Welcome to week three 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 we began “fixing our mind” on the love of God. We chose specific thoughts to say to ourselves over and over, to help guide the course of our inner life toward transformation. This week, we’re going to dive more deeply into this concept.
The Bible says our spirits came from God’s light, that he breathed us out of his own spirit. It also says we are made in his image, for his glory. We have a hard time wrapping our minds around what these phrases mean, and sometimes we get so used to hearing them that they become empty phrases.
So let’s take a moment to let this sink in: You were breathed out of God’s spirit. You, as a spiritual being, were designed, fashioned, born out of the light, the love, the glory of God, and deep in your core, that’s what you are. In and of yourself, you are intrinsically, infinitesimally more valuable than the entire universe put together. The potential that you hold within your soul, simply by existing as a manifestation of God’s love, of God’s glory, of God’s image, is incalculable.
The goal this week is to gain a deeper understanding of who and what we are. Remember, the message of Jesus is heart transformation. Everything starts in the heart, in our understanding of who God is to us, and who we are to him. Everything else in life has to flow out of satisfaction in that relationship. Everything must flow out of a heart filled with love, or else it’s just empty actions, an empty life.
Many people see God as distant and angry, waiting to judge us based on our actions. This could not be further from the truth. God is interested in your heart. God is interested in what’s inside you. He is more personal than anything else you can experience in this world. He wants to be one with you, or as we’ve heard it put: to “come inside your heart” and heal and restore and change you from the inside out. This is the basic gospel message. All we have to do is receive, or “let him in.”
We can do this very practically by focusing on our relationship with him, even (and especially) in the challenging moments in life. This goes way beyond what our world calls “loving yourself.” The world’s definition of “loving yourself” oftentimes ends up being very selfish. A sort of “forget everyone else, I know who I am,” sort of thing. What we are talking about is the exact opposite of that attitude. We are talking about being so secure, so satisfied, in the love of God that’s inside our hearts, that we have endless amounts of love to give to those around us, endless amounts of patience and understanding. The greatest commandment says to “love your neighbor as yourself,” which implies two things. First, that we have to love ourselves, or know who we are, before we can truly love our neighbor. And second, that true love for ourselves will naturally result in more love to give those around us, not less.
The challenge this week is to “Accept his Love” in those exact moments we feel worse about ourselves.
Focus this week on those moments you feel embarrassed, criticized, judged, ashamed. Focus on those moments when fears of rejection, failure, or being unlovable are triggered. Take yourself back to the love that you focused on last week. Create a space inside your heart where only the love exists. Let this space grow and grow until it fills your entire heart, until it is bubbling out of you, like springs of living water. See yourself as one with the love of God inside your heart. Then, when you are challenged, you can take yourself to this place and react out of the love.
Next time someone judges or criticizes you, next time you feel overwhelmed by your own shame or guilt, next time you feel the fear or sting of rejection, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and take yourself to that space of love. Feel the love. It is everywhere. It surrounds you, and it’s springing forth from your heart. You were formed out of it. You are a beautiful creation fashioned out of that very love.
This next point is very important. Speak out loud to yourself, just like you did last week. Say “I am loved. I am infinitely, unconditionally, relentlessly loved. I am love. I AM infinite, unconditional, relentless love.”
Salvation is a heart-transformation in which you “abide in” (become one with) the love of Jesus. Respond to the person or situation who made you feel less, out of the abundance of the love.
Week Three Challenge: Choose thoughts of love in life’s difficult situations. Speak thoughts of love in life’s difficult situations. Let your thought patterns come in tune with the love of God. Become one with the love of God.