You know that your heart is in a safe place, and you find comfort knowing your God will never break or leave it. You realize that you have been putting your trust into the wrong things or people, and instead of feeling dizzy, trying so desperately to understand the world, or confused, wondering which direction to take, you find calm and peace. You are protected and loved, unconditionally, by your Savior. Giving your heart to God empowers you. He promises to protect you, but to also strengthen you in His word, every single day. When you stop relying on yourself or other imperfect people to guide your heart and decisions, you realize He has been paving your path all this time.
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And when you trust Him to take control, to love and direct you, you find strength not only in Him, but in yourself. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the world. We get entangled into romantic relationships. We fall into habits and patterns with people. We begin to see our things and possessions as a measure of our worth. But God sees otherwise. He knows that the material things of this world mean nothing. He knows that our true value rests in where we go after this life, and He longs for us to see the worth of our souls rather than our temporary bodies.
When you give your heart to God, you begin to value relationships that build you, rather than break you. You start to see the value in your personality, in your impact, in the way you love and connect with others, rather than the things you own or the money you make. You learn that in the end, when you pass to the next life, what matters is who you were, not your status on this earth.
Giving your heart to God means a new life, a new purpose, a new sense of self.
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It means washing your earthly worries away, day after day, and trusting in Him to guide you. Happiness is not built upon what gifts you have been given, what desires of yours have been met, or what the world has granted you. True happiness is found in Christ—trusting Him, living like Him, allowing His purpose to work in your life. There is no obstacle too great, no burden too big, no pain too profound for our God. Know this. Remember this. And remember that when you give Him your heart, He will save you from anything you face.
He will lift you from darkness and into the light. He will restore your spirit and give you back your fight. No matter how lost, broken, sad, or defeated you feel—in Him you will rise again. Earthly love is imperfect. There is lust and infidelity, lies and broken promises, mistrust and fear. Yes, human love can be beautiful, but the most beautiful form of love stems from God and His unfailing love for us. A renewed mind should lead to changed behavior. The box on page 3 gives a more detailed description of how to apply the strategy of Philippians to renewing your mind.
I challenge you to take each one of these 8 steps and work in a very systematic way of evaluating your thought life. If a thought fails the test of being true, or noble, or right, or pure, then stop going down that path in your mind. Turn your thoughts toward God and His word. We need to put off our old way of thinking and develop a new way of thinking. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. If you realize you have fallen short of one of these 8 standards, don't beat yourself down-instead focus your attention on renewing your mind right now.
Get back on the right path. With each of these 8 steps, God's word can help you. Fill your mind with scriptures that relate to that step. If you have a real struggle with one area-then find scriptures that speak to that issue. Write them down, carry them with you, and read them throughout your day. The more you fill your mind with His truth, the more it will help to cleanse your mind of the inappropriate thoughts.
A key issue here is-what do you want to think about? Learning to think like Jesus means that you must continually make decisions in your mind. Your decisions! Your mind! God won't decide for you. You must want to change the way you think. Joseph in the Old Testament was sold as a slave by his brothers. He ended up in Egypt, and eventually in prison-with no hope for the future. But God rescued him. Nowhere do you read of Joseph being bitter because of the injustice he suffered.
Many years later his brothers fear he still plans revenge for their evil actions. The response of Joseph shows a truly renewed mind in action- " 'You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don't be afraid. I will provide for you and your children. Battling Evil Thoughts The 8 steps of Philippians provide a powerful place to start in renewing our mind-focus on the positive! But many of us face evil thoughts in our minds. They invade our mind without our permission. Perhaps you have been in church, singing songs of worship or listening to God's message from the pastor, when in your mind a movie of sinful thoughts begins to play.
Or maybe you face this battle as you try to go to sleep at night. You try to focus your mind on God's truth, but the evil movie continues to play in your mind. God offers another strategy we can use for these kinds of battles in the mind. These evil thoughts are not conquered by ignoring them, any more than a soldier ignores his enemy. The soldier faces his enemy, and fights him. We must do the same when we face evil thoughts. We must use the strategies of a soldier-fight with passion!
