Change your thoughts and you'll change your life
- 2001 24 Oct
- Nobody makes you mad. If someone is rude or demeaning, you do not have to respond in kind. Your actions and reactions are your choice. Nor are you at the mercy of all the pettiness, meanness, impatience, and anger of others. Besides, do you want to let someone else decide how you are going to act?
- You make you mad. The people and pressures in your life don't make you angry; something inside you makes you feel that way. When you change what you are thinking you can stop being angry.
- Reality is not what happens to you. Reality is what you think about what happens to you. You have little or no control over what happens to you, but God's grace gives you more control over what happens in you than you are willing to admit and accept. Epictetus, the first-century philosopher said, When we meet with difficulties, become anxious and troubled, let us not blame others, but rather ourselves; that is, our ideas about things.
- Check what's in your mind. Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? (Ez. 8:12). What is going on in the chambers of your imagery?
- Wrong thinking is a sin problem. Acknowledge your misbeliefs, confessing them to God - and to someone who can pray for you. Repent, in the New Testament Greek, means literally to change your mind.
- Feed your brain. The Bible has the power to change your thoughts because it's God's Living Word, and it's the truth. It has the power literally to change your thoughts when you are powerless.
- Be a card-carrying Christian. Take a 3-by-5-inch card, and on one side write the scripture you find especially life-giving for your personal situation. On the other side write STOP! in large letters. Carry the card with you. When your thoughts start running away from you, pull out the card and read it to yourself - out loud if you can. Tell your brain: Stop thinking that way! Then turn the card over and review the Bible references. Read them again and again, many times a day if necessary. (Try Psalm 20:1-5.)
- Filter your thoughts through the Holy Spirit. I will ask the Father, Jesus promised, and He will give you another counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of truth (John 14: 16-17). You can tap into the power of God's wisdom and discernment if you will call upon the Holy Spirit to help you find the truth.
- Utilize crises. People change radically when the hurricanes of life blow through their brains. Hardship is the way the Lord disciplines us. My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punished everyone He accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline (Heb. 12:5-7).
From Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe by Gary Kinnaman, (c) 1999. Used by permission of Vine Books, an imprint of Servant Publications, P.O. Box 8617, Ann Arbor, MI, 48107, 1-800-458-8505.
Gary Kinnaman is senior pastor of Word of Grace Church in Mesa, Ariz., and is the author of Angels Dark and Light and My Companion Through Grief.