Allow me to share a bit of insight that hit me like a ton of bricks as I sat with the Scriptures one morning.
This powerful truth was a hard reminder that what goes on inside of me has a direct effect on what comes out of me, and those things ultimately influence my life.
When we begin to grasp this truth, we begin to experience the kind of healthy and abundant living that Jesus actually wants for us. Hearing it, though, is one thing. The question is, what will we do with it?
So, what was this message that gripped my heart? Here it is:
What I allow into my mind and heart on a regular basis has a significant impact on my thoughts, my attitudes, and my actions. What my mind feeds on – the images, the messages, the perspectives, the reactions that arise at different times during my days – has the potential to either pull me down or to edify me.
I constantly need to remind myself that what I allow to have a place in my head will ultimately trickle out and affect me. Not only is this fact true, but another reality is that – on the inside – I am already prone to weakness and sin and carnality. Because of this, I need to be careful about what I put IN, knowing that what goes in mixes with the wickedness that is already there and produces even greater corruption.
I need biblical truth to saturate my mind. I need to take in God’s Word and allow those messages to fill my head, not worldly wisdom or human logic. No matter how intelligent I think I am or how much wisdom I think I’ve picked up along the journey of my life, the fact is that the Scriptures are the words that God wants me to dwell on. I need God’s truth to guide and influence me – whether it’s about ambition, my work, what I think I’m owed, or what I think I deserve. These things need to exist in submission to what God says, and when His truth takes up residence in my mind, my heart and my will are going to be conformed in these areas.
I need God’s perspective on my situations and circumstances. I don’t need to look at things from a human-centered perspective that’s rooted in the flesh. I need to remember that I’m owed nothing, that my life is all about grace, and that as long as I’m following and obeying Jesus, I am in His will.
I need to know how to shut out the messages, intelligence, wisdom, images, and the lies of my sinful heart and the world around me, and I need to let my mind be filled with things that will lead me to greater peace, more joy, contentment, faith, and assurance of the promises of God.
What am I listening to? What am I tuning into? What am I allowing to take up residence inside of me? What thoughts and outlooks and beliefs are swirling around in my head that are affecting my emotions and influencing my actions?
Too often I allow myself to carry on thoughts or beliefs or outlooks or attitudes that really don’t reflect the character of God or His truth – distortions of the mind that come from distortions of the heart. Things like:
“I deserve better. People need to recognize that, or I need to make it known somehow.”
This life does not make me happy, and that’s what I really need – to be happy. I need to do whatever it takes to achieve that”
“I work hard. I deserve success. If things don’t work out in my favor, then it’s just unfair.”
When I fail to reject these patterns of thinking and I allow them to take up space in my mind, they then ultimately affect the way I feel, the way I experience my circumstances, and the choices that I make.
The Scripture says that we are to be “transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (Romans 12:2), and that “what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person (Matthew 15:18).” I would argue that “the heart” in this verse can also refer to “the mind” – to our innermost being. What is swirling around in there is what tends to come out of us when we are shaken. I want truth and holiness and the grace of God to be what spills out of me. And the only way for this to happen is for me to constantly avoid the lies and dwell on the truth.
This is my challenge today, and with God’s help I can walk this path towards transformation and renewal.
God help me to know what to avoid, what to stay away from, when to be ambitious, when to sit still, how to see things from a Christ-centered perspective, and how to follow my Savior more faithfully through this life.