Updated: May 8, 2020
Social distance?! With a two and three year old?
I love my kids, but we have had to get outside — hiking! The perfect social distancing activity.
Half way through our hike, my three-year-old says, “I’m tired. I can’t walk.” I’ve done it! I’ve expelled all the energy that was locked away in my house. But there’s still so much of the trail left and I’m not about to carry a forty pound reminder of why we should have turned around earlier.
In our household we say, “We do hard things.” So instead of carrying him, I had him say the phrase and repeat it. He got up, walked, and then sat back down. This continued about four or five times. But eventually he made it! It was his thinking that kept him from continuing.
Thoughts can change our emotions, our attitude, and even our actions.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap a destiny.”
Our thoughts determine our direction.
Are you excited about where your thoughts are taking you? If you are like me, the answer might be a little bit of yes and a lot of no.
If you have any unwanted habits or behaviors, there’s a chance you need to change your thinking.
Here are three steps we can take in order to improve our thoughts.
“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind.” Romans 7:18-23
Did the Bible just read my mind?! That seems to be a thought pattern I recognize all too often. The author says that there is a war in his mind, and the same is true of us.
The thoughts we currently have are either true or false. The first step is to identify which ones are lies. If we continually do things that we don’t want to do, it is because we are believing a lie.
Lies can be as simple as, “God only loves me when I’m obedient,” or, “This sin isn’t affecting me.” Think through an unwanted behavior and ask, “What lie am I believing that causes me to do this?”
"Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8
After identifying the lie, now we need to replace it with truth. Find a verse or a passage of scripture that directly replaces the lie you believe.
If you are believing a lie about God loving you based on your performance, memorize a verse about his grace.
If you are believing a lie that you should battle sin in secret, meditate on a passage of scripture about confessing sin and how that brings healing.
“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.” Romans 12:2
Now, it’s time to believe the truth. Write down a statement declaring it to be true in your life with a verse that backs it up.
Look at it everyday.
Say it over and over.
Let it saturate your thoughts.
I have ten note cards with statements and verses on them. I try to say them out loud every day. One of the cards says, “I forgive quickly and do not dwell on an offense,” with Proverbs 17:9 saying, “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”
Over the past few weeks I have slowly seen my thoughts change and be shaped by God’s Word. It doesn’t happen overnight, but I know that if I continue with it, I can replace old destructive thoughts with new ones that glorify God. And the same can be true for you!
If you want to see lasting change, take three note cards and go through these three steps. Commit to saying them out loud every day for two weeks, and see how your thought life is transformed. Change your thinking. Change your life.
Discuss these questions with a friend or spiritual leader to help apply today's reading:
“Our thoughts determine our directions.” How have you seen this play out in your life?
Are there any lies that you are currently believing in your life?
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