Satan is our enemy, committed to destroying us. This scripture points to the absolute need for us to know God's word. How do we know if an argument or pretension is setting itself up against the knowledge of God?
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We must know God's truth before we can spot an error. How do we make this thought obedient to Christ unless we know God's truth? You must speak God's truth to the evil thoughts that come to you. And here is what God says about that issue"-and then you need to remind yourself of the specific truth that relates to that evil thought.
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This is how Jesus did combat with Satan in the time of temptation early in His ministry. See Matthew chapter 4.
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Jesus did not ignore the temptation-He faced it. And He quoted scripture to respond to each temptation. When evil thoughts come into your mind, don't try to run from them-attack them! Use the tools God has given you. Once you have exposed what you are battling, then begin to focus on the positive things God speaks of in Philippians Bring God into the battle. Another strategy that can help us battle these evil thoughts is to be accountable to another godly person.
Give them permission to ask you how you are doing in the battles with evil thoughts. You don't need to give them specific details of what you are battling, but you can give them a report on how successful you have been over the past few days. One of the devil's most powerful tools is secrecy. If he can get you to keep secret all your battles, then he has a much easier time defeating you. Focus on Jesus Sometimes we are faced with difficult problems and confusion.
The pain and frustration can drive us to the point of despair. The problem simply does not go away. What can we do in these situations that do not seem to have a solution? A third major strategy for renewing your mind is found in Hebrews Actually several others were making a decision, and I was the one most affected by that decision. I felt it was the wrong decision, and appealed to these leaders. They agreed to a meeting, where I was given full opportunity to voice my concerns. But they did not change their decision. I left the meeting with a great burden of frustration.
Instead of going directly back to my office, I stopped at a park and sat there talking to God. I began to simply focus on Jesus. I set the problem aside in my mind. Only Jesus and His love, His faithfulness, His genuine concern, His kindness were the focus of my thoughts. His promise to never leave me or forsake me. The more I thought about Him, the better I felt. When I returned to my office, the problem had not changed. But fixing my thoughts on Jesus had taken the burden of frustration off my back. I could face the day with the confidence that Jesus was with me.
Some of the situations we face simply do not have adequate answers. In times like these we can look to Jesus-fix our thoughts on Him. Everything else might be messed up- but Jesus is not messed up or confused.
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He is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for us! We have to keep our thoughts fixed on Him. Thoughts vs. Actions It is not enough to think pure thoughts. Philippians takes it one step farther-we must put these thoughts into action. It's not enough to think kind thoughts-we must speak kind words, and live out kindness in our actions. The prophet Jonah in the Old Testament illustrates the need for a renewed mind to impact one's behavior. God told him to go to Nineveh and preach, but he ran from God. His actions reveal his need for a renewed mind.
Jonah ended up inside the belly of a large fish for three days. He described the lessons learned in a beautiful prayer-Jonah chapter 2. He then obeyed God and went to Nineveh and preached to the city.
A great revival broke out and people by the thousands repented. The next actions and words of Jonah point to the deep problems he still had in his mind.
He was angry that God forgave these people-so angry that he told God he wanted to die! Our thoughts are revealed by our actions. In one sense our actions speak louder than our thoughts. If we say we are a very generous person, what do our actions say? If our actions send the opposite message, then we may be living in denial or delusion-this clearly does not reflect God's way of thinking. Renewing our minds is a challenge that may take a lifetime. God has provided some very special gifts to help us in this process. But the real key to remember-this is my mind, and I must take full responsibility for renewing it.
The blessings are incredible that God has promised if we renew our mind-we will be transformed, we will be able to test and approve God's will in our lives, and we will experience His peace.
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Do you find it easy to think positive thoughts when you are feeling good and everything is going just great? But how do you respond when you feel depressed, discouraged, bored or unhappy? Do you allow these feelings to control your thoughts? God has promised to give His children the "spirit of self discipline. If you are going to renew your mind, self discipline is absolutely essential. The call to Christian maturity is to discipline your thoughts and your emotions-to find the balance Jesus had in 3 areas of His life-His thoughts, actions, and feelings.