Three Steps to Renew Your Mind (Part Two)

Have you seen transformation shows on TV? Isn’t it amazing how they transform people, houses, yards, and furniture?  I refinished a lot of furniture in my time, and the part I hated most was stripping off the old paint.  But it was worth the effort when the project was completed.  Renewing your mind is a similar process.  The mind determines what you think, perceive, feel, and believe, which then influences your decisions and behaviors.  So, when you renew your mind you are transforming your life.

First, gather your supplies, in the case of renewing your mind, you must make sure you have God’s forgiveness and salvation through Jesus Christ.  Read part one if you haven’t already;  Forgiven and Saved? Now Renew Your Mind (Part One)

Next, find out what you are dealing with, ask God to search your heart and mind to show what sinful and wrong thoughts control your behavior (Jeremiah 17:10; Revelation 2:23; Psalm 139:23-24).  Write them down so you know what to tackle first.  To make this job easier, you need to remove pride first, read  The Core Negative Heart Issue

The two tools you need are Scripture and prayer.  The prayer tool is the binding and loosing principle.  Matthew 16:19b and 18:18 states, “whatever you bind (Greek meaning: knit, tie, fasten) on earth will be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (Greek meaning: release, destroy, put off) on earth will be loosed in heaven.”  You loose wrong thoughts the same way you loose and remove rust and old paint, then you bind on truthful thoughts the same way you put on a new coat of paint.  To learn more about authority in prayer read; Four Reasons for Authority in Prayer

Ephesians 4:22-24 explains the instructions, put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires (lusts), and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Corrupt in this passage means perverted, which deviates from what is right, natural, or true.  Deceit is the act of representing as true what is false; a lie; a trick.  Lust is an intense desire to gratify the senses; bodily appetite or pleasure.

Do these three exercises to renew your mind and transform your life:

  1. Put off fleshly desires (sin nature).  “For the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.  Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (see Romans 8:7-8).  Gal 5:19-21 states, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Colossians 3:5-7 tells us to, “Put to death (crucify); therefore, what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.  6) On account of these, the wrath of God is coming.  7) In these, you too once walked, when you were living in them.”  We have divine power to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ Jesus (see 2Corinthians 10:3-5). Begin by removing one sinful, wrong thought at a time.  Next, put on the corresponding characteristic of the Holy Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness/meekness, faithfulness/truthfulness, and Self-control found on my website.
  1. Put on your new self, which is the image of God, righteous and holy.  Review Ephesians 4:23-24 above.  Colossians 3:10 also states, “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator (Jesus).”  Wow!  Our new self is in the likeness and image of Jesus, and we are righteous and holy (see Eph. 4:24)!  Our new self does not automatically happen in one instance, but we transform one thought at a time by renewing our minds with the truth of God’s Word.
  1. Now live according to the Spirit by setting your mind on the things of the Spirit, which is truth.  Just as you live, abide, and spend time in your home, live, abide, and spend time in God’s Word.  Read my post called; Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?

John 8:31-32 states, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Also, John 15:7 tells us, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  What a great promise.

Romans 8:13-14 states, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons [and daughters] of God.

Gal 5:16 states, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  Live and walk according to the Spirit by showing His fruit in your life. – Galatians 5:22-24 states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24) And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  You keep your mind on the Spirit by turning every thought into a prayer, praising Him, and pondering Scripture.

You also need to renew your painful memories, explained in my book on my website.  Also, on my website is a worksheet for each characteristic of the fruit of the Spirit.  Each worksheet lists wrong thoughts, beliefs, right thoughts, and transformational truth statements.

I hope the information in this post helps you to be victorious over sin and addictions.  Renewing our inner self is a day by day process.  There is hope for complete healing and victory as you submit your mind to God and His truth in His Word.  I appreciate your comments because I like to learn from others.

RELATED POSTS

WHY HEAL YOUR HEART AND PURIFY YOUR SOUL?

Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul

Begin reading my book: 1–Healing Begins by Transforming Painful Memories

Forgiven and Saved? Now Renew Your Mind (Part One)

People are like an iceberg, there is so much more under the surface than what you see.  I knew I was forgiven and saved, but I struggled with wrong thinking for most of my life.  I never had victory over my thoughts and emotions until I learned how to renew my mind and take my thoughts captive and heal my painful memories.  Unfortunately, most people who receive forgiveness and salvation do not live in victory over their sinful thoughts, so they are hypocrites to the rest of the world who then don’t want to be forgiven and saved.  In this post you will learn how to be victorious over your thoughts and sinful behavior, so you can be holy and righteous.

The following two promises define what being forgiven and saved are.  God forgives all your sins and cleanses you from all unrighteousness when you confess your sins (Psalms 103:3 and 1John 1:9).  And, you have salvation from sin and death and have the hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ (John 10:27, 14:6; 28; 3:16 – Romans 5:12; 6:23; 8:2; 10:9 – Ephesians 2:8 – Titus 3:4-7 – 1 John 5:13).

