Has it ever seemed like you’ve had the same point come up over and over again in sermons, personal Bible study, conversations, books you’re reading, and everywhere else? I call that a 2×4 – a time when God seems to be hitting you upside the head with a 2×4 piece of lumber. If that happened with a literal 2×4, it would hurt. A lot. This kind of message is one God is trying to drive home.
Last week I encountered a major 2×4. I had an increasingly bad attitude and kept listening to the voice of fear. Over and over again, with increasing frequency, God tried to tell me this was a sin. I needed to repent and turn away from it, but I kept telling myself I couldn’t. That was a lie.
Scripture says many times to guard our hearts and minds.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid [or fearful], but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Here’s the kicker.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:4-9 (NIV)
Take a moment to check your own thinking. Over the last week, have you thought about what is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy? Or, like me, were your thoughts mostly not? An old pastor friend of mine used to call that “stinkin’ thinkin’.”
If the Holy Spirit is convicting you of your sinful stinkin’ thinkin’ (like He did me), it’s time for a change.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)
The first part of Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as [a person] thinks within himself, so he is” (NASB).
Let’s take a moment to commit our hearts and minds to the Lord.
- Take a moment to pray, asking God to change your thinking.
- Choose a verse (maybe one of the above) to memorize this week.
- Be aware of your thinking this week. Everytime you catch yourself in stinkin’ thinkin’, repent of it and repeat your memory verse.
- Your goal is to replace that stinkin’ thinkin’ with what is noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. In other words:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV, emphasis added)
For more help in correcting stinkin’ thinkin’, see The Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. There is a short illustration involving speaking in tongues all may not agree with, but don’t let that keep you from the powerful message in this book. I’ve been listening to the audiobook beginning the end of last week and I’d highly recommend it. (No, that’s not a paid endorsement.)