I would like to start this blog off with a few questions.
- Can you confidently name the gifts and talents that God has given you?
- What are the things that consume your thinking day in and day out?
- After you identify what’s taking up your think time, can you honestly acknowledge whether or not these thoughts are positive or negative?
- And lastly: if you had trouble naming your gifts and talents, do you think it’s honestly because you don’t have any?
Did you have trouble identifying these things because of a false sense of humility? I think we all know the awkward feeling that seems to hide in the shadows of admitting our strengths. That little voice that says, “You can’t admit that you’re actually good at something! Are you crazy! People are going to think that you are SO prideful.” I would like to interject this definition of humility here. A definition that has served me well for years. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” Playing it small and downplaying what God has gifted you with is in no way serving yourself or others well. Satan comes to steal and destroy. Jesus came to give life in abundance, in full measure. (John 10:10)
Satan continually tries to affect our confidence in where we stand with God. Trying to create a larger and larger gap between the Father and His beloved children. When we allow our minds to come in between us and the Father we soon find ourselves imagining that we are 1,000’s of miles apart from Him, with no way home. This then leads us to those pesky thoughts that occur when in isolation from His truth and love. The ones that beat us down, and hold us in bondage. We all have different lies we believe about ourselves. Some believe they are unlovable, others unworthy, others that they have to make themselves right first. Still others believe they aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, funny enough, rich enough, you fill in the blank. I don’t feel __________ enough. We all have false realities that we have to travel through to get to His divine truth. To the divine freedom we all seek.
One thing that I feel impressed to remind you is that you do not have to change, grow, or be good in order for God to love you. Instead you are loved so that you can change, grow, and be good. (Brennan Manning) Doing these things out of a distinct impression, and knowing, that you are loved and wanted. Acting out of a knowledge that you are now a child of the King, not an orphan. You belong, and nothing can change that. Not even your own thinking. However you can create imaginary boundaries between yourself and God. It isn’t that He goes anywhere or distances Himself, it is only that you FEEL like He has. I will talk more about feelings later, but it is important for you to know that your mind is the only thing that can keep you from God. And then only with vain imaginations that are no more valid than the boogie man.
Everything we think and then do, I believe stems from one thing, believing in God’s love for you. If you mentally cannot accept God’s love for you, you have the potential of painting a different future for yourself. A future much different than the one that Jesus died to give you. We have to “repent” of our old ways of thinking and “think differently.” Repent, in the Greek form, actually means “to think differently.” Therefore when we acknowledge unhealthy thought patterns it’s not just enough to identify them, we have to be willing to turn from them and go the other way.
This can be difficult as we all act and react according to how loved we feel. The more sure we are of being loved, the closer we are to freedom and living the abundant life God wants to give us. In Romans we are commanded to, “take every thought captive.” Then Philippians tells us to think on things that are lovely, noble, right, and pure. To some extent we all struggle with thinking correctly about ourselves. And when we do not think correctly about ourselves, our future, our present, our past, etc. Then those thoughts start creating our destiny. Self fulfilling prophecies if you will. And these prophecies can be negative or positive. You choose.
Tomorrow I want to talk about a few helpful ways that we can “take every thought captive” and practical ways to implement those methods. But for now I would really like for you to take some time to perhaps identify some areas that you need to “renew your thinking.” Be honest with yourself. Start with those areas of your life that perhaps seem frustrating. Those are usually the areas that some amount of renewal needs to take place. Admitting that our minds affect our physical realities and the outcomes of life’s circumstances can be the first step to breakthrough. So take some time. It could be the beginning to a whole new way of life for you. The start of a life lived to the fullest. And be encouraged with this. Sometimes the way ahead is cloaked in fog, but keep pressing in, the fog will lift.
May the truth our honesty leads us to, change us.