So, what is sin?

Webster’s dictionary defines sin as the disobedience of the moral principles of the Bible, primarily through a willful act. The definition of moral is to know the distinction between right and wrong conduct or action.  The truths in Deuteronomy 9:18, 1Kings 16:19, 1 Samuel 15:23, and 2Chronicals 12:14 explain that we do evil when we do not seek the LORD with our whole heart.  Evil is to harm or destroy someone.  Evil people are also called wicked and depraved.  When we don’t seek the LORD with our whole heart then we too will do evil.  Some of the sins listed in the Bible are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, evil desires, covetousness, greediness, witchcraft and sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, factions and divisions, dissensions, envying, drunkenness, carousing and orgies, outbursts of anger, hate, resentment, lying,  stealing, and idolatry.

What is salvation?

Romans 3:23-24 explains salvation.

  • for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and
  • are justified by His grace as a gift, (see Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8,9)
    • Justified– just as if I did not sin.  Grace – getting what I do not deserve.
  • through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
    • Redemption –payment to restore a right relationship and to transform
  • whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood,
    • Propitiation– to pay a penalty to appease and make right again (reconciliation).
  • to be received by faith.
    • Faith is choosing to believe and trust that what God said He would do, He will do.  Webster dictionary defines faith as believing something is true, real, etc., and to have confidence in a statement or promise.  Though we did not see Jesus die to pay the penalty for our sins, we also do not see our justification by His grace.  But by faith, we are confident we have it.  We believe what is written by the Apostles because they went through the experience and witnessed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  They saw the curtain in the temple Holy of Holies being ripped in two and the great earthquake when Jesus died for us.  Then over 500 people saw Jesus ascension into heaven, where he is now making intercession for us (see Hebrews 7:25).

2Thesolonians 2:13b states you are, “saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.” (The Holy Spirit is truth, see John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; and 1John 5:6).  To be sanctified is to be made holy and consecrated through belief in Jesus Christ and the truth (see John 17:17).  1Corinthians 6:11 explains that you will be “washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Now what?

Though you are forgiven, saved and sanctified you now must renew your thinking to be victorious over sin.  All sin begins in your mind as a temptation.  Temptations are enticements based on lies that generate unhealthy, false beliefs and create thoughts of offense. So, your mind needs renewing and transformed every day by the truth of God’s Word. Romans 12:2 states to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” and Ephesians 4:23 states we are “to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.”  Titus 3:5 states, “he [Jesus] saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” and 2Corinthians 4:16 states, “our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Renewing your mind is removing sinful, evil desires and lusts by putting off these thoughts through prayer, then putting on the things of the Spirit; truthful thoughts found in the Bible.  Ephesians 4:22-24 explains we are, “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires (lusts), and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Corrupt in this passage means perverted, which deviates from what is right, natural, or true.  Deceit is the act of representing as true what you know to be false; a lie; a trick.  Lust is an intense desire to gratify the senses; bodily appetite or pleasure.

Next week I will explain three exercises to renew your mind and transform your life.

There is hope to be victorious over wrong thinking and out-of-control emotions.

RELATED TOPICS:

Free from Anger–County Jail Testimony and Teaching

The Core Negative Heart Issue

Bondage to Unseen Controls

Victorious Thinking to Live a Successful Life

Hope for Lasting Peace, Love, and Victory

EVIL—What is it and what is the remedy?

Know Your Purpose?

My son asked me what his purpose was.  Have you figured out the purpose for your existence? I wondered what my purpose was for many years, but then I saw my purpose every day in how I treated other people. Websters dictionary defines purpose as to aim, intend, or resolve to do something good or something toward achieving a goal. But, did you ever think your purpose is to intentionally show love, be kind, be patient and gentle when annoyed, spread joy, ease a burden for someone, live in peace with others, be faithful to your family and employer, be trustworthy and not lie, and lastly to be self-controlled and not indulge your unhealthy feelings or desires. The following verses are well known to many concerning God’s purpose.

Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare (peace) and not for evil (calamity or harm), to give you a future and a hope.” (ESV)  Welfare is the state of being or doing well; condition of health, happiness, and prosperity; well-beingGod wants to give you a future and a hope.  This verse was a prophesy Jeremiah told the Israelites who were taken as captives into Babylon. If you are experiencing calamity or harm in your life and not welfare, please read EVIL—What is it and what is the remedy?

Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”  Are you willing to hope in the good purpose God has for you though you may have to go through hard times?

Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”  You may not understand what the good works are you are to do, but stay in prayer and submitted to God to continue to work in your life to fulfill your purpose.  To understand more, read Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE

Being patient when God’s purpose for you is difficult.  God wonderfully uses people to fulfill His plan to change history.  The purpose of God for each of us will have significance, no matter how insignificant we may think it is.  Working in the nursery at church has a significant impact for the kingdom of God as you show God’s love to the little ones.  I hope the following summaries will help you see that God’s purposes are different for each person.  Note how hardships prepared each person for their purpose.  We only need to obey, be faithful, and trust Him even when we don’t see the whole picture or results.

Adam’s and Eve’s purpose was to rule all the created creatures, birds, fish, and all the earth. They were to be fruitful and multiply and to obey God. So, when they disobeyed, then sin and its consequences entered the world which still affects us today. See Genesis, Chapters 1-4.  Your purpose is the same.  We should all do our part in caring for the earth God created.

Noah’s purpose was to build an ark which took over100 years to build. He obeyed God even though he did not understand what a flood or rain was. Everyone ridiculed him the entire time he was building the ark , but he steadfastly obeyed God’s purpose for his life. See Genesis, chapters 5-11.  You may have to go through ridicule when those around you do not understand why God wants you to undertake a huge task.  Don’t waver, just obey.  For example, God asked me to write this study.  I am not a writer and I did not know what to write, but I obeyed, though I didn’t understand why He asked me.  He knows something I don’t know.

Abraham’s purpose was to be the father of the Jewish nation, yet he had no children until he was 100 years old, when he had Isaac. God told Abraham to leave his family and go to a foreign land and settle there. He obeyed God and remained faithful, and God blessed him wherever he went. Because of his faith, he was known as the friend of God. See Genesis, chapters 12-23.  You may not understand why God asked you to do something, just believe and obey, because He wants to bless you.

Joseph’s purpose was to be the ruler of Egypt and save his family (the beginning of the Jewish nation) from starvation.  Before he could fulfill God’s purpose, he became a slave in Egypt and unjustly put in prison for three years.  After that, he was asked to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, and God inspired Pharaoh to make Joseph second in command of Egypt. Joseph did not know what his purpose was until he saw his brothers many years later, but he remained faithful to God. See Genesis, chapters 37-47.  Going through hardships is not fun but keep your eyes on Jesus and you will see later how your hardships were used to fulfill your purpose.  To learn more read Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well

Moses’s purpose was to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, where they were being oppressed and made slaves. God arranged for Moses to grow up in Pharaoh’s house until he fled into the wilderness when he killed an Egyptian for hurting a fellow Hebrew. After spending 40 years herding sheep in the wilderness and at 80 years old, God spoke to Moses from a burning bush to tell him to go back to Egypt and lead the people out. Moses obeyed but asked God for help because he did not speak well, so God arranged for his brother Aaron to meet him. See Exodus, chapters 1-4.  As God had to humble Moses, you may need to be humbled before God can use you for His purpose.

David was anointed king around 15 years old. He knew his purpose, but it was another 15 years until he became King.  Much of the 15 years he waited, he spent wandering the wilderness and living in caves while fleeing from King Saul, who was trying to kill him. But David remained faithful to God and is known for having a heart after God. See 1Samuel, chapters 19-22.  He also wrote many of the Psalms, which reflected his feelings during the 15-year waiting period.  God may have you waiting.  Trust He has a purpose for the waiting period which may be full of trials and difficulties.  Keep trusting God.

Daniel’s purpose was to be a ruler in Babylon then Persia and to pray for Israel. He was taken as a captive to Babylon at 16 years old and indoctrinated into the Babylonian culture.  Daniel remained faithful to God and continued to trust Him. God put into his heart the desire to pray three times a day for Israel, and he was faithful to this purpose even knowing he would be thrown into the lion’s den.  But God sent an angel to shut the hungry lion’s mouths. See Daniel, chapters 1-6.  Though you may not face being thrown to the lions, keep your eyes on Jesus through prayer and do not despair, no matter what situation you find yourself in.

Esther was a Babylonian Jewish captive whose purpose was to save the Jewish nation from annihilation. The Persian King wanted another Queen after beheading the previous queen. So, there was a beauty contest, and Esther won. She was queen for many years before she became aware of the plan to kill the Jewish captives.  It took courage for her to approach the King to save herself and her people. At that moment she fulfilled God’s purpose for her life.

There are many other Old Testament examples. Here are two New Testament examples:

Jesus’s purpose was to redeem us from our sinful nature and eternal death, by offering Himself as a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty and debt for our sin. He was 33 years old when he fulfilled his purpose. John 12:27 states, “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose, I came to this hour.” Ephesians 1:7-9 states, “In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace, 8) which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight, 9) He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him”  God’s main purpose for mankind is to be in a right relationship with Him through believing and receiving the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the gift of eternal life in Heaven.

