I needed steel toed boots when I researched this one. I’ll wait here while you get yours. (You can get a good pair at Orchelin’s).
This is dedicated to Cynthia and Sandy…Yes, I finally understand.
Unless otherwise stated, scripture quotes are from the Holman Bible, as shown on the following web site: https://www.bible.com/
WHAT WAS I THINKING???
Proverbs 23:7a – For as he thinks within himself, so he is. NASB
It seems like this is a lifelong pursuit. Sometimes I approached this with Herculean effort, and sometimes I petered out before I even tried.
My thoughts were toxic. They were why I was continually failing at anything I tried. On the outside, I put on the bravado if “Charles in Charge“, but on the inside I was not so in charge.
At my very best, I have very little self-control, and the things I think eventually sneak out and come to life in the manifest world. I tried self-help books, I tried “The Secret” (It is an empty gun when God’s will is not the target). I tried therapy (And have sent many a therapist to mental wards…it only takes a little peek into my mind to drive any rational human in sane), and I tried the usual self-affirming tricks you learn in NLP classes (Look it up. It is the major tool used by advertisement agencies, the Press and the White House to get you to do whatever it is they want.). Nothing could affect a permanent change in my heart.
After repeatedly running out of gas in the self-help aisle, and seeing as I am now genuinely interested in doing whatever it is that Jesus wants me to do, I had to do a lot of digging.
Here is what I learned:
Matthew 24:34 – Brood of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. – Jesus
I prayed for God to change my heart and thinking. I came to this point after decades of being my own worst enemy.
When I read Matt. 24:34, I was floored. The reason I was floored like a mop was, the fruit of my mouth was only evil and negative, and mostly filth. I could cuss with the best of any Drill Sergeant. I said whatever came to my mind, and it was mostly filth and hate.
I especially had trouble with this the harder I tried to be “Religious”.
James 1:6 – If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, then his religion is useless and he deceives himself.
Uh Oh. I realized I was not being a servant to the Lord, but being a RELIGIOUS person. See, a religious person can fake Christianity (Or any other religion) really well, but like the man said, “Anyone can stand on their head for a couple of weeks. Let’s see what happens when it gets tough.”
I don’t know about you but I hate religion. I hate when people, including myself, try to be all pious and “holy”, and pretend to be righteous, when even Ray Charles can see that, when you run out of steam, you show that you are a fake. I HATE that.
James 1: 5-7 Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing, and it will be given to him.
On my own, I have a foolish heart. I am not known for my “King Solomon-like” wisdom. When I realized that, I surrendered again to the Lordship of Christ, who works in me His will for my life. You cannot fake this, either. It is either faith, based on Jesus’s free gift of Salvation, and your desire to serve him as He is the Lord, or it isn’t. It has to be genuine. So, I confessed that I am a self-righteous fool, who only plays at being a Christian, but I fail at it. I confessed that My heart is full of dark, squiggly, slimy evil, and asked God to shine the light of His love and Grace in my heart. (You shoulda seen the roaches run for cover when THAT happened! They hate the light. You can run, but you can’t hide! Bwa Haa haaaa!)
I Samuel 16:7b – Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.”
This is where you have to go into this whole thing aware of what you are asking. If you have given your life to Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, The Spirit of God will come in and look around, and until He gets your heart redecorated to look like HIS heart, there has to be some turning away from your own ways. God does amazing Heart Surgery.
Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.
So, if you are going to dedicate your life to Jesus, and that is what it really means to be a Christian, then the first place God is going to deal with you is your thoughts, your attitude, your sin, and your failures. He HAS to change the intent of your heart. Human intent is at war with God’s will for Humans. We are having WAY too much fun being the “Master of our domain.”
But if you have genuinely given your heart to Jesus Christ, you will not be able to help it, but to ask Jesus to change you and your heart until you are the very reflection of Him. Until this happens, the Holy Spirit will work to teach you, to convict you, to lead you to repentance, as you serve, and grow to be just like Christ.
Now, if you are like I was, a complete and total Jack-Ass, then you are in for some rough times. Trust me on this one. But don’t despair, God has all the time in the Universe to deal with you. The sooner you submit, the easier it will go. Don’t be like I was, don’t be a Jack-Ass.
Jeremiah 23:29 – “Is not My word like fire” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “and like a hammer that pulverizes rock? <==(I think He was referring to my thick skull, there.
THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH ON YOUR OWN!
I tried. Remember I said that a minute ago? I gave it over 20 years, and I failed every time. It is God, and God alone who changes you.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to desire and to work out His good purpose.
You don’t have the will unless God gives it to you. You don’t have the desire to change, unless God calls you to the changes. If you try to do it on your own strength, power, and “wisdom”, then you are A: A fool, and B: BEING RELIGIOUS!!!
Stop it, and trust God. He loves you and has nothing but good plans for you if you submit.
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
God will change your heart, and your thinking and your intent so that you will become just like Jesus. HE does this by HIS OWN power.
So, getting back to where I was earlier:
Proverbs 18:21 – Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Jesus says, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”
Man, was I in a fix. Nothing good was coming out of my mouth, so that meant the intentions of my heart were not in God’s control. I gave control of my heart to God. And when I did, we did the laundry. My thoughts changed. My attitudes changed. My INTENTIONS changed. And they all changed and are still changing to the point that I can just begin to see the image of Christ in my heart.
Along with a heart of submission, there is one thing I have to do in participation with God in this change:
Proverbs 4:23 – “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
I have a list of things I need to watch out for. It is the usual things that will get a human in trouble, the lust of the eye, the lust of the heart, and the pride of life. Like Paul said, if it weren’t for these things, there’d be no sin.
Galatians 5:24 – Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
My desire is to serve Christ and Christ alone. This is not a decision you can make on your own, and it is not something you can fake. It is either real, or it is not. But total submission to Christ IS what being a Christian means. We are still here after we believed so we can live a life that reflects Jesus Christ, so that others will be led to eternal life through Christ. That is why you are still on this planet (IF you are, indeed, a Christian.)
Philippians 4:8 – Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things.
That verse speaks for itself. But this takes discipline. Thinking on these things has changed my attitude and my heart. It has made me more sensitive to the urgings of the Lord. It has made me more willing to show Grace and Mercy to those who need it. It has made it possible for me to see the difference between Godly behavior, and no so godly behavior. All this is true because it is the Holy Spirit working in me to effect these changes.
Philippians 4:6-7 – Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Don’t worry about ANYTHING. This is a tough one, but when you allow God to change the intent of your heart, and you “think on these things”, you learn you CAN take EVERYTHING to God, with a grateful heart. And I promise you, I am a witness to this personally, The Peace of God, which passes every thought, WILL guard your hearts and minds IN JESUS CHRIST.
God will guard your heart and mind. It begins when you are genuinely IN Jesus Christ, and it ends because you are IN Jesus Christ.
SO, WHAT IS YOUR POINT???
I am glad you asked. The whole point of getting your mind right is so that the Mind of Christ will be in you. When the mind of Christ is in you, you will have the intentions of Christ, and not your own selfish ones. When you have the intent of Christ in you, you will bear good fruit.
Galatians 5:22-23 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.
When you bear good spiritual fruit, you will be like Jesus, and you will be able to be living proof that Jesus Christ is Lord, and you will be able to lead others to Jesus Christ.
So, watch your mouth. Give your whole heart to Jesus Christ and stop being religious.
You will be effective as Jesus’s disciple when you have let the Holy Spirit do heart surgery on you.
Now, let’s be about it!
I love you
David G. Perkins