jesus as your chauffeur; he is more like your driver’s ed coach. He’s there to teach you His rules of the road. Friend, do not fear the wheel. You have been equipped to drive—and Jesus is beside you when you steer the wrong way. Hopefully He will pull the emergency brake if necessary, and I’ve personally put in a request for roads lined with padded walls.
 The windows are rolled down, the music is cranked, the tank is full, and there’s something that looks like freedom on the horizon.

Out on the open road, may you feel the reassuring love of Jesus. On this journey toward surrender, you’ll discover that, at last, it really is all under control: God’s.

The Takeaway

The battle for your heart takes place in your mind.

Be aware. Capture.

And next week, we’ll talk about flipping the script.

Giveaway!

I’m so excited to be a part of a huge giveaway to celebrate the release of It’s All Under Control. Jennifer and her publisher, Tyndale, are giving away 50 copies of the book in celebration of its release! Enter below to win. Giveaway ends September 30. Winners will be notified by Tyndale House Publishers.

It’s All Under Control 50 Book Giveaway

BIO: Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author. She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, and a companion Bible study, are releasing today! This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic.

 

Adapted from It’s All under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.

 

Capture Those Thoughts to Break Negative Cycles

thoughts

Do you remember those old Western movies with John Wayne? He rides easy in the saddle, holster slung low, and has an iconic drawl. But what I remember are the scenes of runaway horses and stage coaches. The horses move as one, faster and faster, dust billowing, the coach lurching, and the passengers tossed about like rag dolls.

 

The hero gallops close, at one with his horse as he leans toward rescue, and he grabs the team of horses and starts to pull back. Slowly, the horses come to a stop and we discover the passengers bruised and broken and the stagecoach off course.

 

So it is with our thoughts. We can take a feeling or sense about something and turn it into an assumption that leads to hasty decisions and divisive plans that leave those around us bruised and broken. Our thoughts run wild and steal our peace and good sense.

 

Last week I talked about developing an awareness of the thoughts. This week, we’re going to address what to do with them. Remember, if you don’t know what you’re thinking, you can’t address the negatives and keep the positives.

 

And that’s the key: we’re transformed by the renewing of our mind. And this transformation is evidenced on the outside of ourselves in how we live our lives and interact with people. Is it true transformation if you spend time praying for your loved one and then turn around and treat them with disdain?

 

Breaking cycles is not just thinking good thoughts, but it’s allowing action to flow from those good thoughts. We must remember that we don’t live this Christian life as islands or solo artists, but we are part of an intricate tapestry, a complete body that makes up the church. Each of us has a purpose in that body, and we find that as we walk and talk and grow in Christ. And our talk flows from our thoughts.

 

Webster’s Dictionary defines thought as an idea in the mind. The Greek word used in 2 Corinthians 10:5 is noema which means something that is thought out, planned, and devised. How many times have you planned out a conversation that puts someone in his or her place? Or orchestrated an elaborate series of actions to enact revenge on someone? Our thoughts can be as dangerous as a runaway stagecoach.

 

This same Greek word {noema} references the mind itself. It’s the word used for minds that are blinded to the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:4) as well as the warning in 2 Corinthians 11:3 to be on guard for the adversary’s cunning ways to lead our minds away from sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

 

So when Paul is instructing us to take every thought captive, he’s commanding us to apprehend those thoughts that set themselves up against God. In order to do this effectively and strategically, we must be aware of our thoughts.

 

As we are aware of our thoughts, we can then begin to capture them. But let me warn you, capturing them might be kind of like trying to capture a fish with your bare hands. Or trying to hang on tight to a wriggling baby covered in baby shampoo during bath time.

 

To capture means to catch and forcefully hold. Kids who grew up playing king of the mountain or capture the flag know exactly what capture means. It means to gain something and then not let it go. No. Matter. What. (We can use this capture for good things too: like hope and peace and trust and love)

 

Can you arrest that thought that tears down your neighbor, acquaintance, grocery store clerk, or loved one?

 

Will you gain control of the run-away thoughts of revenge?

 

Would you apprehend those thoughts of despair?

 

Can you conquer those thoughts that tell you you’re worth nothing to nobody?

 

And will you secure the thoughts that strip you of your security in Christ?

 

It seems impossible, I know. Certain thoughts become patterns that feel like ruts we can never escape and we follow them to the destination we don’t want to experience. Again. And again.

 

We’ll get to that. It’s in the second part of 2 Corinthians 10:5, but first, I want us to grow aware of our thoughts and practice capturing them. Pick one area of your life, whether it’s a spiritual or relational to work on this week. Next week, we’ll address flipping the script and how to make our thoughts obedient to Christ.

 

The Takeaway

 

Maybe you struggle with hopelessness. Monitor your thoughts. See how many thoughts are feeding you despair. Then capture them. Don’t let them go any further than a thought. Don’t plan out the next five events that may or may not happen based on the depths of hopelessness you feel.