Saul, who was killing and imprisoning Christians, became Paul, whose purpose was to spread Christianity to the Gentiles.  God struck him down and blinded him for three days, then he received the call of God on his life. For the next three years he lived in the wilderness, being taught by God.  When Paul obeyed and remained faithful, God could use him for His purpose.  He spent most of his ministry in prison because of a wrongful accusation, where he wrote most of the New Testament, which was God’s purpose for him. Acts 26:16 explains Paul’s conversion.  “Get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I [Jesus] have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you;”  In Acts 20:27, Paul wrote, “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.” According to this verse, the Bible defines our purpose; therefore, we must study the God’s Word to know His purpose for us.

In the examples above, they all had to go through some suffering and wilderness experiences to prepare them for their purpose.  Remember, hardships strengthen your faith and increases your perseverance.  Some people may never know their purpose because their purpose was fulfilled as they lived out their lives. And, some people will only know their purpose at the moment God calls, and they obey.

I always struggled to know my purpose.  God showed me in the Bible that my purpose was to live my life for Him and do what He has given me to do at that moment.  I want to encourage every parent to embrace the purpose to raise God-fearing children who know and obey God’s Word.  Do not swerve from that significant purpose.  The devil will try to distract you through worldly activities and idolatry

Reflections and Application:

What does it look like to surrender to God’s sovereignty and purpose?

How do you know what the good purpose is for your life?


Related Posts:

Being Thankful During Hardships

Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE

Psalm 91 Posts

 

 

How to be Self-controlled in What We Say (updated)

A child has no filter when they speak. A child will speak whatever is on their mind. As adults, we think it is cute. When an adult has no filter, it is not cute, just offensive. Self-control begins in your mind. Your mind determines what you think, perceive, feel, and believe, which influences your decisions and behaviors. Your mind stores memories of the past and present that controls your thoughts and feelings. So, to be self-controlled we must transform our minds.

My last two posts explain how and why childhood issues need to be transformed so we can be self-controlled. The Link Between Disappointment, Resentment, and Self-control   and Self-control and Maturity.

Do you know what is in your mind? What you think? How you feel?

To transform your mind, you first must become aware of what is in your mind. Since God is the all-knowing Spirit who created us, ask Him to show you, because He knows all your thoughts and ways. Psalm 139:1-4 state, “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! 2) You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3) You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4) Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. Jeremiah 17:9,10 state, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10) ‘I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.’” Also read Revelations 2:23. If you do not want to be rewarded according to your evil thoughts, then you need to ask God to reveal them, so you can repent and put them out of your mind. Remember, we reap a lot more than we sow (see Galatians 6:7,8). Psalm 139:23,24 state, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!

How do we transform our minds?

The bible says a lot about how we are to think and be self-controlled in all areas of our life. In fact, Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Transforming your mind happens as you look to Jesus for help as you read the Scriptures. Transform means to take another form and renew means to make new. The phrase, “that by testing you may discern” is also translated in the King James Version as “that you may prove.” The meaning of these two phrases is commonly applied to testing the quality of metals by fire. Spiritually, these two phrases indicate, as your mind is renewed you will be able to pass the test and understand the will of God, and what is written in the Bible. So, as your mind is renewed you will become more self-controlled and will be able to love well. My short-book on my website explains the scientific and spiritual research for why and how to transform our minds to achieve a self-controlled life.

How to control your tongue.

When we control how we think with the help of God, then we can control how we speak, and be mature. This can only be done by continually abiding with Jesus in the heavenly places through prayer, which can be accomplished by turning every thought into a prayer. See my post called, Can You Be Too Heavenly Minded?

The Bible says we are to bridle our tongue to control it, like we bridle a horse to control it. James 1:26 states, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” And, James 3:2,3 state, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle (control) his whole body. 3)  If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.” Some people have problems gossiping, complaining, being critical, and arguing. Why?  How can we live blameless lives before God (Philippians 1:9-11)?

(Update:  I know I am being vulnerable, but I hope it helps you in some way.  A few days after I posted this, I wrote a negative venting email to my friend while under the control of my feelings, and spoke negative about my someone.  I felt the conviction to not write what I did (should have heeded the Holy Spirit), but I did it anyway.  At 4:30 a.m. the next morning, God put His finger on my heart about it.  I repented and ask Him what I could do to not let my feelings control my responses.  God said (paraphrase), talk to Him first.  A few hours later, I had the opportunity to do just that.  I prayed about a difficult situation I was getting emotional about and WOW, it worked.  I was able to respond logically and under the Holy Spirit’s control.)

It is one thing to know the right thing to do and say, but another thing to do it.  For example, I wrote a helpful post called Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without   so I know what I should be thinking, now I need to discipline myself to do this daily.  You can never be perfect at something unless you practice all the time.  You have my permission to print out my post on “Thoughts that Create Peace Within and Without” to practice training your mind.  The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:9: What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

When events don’t go as planned is stressful, and we sometimes, or often, lose self-control of our feelings and do and say things we shouldn’t.  The next time you are tempted to lose control of your emotions, excuse yourself from the situation and answer the following questions to bridle your tongue before your mouth spills hurtful words.

