Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.
I have a confession to make. I struggle with destructive thought patterns.
There are times when I fool myself by rationalizing away behavior I know is wrong. My natural tendency is to be a “glass half empty” sort of guy. I instinctively see first the reasons why something won’t work before even looking for ways it might work. If something gets challenging or I run into obstacles it is not unusual for me to start questioning whether the idea is really “of God”. My track record is littered with things that I quit when things got a little difficult.
Don’t get me wrong. My reality is not all doom and gloom. But according to Paul, the author of the Book of Romans, it would appear that I often copy the behavior and patterns of this world with my thoughts. It is something he tells us we shouldn’t do. At least we shouldn’t if we want to know what it is that God wants for us.
There was a time when I really didn’t believe that it was really possible for me to have any sort of control over my thoughts. To me it seemed that my thoughts just happened. How was I going to control something that just happened all on its own?
I don’t buy into that anymore. I mean why would Paul tell us that we should change something if there was no possibility for us to have any control over it in the first place? Paul was a really smart guy. If it was impossible for us to have any control over our thoughts he wouldn’t have told us that we need to get a grip on them.
In another place, the same guy tells us some of the things that we should think about.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.
Paul tells us the kinds of things we should be thinking about that have the ability to change our behavior for the better and ultimately put us into the very presence of God.
So here’s my question for you: How do you personally go about the process of changing your thoughts, or what other translations call “the renewing of your mind”?
I said at the beginning that this is an area where I struggle. I haven’t rolled over and given up here. This is one battle I want to win. I figure learning to conquer my destructive thought patterns is one of the keys that will unlock success in much of the rest of my life.
So go ahead and share some of the practical things you do that help you in this area.