Today we continue our series, “Progress On Purpose.” I told you that God wants us to walk in “NEW LEVELS IN 2021!” But if we are going to do so, we must be intentional about our progress. With that in mind, as we lay the foundation for the year, I told you that I would discuss “Leveling Up” in five areas:
We have covered the first three thus far. Today we are looking at the fourth: Leveling up internally. In this section, I will cover the following:
1. Being anxious for nothing
2. Receiving unshakable peace
3. Joy and peace in believing
4. Relaxing your mind and getting physical/psychological rest
5. The highest form of faith is rest
In our last message, I talked about mental health. We will flow in the same vein today. Let’s get back to it.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
Friday, we looked at the following passages, and we will go back to them today.
(Proverbs 4:23 ERV)
Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.
(2 Cor 10:3-5 KJV).
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
1. Taking control of your thoughts and aligning them with God.
Here is an excerpt from Friday’s message:
“Our minds are constantly flooded with thoughts from either (1) ourselves, (2) the adversary, or (3) God. We must learn to discern which thoughts are which so we can know which ones to receive and which ones to reject. This is critical because thoughts lead to actions. Every action, good or bad, starts with a thought. One quick way of knowing a thought did NOT come from God is when the thought is contrary to God’s Word. The Spirit of God will never lead you contrary to the Word of God.”
Understanding this, it is critical that we renew our minds to think and act like God.
There are three parts of you, just like there are three parts of God. God is Father, Son and Spirit. You are spirit, soul and body. The day you gave your life to Jesus your spirit was made new, but your soul and body were not. One day you will receive a glorified body. This means that your spirit WAS changed instantly, the moment of your conversion/salvation, your soul IS BEING changed progressively, as you read and apply the Word of God, and your body WILL BE changed eventually one day. That being the case, you don’t have to work on your spirit, because it is already new. You can work on your body, but in the end, you are going to get a new one. So the singular focus of the Born-Again believer, from the moment of conversion to his/her eventual death, should be the transformation of his/her soul. Your soul is comprised of your mind, emotions and will. Your soul contains the way you think, the way you feel and the way you make decisions. The more you study, meditate/medicate and apply the Word of God, the more your soul is transformed (see Romans 12:2) to think and act like God in this world.
The more you learn the Word, the better you get to know God and His ways. Further, the more you learn the Word and you are transformed by it, the more your mind (the way you think), emotions (the way you feel) and will (the way you make decisions) align with God. Simply put, the more you become like the Word of God, the more you become like the God of the Word.
The more you do this, the more your thoughts and actions become like God. In John 15:7, Jesus explained that if you ever get to the point where God’s Word abides IN you and you abide IN God, you can ask for whatever you want. Because at that point what you want IS what God wants. Think about that for a minute. Jesus was saying that it is possible to renew your mind to the point where all your thoughts are in alignment with God’s thoughts. And since you have thoughts in your mind that come from three places: 1) God, 2) satan, and 3) you; it will be easy to discern which thoughts to receive and which ones to reject when you renew your mind to think like God.
Renewing your mind is critical. Because the more your mind is renewed (by the Word of God), the more you will die to sin, self, and selfish desires, and the easier it will be to filter through the thoughts in your mind!
*** If you want to LEVEL UP in 2021, you are going to have to LEVEL UP your thinking to think like God!
2. You don’t have a feelings problem.
Friday, I briefly dealt with the topic of depression. We discussed how uncontrolled thoughts can lead to uncontrolled feelings and the results can be devastating. I hope this helps you understand the progressive picture Paul painted for us, one that goes from thoughts to images to strongholds. Along those lines, this morning I am led to teach more on feelings. Feelings (or emotions) are great when they enhance your life, but if uncontrolled they can make life miserable.
The job of your feelings is to amplify your thoughts. I will use the praise-and-worship portion of a church service as an example. If you sit in an atmosphere where people are leading you to sing songs of praise, causing you to think about the goodness of God for 10-15 minutes, no matter how you felt when you came into the church, if you participate, you will begin to feel good. Then the praise-and-worship team might shift into singing songs about God Himself and how great He is. This may go on for another 10-15 minutes. By then you may find yourself lifting up your hands in the presence of the Lord. Finally, if the praise-and-worship team closes out the session with a few minutes of singing directly to God, with an outpour of love from your heart, even if you are not an overly emotional person, you may find yourself weeping or crying out in the presence of your God. You came in the church FEELING one way, but after 30-45 minutes of THINKING about God and His goodness, you FEEL completely different. Why? Because your feelings simply amplify your thoughts.
Now let’s take the opposite approach. Let’s say you had a great day and you are feeling pretty good. But you get home only to receive terrible news. The news is so bad that you FEEL like someone hit you in the gut. You take a seat and begin to nurse and rehearse the bad news over and over and over again in your mind. This goes on for 30 minutes. How do you think you are going to FEEL? Since you are meditating on BAD news, you are going to feel BAD. There is no mystery to it. But what if satan can get you to nurse and rehearse bad news for hours, or days, or weeks? That’s how believers delve into depression. Their mind is fixed on bad news, therefore they FEEL terrible. A doctor can give you pills to numb your feelings, but you don’t have a “feelings” problem. Your feelings are working. Your feelings are amplifying your thoughts. You actually have a THINKING problem and pills to numb your feelings will never deal with the root issue.
a) A person with uncontrolled feelings is actually a person with uncontrolled thoughts.
b) Your mind is the control center of your life. If can control the way you think, you will be in control of the way you live.
c) The wisest man in the Bible said, “Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.” (Prov 4:23).
d) God has given you the grace to take control of every thought, because He wants you to take control of the life He has given you.
e) It’s your mind, and it will focus on whatever you make it focus on.
f) Feelings will amplify your thoughts. So if you don’t control bad thoughts will not be able to stop feeling bad.
g) Successful people have a disciplined thought life. They tap into the grace to focus their mind on divine purpose.
h) Your spirit is the real you. You are a spirit, you possess a soul — which is where your mind, emotions and will reside — and your spirit and soul live in a physical body (for now). Your spirit (the real you) can tell your mind what to think, your feelings how to feel, and your will what to choose!
3. If you can think the right thoughts, it benefits you in so many ways.
a) If you renew your mind to think and act like God in this world, your renewed mind will lead you away from selfish desires, and dying to die will become easy because you won’t be struggling between God’s desires and yours. At that point, your desires and God’s desires and in alignment, and you will see yourself “As Jesus is, in this world” (1 Jn 4:17).
b) A renewed mind produces a prosperous soul. Once you prosper on the inside, it is only a matter of time before it spills over to the outside.
c) A renewed mind can ask for whatever it wants from God and actually receive it all (John 15:7). Because at that point, what you want is what God wants, and you are asking in alignment and agreement with His will (see (1 Jn 5:14,15).
d) Reading God’s Word and meditating/medicating on it day and night has lots of benefits. The greatest benefit is a renewed mind because your thoughts control your life! (Prov 4:23).
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I take control of every thought. By taking control of my thoughts I take control of my life. I tell my mind what to meditate on. I direct my will to make decisions that line up with Your purpose for me. I no longer allow uncontrolled thoughts to lead to uncontrolled feelings. I don’t live by feelings, I live by faith, because I focus my thoughts on You and Your Word. I enter this day declaring that my mind is alert, my body is awake, my thoughts are sharp and in check, my focus is clear, my purpose is before me, my God is with me, my success is inevitable. I will never again allow feelings to control me. From this day forward, I tell my mind what to think, I tell my feelings how to feel, and I tell my will what to decide. I LEVEL UP my life in 2021! GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith, in Jesus’s name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!