What is the expectation not being met? (Take a deep breath and accept the disappointment and the fact that not everything will go the way you want it to.)

  1. What are the wrong thoughts I need to capture and loose from my mind?  (Take a deep breath and ask God to show you.  It may not be right away, but He will.)
  2. What is the false belief or offense driving my thoughts, which need to be loosed from my mind?  (Take a deep breath and ask God to show you, and the memory that needs to be healed.)
  3. What is the problem that needs to be solved?
  4. What are some solutions?
  5. What are Biblical truths I can bind to my mind to renew it and transform my attitude.
  6. What can I be thankful for?

There is hope for complete transformation of your reactions when you depend on God to show what is in your mind and seek His help to renew your mind through the Holy Scriptures. You can be self-controlled in what you say as your mind is transformed by God’s love.

Helpful posts to read:

POSTS on Thoughts

Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE

A POWERFUL MOOD CHANGER

Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul

Self-control and Maturity

What happens when an undisciplined child does not get what they want? Yep, they throw a temper-tantrum. How many adults are still throwing tempter-tantrums? Why? In this post, I will share the why, what, where, and how concerning self-control. Often, people think self-control is self-discipline to eat right and exercise, but it is more than that. I want to go deeper and focus on healing the reason why we lack self-control.

Why can’t I control my emotions?

I asked God why because He knows everything (see Psalm 139:1-3). Several days later as I was writing this post, I realized I was still reacting to disappointment the same way I did when I was a child.  God led me to the following transformational truths. 1Corinthians 13:11 states, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became [an adult,] I gave up childish ways.” And, 1 Corinthians 14:20 states, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.” Most of our self-control issues stem from immaturity. Maturity is to be fully developed, perfected, and able to control our thoughts, emotions, and desires. To be mature, we must put away our childish thinking and childish ways.  I will explain how to do this in my next post.

What is self-control?

Synonyms for self-control are temperance, sound mind, and discipline. The Greek meaning for self-control is “power over yourself or strength to govern yourself.” Self-control is our source of power over our will and not will-power. When we have self-control, we have the power to control our thoughts, emotions, and desires.

What is the consequence of not having self-control?

Proverb 25:28 (ESV) “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Modern King James states, “He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a broken-down city without a wall.” The William MacDonald commentary explains Proverbs 25:28 as “A man who has never learned to discipline his life is like an undefended city, open to every kind of attack, exposed to every temptation.”  The Matthew Henry commentary says, someone with self-control rules their thoughts, their desires, their inclinations, their resentments, and keeps them all in good order. If they lack self-control, they are exposed to the temptations of Satan and will have many troubles. The key word is “rules.” To rule is to exercise authority over it. I explain how to do this in Bondage to Unseen Controls and ALL THOUGHTS ARE WITHIN OUR CONTROL

James 1:14,15 state, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15) Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. We must rule our desires and put-up boundaries to protect our vulnerable hearts against temptations and attacks. A boundary that keeps us from sinning could be a truth statement or a command such as “do not get drunk” (Ephesians 5:18). We know that those who give in to the temptation to get drunk make themselves vulnerable to many other temptations, troubles, or even death. With this boundary, we can choose not to drink alcohol or exercise self-control or temperance and not get drunk. In my Fruit of the Spirit Characteristics worksheets on my website, I define many truths that can be used as boundaries around your heart and mind. With the truth of God’s Word and His divine power, you can govern how you will properly conduct ourselves instead of giving in to your desires. For those who lose their tempers, you need to first give up to God your desire to control everyone or everything other than yourself.

Where does self-control come from?

Self-control is produced by the Spirit of God as explained in Galatians 5:23. A fruit grows from branches that are part of a main vine. For Christians to produce fruit, they need to abide in the true vine, Jesus Christ, for life and nourishment (John 15:5).  John 15:1-2 states, I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” So, if you struggle with self-control, yield to the Father’s pruning in your life.  Childish ways and thinking need to be pruned and removed from your mind.  I explain how to do this in my short-book on my website.

After we have pruned our childish thinking, we then need to rely on Jesus for our strength and righteousness and keep our minds focused on His truths.  When we rely on Jesus, we can draw from His divine power to produce spiritual fruit in our lives. The fruit of the Spirit are the characteristics or virtues of God, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. So, the more we transform our childish thinking with the truth of God’s Word, then we will exhibit more of these virtues of God. And, as we draw divine power from the life of Jesus in us through prayer, we will become partakers of His divine nature, and then we can rule our desires with self-control. The more we gain Jesus’s divine nature, the more spiritual fruit we will have to give to others. We will have more love to give, more patience, kindness, joy, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.

