Welcome to week two of our Renew Your Mind Challenge! I am so glad you have joined us! In this 13-week challenge, I am sharing with you the single most life-changing truth I have personally discovered.
I will update the links below as I post them.
1. Back to the Beginning
2. Fix Your Mind
3. Accepting His Love
4. Love Into Joy
5. Joy Into Peace
6. Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness
9. Overcome Evil With Good
I used to be depressed, needy, easily offended, anxious, stressed – the list goes on. Now I am happy, fulfilled, and at peace. I discovered the answer at 29 years of age. The secret to happiness lies in your inner response to life: perceptions, intentions, feelings, thought patterns, beliefs. Come along with me and let your faith come alive to you in a new way – a way that will change everything. Each week, we will focus on one small yet powerful action we can take to change our inner life, and renew ourselves into the love of God.
Last week our challenge was to become more aware of our inner life – our thoughts, feelings, and heart responses. This week we will begin the process of transforming our inner life.
Philippians 4:6 says:
“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.”
Romans 8:6 says:
“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”
Romans 12:2 says:
“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.”
Colossians 3:2 says:
“Think about the things of Heaven, not the things of Earth.”
In this culture, we have the idea that as long as we do what’s right, it doesn’t matter what we think. Having a negative mind is seen as humorous, as something to be emulated and desired, and even put on a pedestal in our culture. We are missing the very important truth that “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Our thoughts are far more powerful than most people realize. Why? Because they determine the state of our heart. “As a man thinks so is he.” Our normal pattern of thoughts determines who we are inside, at the core of our personality.
When I first realized this, it was a major lightbulb moment for me. It took me almost 30 years to get this, but when I finally did, it was like the whole world opened up before me. A new day was dawning; the old life was passing away before my eyes.
All my life, I had been a “born-again, sold-out Christian,” as they say. And yet, the normal pattern of my thoughts was guilt, shame, self-hatred, fear, anxiety, stress, and worry. I said and thought that I “believed in Jesus,” and yet I missed out on the core of his teaching. Jesus taught that to “believe in him” is to “abide in him.” To exist in him. To be one with him. To receive him. The Bible speaks of a mysterious “oneness” that is possible to experience in the spiritual realm. Most Christians know this oneness by the term “salvation,” but often times it is understood as some distant spiritual transaction between us and God. We see “salvation” as a change in God’s attitude toward us, forgetting that God’s attitude toward us has never changed. His attitude toward us is and always has been love. Salvation is a change in us – in our spiritual or inner condition. Salvation is what happens when we respond to God’s love and become one with his love on the inside.
The key to experiencing this oneness is our faith. Every Christian knows this, but yet we don’t make the connection between our “beliefs” and our “thought patterns.” Our thought patterns make up our beliefs, and our beliefs (our faith) open our hearts to receive whatever it is that we are believing.
When we think negative, destructive thought patterns about ourselves and our relationship with God, our hearts are closed to that one-ness – that spiritual experience the Bible calls salvation. All my life, my inner thought patterns were filled with depression, anxiety, self-hatred, guilt, shame, condemnation, fear, and impatience. But the Bible says that the evidence of the Spirit of God inside us is love, joy, peace, patience, etc- the exact opposite!
When I finally accepted the fact that my thoughts were so connected to my spiritual condition, my entire life changed. I decided I wanted to experience the love of God that my faith told me about. I wanted it to be real for me on the inside. I wanted to know and feel the love of God deeply, and let it transform me into a new person. I wanted to be done with the depression, anxiety, fear, self-hatred, impatience, stress, worry, and shame. I wanted the gospel of the heart I had always said I believed in.
I started choosing my first thoughts when I got up every morning.
“I am loved and accepted. I am full of joy. I am at peace.”
Love, joy, and peace are the first three fruits of the spirit, evidence of God inside us, so I figured that was a good place to start. Little by little I expanded my list.
“I am positive, confident, and secure. I am filled with the life of God. I am a manifestation of God’s love.”
And I am not joking, what happened next knocked me off my feet. I had such a profound spiritual awakening that nothing I had experienced in my 29 years of being a Christian even compared. Everything about my life changed overnight. My mindset changed. My relationships changed. My heart changed. My energy changed. And out of that, my actions began to change almost effortlessly. I became genuinely happy, all the time. I rested in a deep sense of peace. I felt secure, confident, known, and loved. My fears left, because for the first time in my life, I knew who I was – I was LOVED and I was LOVE – the love of God flowed into me and through me. I had become one with divine love on the inside and it bubbled out of me like springs of living water.
This is the true salvation, “born again” experience the Bible talks about – being born out of the flesh and “into the Spirit.” Becoming one with the love of God, leaving the fleshly ways behind us and stepping into the life of God in a way that first transforms our hearts by satisfying our deepest needs.
The challenge this week is to “fix our minds.” We’ve become aware of what we’re thinking; now let’s begin the process of changing it. Pick at least three very specific new thoughts to say out loud to yourself at the beginning of every day, and throughout each day. You could say “I am loved. I am joyful. I am at peace,” like I did, or you can come up with your own. I would highly, highly recommend choosing thoughts that revolve around the love of God for you.
Let the focus of your thoughts be the love and life of God that is inside you. You are loved with an incomprehensible, eternal, ocean of love. Focus on it, think about it, until you can feel it all around you, until it is springing forth in your heart, until it becomes more real to you than anything in this world.
Choose your thoughts. Write them down and keep them close. Say them out loud to yourself in the morning and before you go to bed. Say them out loud throughout the day. Say them until they start to become your normal pattern of thinking.
Week Two Challenge: Begin to take control of your thought patterns. Choose three very specific, positive, loving thoughts to say to and about yourself. Let your thoughts become one with the love of God for you. Say these thoughts over and over until they become natural.