 

Or maybe there’s a relationship that pokes and prods. Evaluate your thoughts towards the situation. See if you’re planning conversations and encounters and then capture them. Take note and capture.

 

Scripture to Ponder

 

“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

 

“In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:4

 

“But I am afraid as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3

 

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

 

 

 

 

 

How Your Thoughts Pave the Way to Broken Cycles

thoughts

Have you spent time listening to yourself?

 

I’m amazed at how negative my thoughts can be sometimes. Before I know it, I’ve tried and quartered the person that seems more like an enemy than a friend. Or I’ve embraced despair over a situation. Or I’ve declared there’s no hope for so and so.

 

And then there’s this classic move: planned out conversations that work perfectly in my mind and fail spectacularly in person because, doh, the person is a real person and not a character in my script.

 

And sometimes my thoughts aren’t so nice and would totally require major cleanup and brown-nosing for the rest of my life, thank-you very much.

 

It’s in those moments when I consider that my secret thoughts aren’t really secret after all. God knows the secrets of my heart and I know that I can go to him, not for justification of my bad thoughts, but for help in sorting through them.

 

Angry thoughts hide hurt feelings. Hurts slices our core needs:  to feel safe, validated, and loved. Instead of dealing with the pain of abandonment, we grow angry and seek retaliation or exhibit desperation. Rejection tugs on the basic need to be accepted and rather than deal with the deep wound it causes, we turn to angry thoughts.

 

(Why is it that we have anger management classes, but not hurt-management classes? Because anger makes us appear strong, and hurt causes us to appear weak. Hurt is multi-faceted and many-layered, and can take years of deliberate choices in order to heal, but dealing with our hurts is what makes us stronger.)

 

Another thought that motivates me in cleaning up my thought life is the verse where it talks about what is done in the dark will be brought to the light. Yikes. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some thoughts I don’t even want to admit I’ve had. But what’s in the dark, must be exposed to the light in order to be healed.

 

So, what are you thinking? Truly. Bring all your thoughts into the light. Oh, sure, they’ll squeal and you might squirm when you hear yourself, but trust me, it’s best if you can bring them to God. It’s like you bringing your broken treasure to him in cupped hands and like a child state, “I’m sorry. I don’t know what to do. Help.”

 

We fly through life. While we’re sorting the laundry, we’re sorting a relationship problem. In one instance, we answer our kids, that text, and our husbands. We juggle work projects and people projects and church dissension and personal growth issues and pretty soon, we push the auto-pilot button and say, like Batman in the Lego Batman movie, “Rope, you’re in charge.”

 

Auto-pilot. I’ve been there. I’m there more often than I admit. With three kids in school, managing our days, our home, church responsibilities, my writing studio project, and ministry, my mind is a busy, busy place. I can be sitting still, but my mind is leaping and turning and diving and solving and brainstorming.

 

I turn on auto-pilot and it’s when I do that the thoughts I think in secret get spoken. Chagrined? Yes. Dismayed? Oh, yea. Embarrassed? Absolutely. Needing to bring all the broken pieces to God? No doubt.

 

Am I saying that we can’t ever mess up? Not at all. What I am saying is that our thoughts are one of the most important commodities we possess. They affect our lives for good or for evil because it’s in our thoughts that temptations give birth to sin.

 

Our thoughts are merely unspoken words. And when we dive into God’s words about the power of words, we see the importance of guarding our hearts so that our minds might be renewed in order for the thoughts we think to become the life-giving words we want to say.

 

Friends, we don’t change from the outside in. We change from the inside out. One of the things I don’t do for my family is clean out their pockets before I wash their clothes. I probably should because I have washed wallets, chapstick, crayons, gum, hair ties, legos, screws, and keys, but I’m afraid of what I’m going to find in the dark recesses of their pockets.

 

Let’s not be like that with our minds. God knows our thoughts anyway, so let’s ask him to help us be aware of our thoughts so our words can be life-giving. So let’s reach into that pocket and turn it inside out. Get rid of the fuzz and lint and ask God to make your mind new.

The Takeaway

 

In order for negative cycles to be broken, we need to begin in our hearts and what’s in our hearts is evidenced by the words we think and say.

 

Pay attention to what you’re thinking and talk to God about it.

 

Scripture to Ponder

 

“Would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart.” Psalm 44:21

 

“There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” Luke 12:2-3

 

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23

 

 

 

Let's be friends!

I write to encourage you that you can experience a vibrant, transformative relationship with God even if your past or your shame tells you otherwise. God invites you upward and onward, will you join me? You'll receive weekly devotionals straight to your inbox. By subscribing you'll receive my 7-Day Devotional, Kicking Perfect, as a thank-you gift from me!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest