The girls in my county jail Bible study struggle to live successful lives. Most of their problems and troubles result from their wrong thinking. The progression of thoughts to results is as follows. What we think affects our emotions. Our emotions create beliefs. Our beliefs control our behavior. And, our behavior directs the events of our lives. The events of our lives determine our destiny.
For example, destructive thinking is thinking of things that offend you, which causes you to be angry, fearful, or depressed. When you are fearful, mad, or sad, you will act out your emotions in aggressive or passive-aggressive ways. Passive-aggressive behavior varies but can be silence, avoidance, harming yourself by cutting, using drugs, turning to alcohol, etc. When you act on your negative emotions, then there will be strife in yourself and with others. Strife destroys relationships in partnerships, jobs, churches, etc., which will often negatively affect your life and the lives of your family. Review my post on the one thing that destroys relationships.
To be healthy emotionally, think positive and thankful thoughts. When you think positive thoughts, then you will act or behave with kindness and grace. Showing gratitude and grace will strengthen your relationships. Showing grace is saying a kind word or forgiving someone when they may not deserve it. See my post Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without.
The first step to victorious, sucessful living is to be spiritually healed. Spiritual healing begins by confessing we are sinners in need of a savior. Then believing Jesus Christ is God the Son, who died and rose again, forgives our sins, and frees us from sins control (See Jn 1:29; 1 Jn 4:15; 1 Pet 1:18-19; Col 1:14; & Gal 5:1). When we confess this with our mouth and believe it with our heart, then God the Holy Spirit and His love, life, and light enter our hearts (See Gal 4:6 & 1 Cor 6:17). If you have not made this confession, then do it now to experience spiritual healing (See Rom 10:9-13 & Eph 2:1-10). Next, practice the following actions to live a victorious and successful life.
1) Live through Christ Jesus: See 1 John 4:9-12, 17; 2 Cor 13:4; Gal 2:20. Live through Christ by doing the following actions.
- Keep your mind on Him and transform your thinking: See Col 3:1-4; Is 26:3; James 1:21; Rom 12:2; Phil 4:8
- Seek His help when you struggle with temptations and wrong thinking: See Heb 2:17-18; 4:15-16; 1 Cor 10:13
- Abide (stay; dwell) with Him, and His words abide in you: See Jn 15:1-8; 1 John 2:24; Jam 1:21-25; 4:6-8; Matt 7:24-26
- Forgive as He forgave (key to successful relationships): See Matt 6:12-15; 18:21-35; Col 3:13; Mark 11:25
- Be humble as He was: See Phil. 2:3-11; Matthew 11:29; 1 Peter 5:5
- Love as He Loved: See John 15:9-14; 1 Cor. 13:4-7; 16:14
2) Rely on the Holy Spirit as your Helper: See John 14:26 and John 15:26. To renew us See Titus 3:3-7 & 1 Cor 6:11. To put off your old life and put on a new life: See Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5-15; 2 Cor 5:17
3) Die to sin and be free from it’s control, then do what is right by setting your mind on the things of the Spirit: See 1 Peter 2:24; Rom 6:10-14; 8:4-11; 1 John 1:7; 3:5-8, 14; Col 3:5-17, Eph 4:17-32; 5:8; 1 John 1:9; Hebrews 12:1-2; 1 Pet. 2:11; James 1:21; Gal 5:22-25. Deny your fleshly desires (sin/evil) and avoid the consequences: See James 1:13-15; Gal 5:16-21; 6:7-8; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Rom 8:7-8, 13-14; Mark 7:20-23; Rev 21:8
4) Pray continually: See Phil 4:6-7; Rom 12:12; 1 Thes 5:17 –Turn every wrong, sinful thought into a prayer of repentance and renewal immediately. The longer we think wrong thoughts the further down the wrong path we will go (1 John 1:9; 3:21-24).
5) Submit to God and stand firm against the enemy of your mind and your faith: See James 4:7,8; Gal 5:1; Eph 6:10-17; 1 Peter 5:6-10; Heb 11:1, 6; 12:1-3; 1 John 5:4-5
6) Persevere through trials; trusting God is at work, and put your hope in Him: See John 16:33; 1 Peter 1:6-9; 4:12-14, 19; Matt 6:33-34; 8:28; James 1:2-4, 12; 5:11; Heb 10:36-39; 12:5-7; Rom 5:2-4; 8:18; Lam 3:21-25; Is 30:18; Ps 62:5-8; 147:11; Luke 6:22; 2 Cor 4:17-18; 12:10
7) Do the Will of God, found in the Word of God: See James 1:21-25; 1 Peter 4:2; Matt 3:35; Rom 12:2; 1 Thes 4:3; 5:12-18; 1 Pet 2:15; 1 John 2:17; 5:14-15
CONTEMPLATE SCRIPTURE: To cContemplate means to look at and think about intently; study; consider, (see James 1:25).
Remember, the Bible is our guidebook for living the new life we have received through believing in Jesus Christ. To know how to live the new life, do the following steps for all bible passages in this guide. Also, try to memorize a verse each day to reinforce the truths of God’s Word. Psalms 119:11 says, “I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
- Read the verse(s) slowly several times inviting God to impress upon you the word, phrase, or sentence from the text that He most wants to speak to you. Record these words.
- Reflect on this word or phrase from the text and consider its intersection with your life and with other passages of Scripture. What do you sense God saying to you through this text? Be still and let the words from Scripture fill your heart and mind.
- Write a prayer of response to God in light of what He has spoken to you. This prayer can be one of thanksgiving, confession, or petition, to name a few. Note any changes or commitments you will make to God as a result of being confronted, convicted, comforted, challenged, or confirmed by this biblical text.
SO WHAT MAKES A CHRISTIAN DIFFERENT?
A Christian has been given a supernatural (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Tim 1:7) new life and has been set free from the bondage of sin and the Devil’s control: See 1 Cor 6:17; Gal 5:1; John 8:36; Rom 6:6-7; 1 John 1:9; 3:8-10; Eph 2:1-3; Col 2:13-15; 2 Peter 1:2-3.
A Christian understands their sins are atoned for and forgiven: See John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18-19.
They know they are redeemed (debt of sin is paid for): See Rom 3:23-25; Col 1:14; Eph 1:7-10.
And they are reconciled to God: See Romans 5:8-11
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P.S.: Experiencing lasting change in your life depends on having a right relationship with God the Father through believing in His Son Jesus Christ and obeying His command to love (1 John 3).