I’m learning that what I think is often more important than various experiences or events. If my thoughts are dark, if I’m feeling insecure, inadequate, uncertain or frumpy, then I tend to behave & interact from a darker place. On the contrast, when I’m hopeful, optimistic, bright, steady & confident, then my interactions are more positive & constructive, with a higher quality of internal resilience.
So maybe this is why Paul tells us in Phil 4:7-8, to let Jesus’ peace guard our hearts & mind, as well as instructing us about keeping our thoughts centered on gratitude, stuff that’s right, honorable, etc.
it’s important to think about our thoughts & appreciate that how we interact & engage is an interior decision more than an external response 🙂
Last week, I jumped out of my car & ran up to a guy on the street & gave him a Bible verse. He didn’t speak English, so it was a little rough going. But the reason I did this was because the Holy Spirit led me in my morning prayer time to give this specific Bible verse to someone who was wearing a very distinct color of green. When I was driving down the street, I saw this guy wearing that specific color of green, so that’s why I stopped & did what could seem a little bit unusual 🙂
This question hit me between the eyes in my prayer time this morning because of what Paul says in Romans 8:14 – those who are led by the Spirit are the children of God. This verse says that if I’m God’s child, then I’m led by the Spirit. Of course I want this to be accurate & true, but when I think about being led by the Holy Spirit in my daily living, it’s not always true.
For example, there are certainly times when I put my schedule & convenience at a higher priority than following the Holy Spirit. I must also admit that there are plenty of times when I’m scared, or I feel intimidated or it feels uncomfortable to follow the Holy Spirit. I would suspect that you might also have some similar thoughts & feelings.
Let’s be careful that we make it a priority to be led by the Holy Spirit regardless of how we feel or what seems to be convenient!
This is a question people often ask when someone seems deep in thought or reflective. It’s a good question to ask when you’re getting to know someone or when a person seems unusually quiet. But it’s also a good question to ask ourselves from time to time, forcing us to take a thought inventory.
Taking an inventory of our thoughts is important because it lets us see places in our thinking where we can make some helpful adjustments. Indeed, consider some of the things Paul says about our thoughts:
2 Cor 10:5, “destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”
Phil 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think on these things.”
Rom 8:6, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace”
Let’s be attentive to our thoughts because they influence our lives in very powerful but subtle ways!
We have a joke in my family about my cooking: the more smoke alarms that go off, the better the meal. So a 3 alarm meal is likely to be super awesome!!
Alarms help us pay attention, particularly if something is bad. So maybe we should ask the Holy Spirit to be like an alarm in our thinking. For example, sometimes my mind & thoughts can get dark. I might find myself discouraged about something at work or maybe I received some bad news about one of my kids, or sometimes I might have a conflict with my husband. If I’m not careful, I can let some of those discouraging thoughts become all consuming & before I know it, I’m a victim to depression, discouragement & darkness. While I’m not saying that we should live in denial or dismiss bad news or negative thoughts. We absolutely need the Holy Spirit to alert & give us a wake up call when such thoughts go too far & begin controlling & even sabotaging our divine purpose & destiny. 2Cor 10:5 says,
Sometimes the alarm goes off on my car as well, so I have these “fun” reminders in my life to stay alert & perky 🙂
In contrast to success, I don’t think any of us purposefully set out to fail or enjoy defeat. Indeed, the word, “defeat” causes me to recoil & evokes a gagging reflex in me. Truth be known, I’d rather not try & avoid defeat than to try & feel defeated – operative word, “feel”.
How we feel & what we think about success is really important to consider because our thinking & feeling affect what we do & even how we organize our priorities. Let me suggest to you that we humans tend to frame success in the terms of results but maybe God frames success in different terms. Perhaps obedience is more important to God than results. Is it possible that God defines success as obedience more than results?
There was a woman in Jesus life whom He treated gruffly, He even called her a “dog”, which isn’t quite in the realm of chivalrous behavior. Here’s what was happening: this chick was harassing Jesus’ disciples because she wanted Him to come & heal her daughter but Jesus was ignoring her. When His disciples got fed up with her efforts, they asked Jesus to do something, to which He replied to His disciples that He wasn’t called to help dogs, i.e. this woman. What a slap in the face! He ignores her & then insults her! I know lots of people, myself included, who would sulk away insulted by this kind of treatment. But this chick held on & wasn’t deflected by how Jesus treated her. Her faith was stronger than her feelings & the goal (her daughter getting healed) was the main goal. Lets learn some great lessons from this chick that our faith stays stronger than our feelings & that we keep our eyes steady on the goals that conform to Jesus’ will 🙂
When I was in high school, I used to like some of the Robbie Nevil songs that praised the glories of apathy & indifference (Wot’s It To Ya’, C’est La Vie). I think I liked these songs at the time because I didn’t know how to handle my deep feelings of care, concern and connection for people and the world around me. Sometimes I still feel this way & can get overwhelmed when I think about various situations, Saving Moses, people and events – I’m deeply concerned about what’s happening in Egypt with the instability there.
But just because my feelings can be overwhelming from these various situations, relationships and experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot become apathetic. In my mind, apathy is just a socially acceptable word for passive violence. So what do I do with these things that can easily overwhelm me? Pray.
Prayer is the best immunization against apathy. Pray often, pray quickly, pray fervently and pray all the time.
I’ve been thinking some more about the topic of decision making & the results of my decisions. Sometimes the quality of my decisions gets compromised because my thoughts & feelings are in a bad place. When I allow insecurity, fear, hopelessness, discouragement and other dark things settle into my thoughts & feelings I inevitably make mediocre to low quality decisions. Perhaps this is why Paul in the Bible said that we should take captive every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of Jesus. Decisions are often the results of thoughts & feelings, so it’s important to be dialed into that on which we allow our mind & feelings dwell.
This is one reason why Saving Moses is so important – it gives loving hope for a better future to babies & their moms who are in hopeless & even dying situations.
I’ve been praying about what to write about today & I feel strongly impressed to share some truths that never change. These truths are about you. You are:
significant and important – because of Who made you, you are a VIP. Your title, achievements, awards, etc are not what make you significant & important, even though they can help you to feel this truth. But remember that you are significant & important regardless of how you feel
valuable and highly treasured – for the simple reason that God loves you, this makes you valuable
you have purpose – there are MANY reasons for your existence & you have lots of assignments that God has put into your life. From God’s perspective, all of the purposes & assignments in your life are important – none are insignificant nor trivial
Please be encouraged today by these timeless & unchanging truths & may they continually remind you of the Father’s immeasurable love for you that pervades the entirety of our lives 🙂