2Peter 1:3-8 state, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5) For this very reason, make every effort to supplement (add to) your faith with virtue (moral excellence), and virtue with knowledge (of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word), and knowledge with self-control (self-rule and self-discipline), and self-control with steadfastness (patience and endurance), and steadfastness with godliness (devotion to God), and godliness with brotherly affection (kindness), and brotherly affection with love. 8) For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Faith in God’s promises, moral excellence, knowledge of God’s truths, self-control, patience, devotion to God, kindness, and love, grows within us when we hear the Word of God preached and read our Bibles to transform childish thinking.

How do we put-away childish ways and rule with self-control?

When you were a child, what did your parents do to help you mature and learn self-control? They disciplined you? The Webster dictionary defines discipline as training that develops self-control, character, and proper conduct, which sometimes involves punishment. God also disciplines us when we do not practice self-control and then disobey Him (see Hebrews 12:7,11). Hebrews 12:11 states, “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Note to parents, if you don’t correct self-control issues in your child, the lack of self-control will negatively affect every aspect of their adult lives. Disappointment is a fact of life and will happen daily. So, if you teach your children how to accept and process disappointment, then they won’t develop resentment and become emotionally handicap.

So, if there is an area in your life you lack self-control, ask God to show you the childish thinking you need to put away. We then must loose/put off self-centered desires to please ourselves or to control others. I explain this in detail in my short book called “Hope for Complete Healing.”

My next post will delve deeper into why we lack self-control and why we can’t rule our spirits and how to overcome.

There is hope for maturity and to be self-controlled as we transform childish thinking into Godly thinking.

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A POWERFUL MOOD CHANGER

Do you wake-up grumpy or maybe dread going to work? Are you upset by what people do? Are you depressed and worried? Do you want to be joyful and positive? Our mood reflects the level we are offended by unmet expectations or someone. The more offended we are the more despaired or angry our mood is. You may have a good reason to be upset, like when you go through an ugly fight, a divorce, or job loss. I’ve been there and done that, I know. But, allowing those negative thoughts to control your life is not healthy, nor is it good for other relationships. The number one way to change your negative thoughts and negative mood is to be thankful.

You may be thinking, no way, I can’t do that.  Being thankful may be hard and sometimes impossible but with God all things are possible. Jesus said in Matthew 19:26, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Also read Mark 9:23 and Mark 10:27. And, 2Corinthians 15:57 states, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Also read 2Corinthians 2:14.

How thankfulness changes a negative mood

When someone says thank you or doesn’t say thank you, how does that make you feel? If someone sends you a thank-you card, or you send a thank-you card. Do you feel positive or negative? The act of being thankful takes the focus off yourself and onto something positive. Have you noticed the more you focus on yourself, the more miserable you feel? My last post describes how sub-conscious negative thoughts affect our relationships and how to change your relationships and the world with one simple act. You can read it here if you haven’t read it yet: Relationship and World Changing Kindness

I was a depressed, miserable, angry, anxious person for a long time before I discovered the power of forgiveness, transforming painful memories, and being thankful. I discovered in my research that every thought has a life energy (positive) and a death energy (negative). Being thankful transforms a negative mindset into a positive mindset. A positive mindset makes you feel happy and at peace with yourself and your world. It is amazing how powerful thankfulness is in your life or circumstance. Being thankful is difficult to do at times because we tend to gravitate toward misery for some strange reason. I struggled being thankful my whole life.

What prevents a thankful heart?

First, PRIDE prevents us from being thankful people because a prideful person is only focused on getting their needs and expectations met! I was so focused on myself and having my expectations met, I couldn’t be thankful.  Not appreciating the things my husband did put a strain on our marriage.  Every person wants to be appreciated.  I wrote about how I became free from this roadblock to happiness in my blog called The Core Negative Heart Issue.

Second, painful memories prevent a thankful heart. Conscious and sub-conscious painful memories dictate our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, behaviors, and destiny. Read the following post to learn more: HOW MEMORIES INFLUENCE OUR THINKING, EMOTIONS, AND BEHAVIOR. Growing up in an abusive and dysfunctional home created a host of negative issues in my life. Read my post on how I transformed these painful memories: WHAT IS INNER LIFE TRANSFORMATION? My Story.  I also wrote a post on how I overcame the negative effects of a sadistic divorce and job loss: Trust God to Keep His Promises.

And third, unforgiveness keeps our mind focused on the negative, hurtful action that offended us and prevents us from being thankful. To learn why and how to forgive read: WHY SHOULD I FORGIVE.

