Matt 15: 18, John 10: 10, John 8: 44
The popular book and TV program will try to convince you that "You Are What You Eat"!! Although I understand the principle, I can't help concluding that this is a ridiculous idea. But it does raise an interesting question - Who are you? And how do you know that's who you are?
It's fair to say that most people define themselves by how they behave - bubbly, confident etc. But where do these behaviours come from? If we follow the chain of influence, we soon realise we behave, as we think and we think as we believe. So I am convinced that
"YOU ARE WHAT YOU BELIEVE"
Put it this way - however much your mum and dad may have accused you - you never acted without thinking - your body responds to signals from the brain. Now, most of what you think about in certain situations comes from what you believe about that situation. If I believe public speaking is scary and I have nothing to say - then it will be an awful experience. But if I think it's an opportunity to share something important then I will approach it differently.
Like me, many followers of Jesus wish they could behave better in certain situations. Because of that we try to change how we act. Perhaps we should concentrate on changing what we believe and how we think?
All temptation starts in the heart (Matt 15: 18) and moves to the mind, before it ever becomes an action - so lets see what the Bible says about these things.
In John 10: 10 we read that Jesus has come to give us abundant life - people rightly concentrate on that part of the verse - but the first part says "The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy". Jesus called Satan the Father of lies John 8: 44. In fact throughout the Bible Satan is consistently described as the deceiver Gen 3: 13, 2 Cor 11: 3, 1 Tim 2: 14, 1 Tim 4: 1, Rev 13: 14, Rev 20: 8. So it makes sense that the principle way Satan tries to steal, kill and destroy is by deceiving our minds.
Paul's command to the Roman Christians to have their minds renewed (Rom 12: 1) starts to have a real outworking for us. But he went further...he called the Corinthian Christians to take "captive every thought (or idea) to the obedience of Christ" 2 Cor 10: 5
So how can we take captive our thoughts? Here is a five point plan - think about one each day for the rest of the week - Study the verses and find ways to apply each one to situations everyday.
1. Recognise it.
Be aware of what you are thinking about.
Watch what goes in through your eyes and ears - you will think about images and words. Read Phil 4: 8. Keep asking yourself "Is what I am thinking about in line with these?"
2. Deal with it immediately. Don't dwell on temptation.
In 2 Samuel 11 we see David's slippery slope downhill - he started by being in the wrong place - he should have been at war (v1) - he saw a woman, admired her, asked about her, met her, slept with her, got her pregnant and then killed her husband. Perhaps if he dealt with being in the right place at the right time or went and had a cold shower when he saw her things would have been different!!
3. Expose the Lie
If Satan is a deceiver - there's a fair chance that he causes us to think about stuff that isn't true - stuff like - God is angry with me, I'm not really saved, He loves other people more than me. These thoughts are all lies - so combat them with truth. In Luke 4 Jesus used Scripture to overcome temptation - if he needed to do that then I reckon it's a good idea for us.
Get to know what's true - take seriously what the Bible says about God and His children. Col. 3: 15,16
Nothing else to say!!
Phil 4: 6,7 - Don't be anxious. Notice God's peace will guard your hearts and minds
5. Speak out the truth.
There is something powerful about speaking out what you believe after all your words have the power of life and death.
Proverbs 18: 21, James 3: 2