walk in the word
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar (Psalm 139:1–2, esv).
I tend to get hiccups a lot, for some reason, so I’ve tried all the typical remedies for making them stop: holding my breath, drinking sips of water (even upside-down!), getting another person to scare me. One time my wife, Kathy, having heard of a cure that was supposed to work, came over to me and said in a slow, gentle voice, “Just be calm. Let it go. You don’t . . . have the hiccups . . . anymore.” And I didn’t. They were gone.Nothing will be different until you think differently. Click To Tweet
The only thing this story really tells you is that our minds are extremely powerful. They direct many elements about our lives that we can’t even understand. But the Bible, putting it into words we can understand, says a person’s thinking has a direct impact on their behavior, “for as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7, nkjv). If you’re looking for a foundational, biblical principle on what it takes to bring about lasting change in your life, here’s one: Nothing will be different until you think differently.
God is extremely interested in our minds. In fact, while we tend to think of following Jesus as more of a physical thing—walking in His steps, doing what He did—the Bible says it actually begins with our thinking. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5, nkjv). David wrote about the idea that God knows our “thoughts from afar.” This doesn’t mean He discerns them from a physical distance, from far away, because David went on to say things like, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7–8, esv). God is always up-close. Knowing your thoughts “from afar” indicates distance in time, not space. It means He already knows what you’ll be thinking tomorrow, next week, next month, a year from now, and for the rest of your life. Why? Because He knows your thinking is of critical importance to how you live out your salvation, and also to how your strongholds remain so stubbornly resistant to Him, to His Word and His will.
Strongholds are torn down through repentance, but it still requires daily attention to keep them defeated—not by physical effort, but by taking “every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Every thought! This means: No more unfiltered thoughts. No more unapproved, “where-did-that-come-from?” thoughts. Every thought from here on out is getting reviewed to see if it’s defensible, biblical, and helpful. Otherwise, it has to go. It has to be rejected. It has to be taken prisoner and never allowed back in here.
Nothing will be different until you think differently, see? Or, to say it from a more positive spin: Everything will be different when you think differently.
This is admittedly hard work. It’s difficult. The mind is so powerful that when you’ve been thinking a certain way—not for days and weeks, but for years and decades—you can know something’s wrong, you can agree with God it’s wrong, you can seek and receive His forgiveness for it through repentance, and yet you can still fall right back into it again. Broken strongholds will battle to be rebuilt.
But you can keep them torn down, one thought at a time. Believe it—you can experience a deeper relationship with the Lord, a greater experience of victory, a more consistent sense of joy, and real change in your life! But nothing will be different until you think differently.
Father, I realize many of my patterns of thinking are not of You. I need them to change, and I want them to change. Please grow me and help me in this area. Help me see again how faithful You are and how powerful Your weapons are. Help me realize and apply the strength of Your Word to the renewing of my mind. Help me do it for my greater joy and for the fame of Your Son, Jesus. I pray this in His glorious name, amen.
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