How to be thankful

My husband heard we should think of two things we can be thankful for when annoyed or frustrated. Thinking a thankful thought instantly changes a negative mood. Try it. Think of something that is irritating you right now. Now think of two things related to the situation you can be thankful for. For example, if you are having issues with your co-worker. Think of two positive things about your co-worker and think thankful thoughts about those positives. Keep in mind, everyone has negative issues and trash thoughts that spills out of their mouth, that comes from painful memories or focusing on self-interests. If slow traffic annoys you, be thankful you don’t have to walk, you are comfortable, and you have extra time to pray and worship God. Upset with your partner? Find two to three positive traits or actions and be thankful for them.

(Take a few minutes and try this exercise.) How do you feel?  Sometimes I have to keep reminding myself to be thankful and for what.

Be sure to tell your partner or co-worker what the positive things you are thankful for in them. Telling someone what you are thankful for will powerfully and positively change attitudes. For a while my husband and I kept a little note pad around and we randomly wrote thankful or kind things about the other person. It was so much fun to see what my husband wrote, and I enjoyed writing thankful and kind things about him. It powerfully and positively changed our marriage. Try it.  It was recommended to keep the thankfulness notepad in the bathroom.

Scriptural command to be thankful

The following are Scripture texts commanding us to be thankful and give thanks. Remember, when you disobey God’s commands, you are in sin and will suffer the consequences of unthankfulness, which allows misery and despair.  God knew focusing only on ourselves was self-destructive. He commands us to be thankful so we can experience joy and peace.

Ephesians 5:20-21 state, “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21) submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” How would your life, marriage/partnership, friendships, and work environment change if you gave thanks all the time and for everything? 1Theselonians 5:18 states, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Giving thanks in all circumstances is difficult, especially if you are diagnosed with cancer. The people who can find something to thank God for, are the most content and joyful people.  I heard a missionary to China say how joyful the Chinese Christians are despite risking the lose of their homes and being put in prison.

Ephesians 5:4 states, “Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” Does the conversation at your family get-togethers digresses into gossip, foolish talk, and so on?  Next time, ask them what they are thankful for.  Other ways you can prompt wholesome conversations can be found in this post: Thoughts That Create Peace Within and Without

Philippians 4:6 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” When I am thankful for God’s love, provision, mercy, and grace and trust Him to take care of my problems, I feel peace and joy. When I begin to focus on the negative issue, I became anxious and stressed again.

Colossians 3:15, 16 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” When I memorize Scripture, then I can teach and encourage others, and I can use those Scriptures to give thanks in my prayers. See my post on the things we can thank God for in Psalms 103: County Jail Study on Psalms 103. Also read, Who God is — Daily A-C-T-S Prayers Colossians 4:2 also states, Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

The Old Testament gives us other reasons to give thanks to God:

1Chronicals 16:34 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (Also see, 1Chronicals 16:41; 2Chronicals 7:3,6; 20:21, Ezra 3:11; Psalm 106:1; 107:1,8; 118:1,29; 136:1-3.)

Psalm 9:1 A Psalm of David. I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” (Also see Psalm 86:12; Psalm 105:1.) Many times, I was so angry with a situation that the only thing I could be thankful for was the wonderful things God did for me in the past and will do in my current situation. By keeping my mind focused on Him, I was not focused on the negative situation or circumstance.

Psalm 116:17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.” (Also see Ps. 50:14, 23; 107:22; Amos 4:5.) Sometimes we must give a sacrifice of thanksgiving even when we don’t feel like it. God is pleased with this sacrifice and will give you joy instead of misery.

Conclusion

Thankfulness is like guardrails that prevents your car from going over a cliff. So, thankfulness prevents your mind from crashing down the cliff of despair. Now, God commands us to be thankful so when we are not, we sin. Ask Him to help you be thankful when it is hard, and He will help you. You can be more than a conquer over negative issues in your life (see Romans 8:31-39), these verses also produce a thankful heart.

I wrote a short book called “Hope for Complete Healing.”  I describe how to transform negative issues in your life by taking the offending thoughts captive and loosing them from your mind.  Then to transform the associated negative, painful memories with truth to render them powerless. Transforming painful memories involves thankfulness to change negative thoughts into positive thoughts.  I describe this process in my book and in this blog post: Five Steps to Heal Your Heart and Purify Your Soul. I made this book available on my website and I can send you a paper copy. If you want me to send a copy of my booklet, please contact me and let me know.

There is hope to change a negative mood into a positive mood through thankfulness.

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Why, What, and How to Submit to God and be FREE

Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7). What does this look like? What does it mean to submit? Webster dictionary says to submit is to yield or surrender to the actions control, power, etc. of another. In this verse the “another” is God. Why don’t we submit to God? Guess what the main reason is? That is right, pride.

My pride kept me from surrendering my anxious and angry thoughts to God for many years because I wanted to be in control of outcomes.  When I became anxious and angry, I also became defensive.  Can you guess what happens when we don’t submit to God? That’s right, we will unwittingly surrender to the devil who will steal our peace, joy, love, patience, kindness, gentleness, trust, and self-control. We will be miserable and unable to love others well. The devil will then lead us into all kinds of fleshly sins to bring destruction to our lives, relationships, and our faith in God. So, who do you want to surrender your life too? A loving God who gives peace and life, or the devil who wants to destroy us (John 10:10). Also, review my post on the four realities of the spirit world.

I already surrendered to God the things that made me angry so they no longer control me.  But, I never considered submitting my anxiety disorder to God until I began self-medicating.  I first had to acknowledge I had a problem, then I asked Him why I was so tense and anxious all the time. The answer came when I read James 4:7 and encouraged an inmate to submit the problem generating her angry thoughts to God and resist the devil. I asked her to think of what happens when we don’t submit our minds to God. That’s when God spoke to my heart and said, are you submitting the problems creating your anxious thoughts to Me.  Whoa! Read the inmate victory testimony here.

I asked God to show me the source of my anxious thoughts. God reminded me that my mother was also diagnosed with anxiety disorder and was always stressed about something. So, I asked God to break the negative stress energy and the predisposition for anxiety from my genetics and remove all DNA markers that trigger stress reactions. I felt peaceful and calm after that prayer. But worldly issues still may trigger anxious thoughts, especially when things are outside your control.

Jesus’s first sermon was called the Beatitudes or Blessings. The Apostle Matthew records a part of his sermon in Chapter 6, where Jesus tells us in verse 25, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Verse 27, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”  The key verses are 33 and 34, which state, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” It is clear that being anxious is a sin, and I knew this fact.  But it is one thing to know something but another thing to repent and surrender to God. The Apostle Paul expresses anxiety at times throughout the new Testament. So, don’t feel guilty but be aware of your thoughts and don’t let them torment you and hold you captive. Remember, you can take every thought captive to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5b).

So, how do we submit to God?

  1. Check your peace and calm level toward various areas of your life (husband, children, job, church, friends, and so on.) As you think about these areas, and you become tense, it is a sign you have negative stress energy from subconscious anxiety and fear.  It is hard to accept the fact you cannot control situations or people. You can only control your actions and reactions. You may have been abused as I have, so you feel the need to control.  I get it.  Give everything outside your control to God, because emotional stress causes physical stress. Stress is very damaging to our health, especially our GI system, if you are unfamiliar with the deteriorating effects of stress, I recommend you research it.
  2. Next, ask God to remove pride. Pride develops when we are wronged in some way. These painful memories need to be healed as well.  If you are easily offended, you have pride. Pride desires to control what people do and how they think. Read these posts for a better understanding: #1 Destroyer of All Relationships and the Solution and The Core Negative Heart Issue and HOW PRIDE DESTROYS
  3. Write all your concerns and what you desire in a prayer format to God, giving Him control and accepting the outcome though you may not understand. Pray for wisdom to know what to do and how to respond. Put your prayers in an appropriately labeled box or journal, and each time you feel anxious, angry, or stressed, remind yourself that God’s got it.  Philippians 4:6,7 states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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,”  Do you want this kind of peace in your life?  I do.
  4. The hardest part of submission is giving a thank offering to God during hardship. Being thankful and forgiving is the keys for peace in our lives. Thank Him for the opportunity to grow and to be more like Christ. Thank Him for being your Shepherd and for shepherding those outside your control. Thank Him for helping you to trust Him and to accept His Sovereign will. Continue to give a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. The page on my website called Who is God — A-C-T-S prayers will give you plenty to praise Him for and to be thankful.
  5. Go through the five steps to heal your heart and purify your soul.

After you have submitted to God; now resist the devil’s temptation to sin.  To resist the devil describes a struggle, so don’t be hard on yourself, keep struggling but don’t give him an inch. If you continue to sin and feel guilty, that’s not a struggle, that’s giving in.  Galatians 5:1 states, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of bondage.”  A yoke is being bound to something like two oxen are yoked together. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29-30, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

We struggle to make progress on this road called life and not be defeated.  When we are yoked to Jesus, He is right there to help us when we struggle.  We become yoked to Jesus when we are surrendered to God by focusing our mind on the things of God and ponder His Word.  Furthermore, you have the authority as a follower of Jesus Christ to command the devil to be gone in Jesus’ name, and the devil will flee. Hallelujah.

Put your hope in God when you begin to feel anxious.  The following Scriptures should be memorized and pondered often.  Psalm 16:8 states, “I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”  Also, ponder Isaiah 41:10, which states, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  And, Isaiah 26:3 states, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”  For more encouragement see HOPE: How it Motivates and Inspires BUT God’s Sovereignty… and Psalm 91 Posts

There is hope for complete healing, and I am praying for you.  Be blessed.

To understand suffering and God’s sovereignty read 7 Ways to Suffer Well: (Part 1) and Example of Suffering Well and God’s Response: Part 2 of Suffering Well

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