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Wednesday, September 17

To Choose Life In Thoughts

“This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” ~ Deut. 30:19

I’m so excited to begin this new “Choose Life” series. When God created us, He gave us freewill – the ability to choose between right and wrong, life and death, blessings and curses. There is much power in choice, power we have for the life we live. Every day we choose the direction of our life by what we think, say and do, by the relationships we’re in, and by the attitudes we hold. All of these choices lead to life or death. Choosing life is a journey, not something we do once and it’s finished. It’s ongoing. It’s powerful. And, choosing life, or death, is up to us.

I believe our thought life is the beginning of this journey. The manner in which we think leads to how we feel, what we say, the way we act and the relationships we establish. It is imperative we have good, life-giving, positive thoughts. That’s not to say that we never have negative thoughts, because that’s natural, but rather we don’t welcome negative thoughts and entertain them. For some of us, this comes easily. For others of us, it’s far more difficult. The good news is we have the power of Christ to control our thoughts and change them. But we have to be proactive in this, it doesn’t just happen. This is addressed in Rom. 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Let’s be honest, it’s a tough world out there. We are constantly hit by a barrage of words, images, attitudes and expectations that imply we are not good enough, thin enough, rich enough, smart enough, pretty enough, successful enough, etc. Many of us have experienced this onslaught since we were children. Since this has been our experience, we often adopt and internalize all of this and begin the harmful process of attacking ourselves and others with it. Our thoughts are then naturally polluted by the garbage that has been swirling around about us. Whether it is depression, bitterness, envy, anger, hurt, malice, hatred, obscenity, a victim mentality or sense of worthlessness, thoughts like these lead to destruction and if we entertain them, ultimately they lead to death. It doesn’t matter if these thoughts we think are about ourselves or others, either way we are choosing death.

In order to have a thought life that is life-giving, we have to understand where it comes from. Everything good comes from God (James 1:17). It is He who gives life, and everything that leads to life. And He has given us His Word and Holy Spirit, to guide us on the path of life. When we study, and personalize the Bible, we come to understand who we are in Christ. When we know who we are in Christ it is easy to recognize thoughts that enter our mind that are not of Him. It says in 2 Cor. 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” When we recognize those thoughts and take them captive, rather than letting them run free, we are choosing life.

Whenever we have negative thoughts we need to overcome them and put them to death, by replacing them with positive thoughts. If we find ourselves thinking, I’m ugly, we need to stop, take that thought captive and say, No, I’m beautiful. Or if we have the thought, I’m not good enough, we need to counter that by saying, I am good enough, God made me good enough. When we got saved, we received not only our salvation, but other things too. One of the additional “benefits” we received was the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). The only way to know the mind of Christ is to know Christ, through the Word, through worship, through prayer and through relationship. What does He say about us? How does He relate to others? What would He do in this situation? And then we should model ourselves and our thoughts after Him.

We must be diligently aware of the thoughts we think. We must get the Word of God inside of us. We must learn what God says about us. We must choose incessantly, to think the thoughts that lead to life. We are admonished in Phi. 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” This is how we choose life in our thoughts.

If you are in Christ:

You are blessed and highly favored ~ Luke 1:28
You are made in the image of God ~ Genesis 1:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made ~ Psalms 139:14

You are a child of God ~ John 1:12, Romans 8:16-17
You are more than a conqueror ~ Romans 8:37
You are a citizen of heaven ~ Philippians 3:20


You are chosen and adopted sons and daughters of God ~ Ephesians 1:4-5
You are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might ~ Ephesians 6:10
You are holy ~ Ephesians 1:4, Colossian 3:12

You are righteous ~ Romans 3:21-24, 2 Corinthians 5:21
You are anointed ~ 2 Corinthians 1:21-22
You are a saint ~ Psalms 52:9, Romans 1:7

You are forgiven ~ Ephesians 1:7-8, Colossians 1:13-14
You are free ~ John 8:36
You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood ~ 1 Peter 2:9

You are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ ~ Romans 8:17
You are God’s workmanship ~ Ephesians 2:10
You are the apple of His eye ~ Psalm 17:8


You are His delight~ Psalm 18:19, 149:4
You are the one he died for ~ Romans 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:10
You are loved ~ John 3:16, John 15:12-14

9 comments:

Lori said...

Tracy, Great post...I especially liked when you wrote about having the mind of Christ. The only way to have the mind of Christ is to internalize the Word deep down inside of us...excellent! And so true...you're a really good writer. Blog on!

valerie lynn said...

Tracy my friend you have been "tagged". Stop by and see what I am talking about.

Amen to everything you wrote! We have the choice of choosing to live the world's way or God's way. I chose to live God's way! AMEN!

Blessed One said...

Lori, thank you for your kind comments. You're always such an encouragement to me!

Blessed One said...

Valerie, thank you for commenting! I always love reading your comments! It is awesome to be able to live God's way, isn't it?

Augurs said...

This is wonderful. Thank you! :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog.
Blessings,
Michele

Joyfull said...

Beautiful post! How true that God's Word must be in us and the measure of all that we think and do. Loved the verses you shared.

AnooCre8ion said...

Tracy, these are such great insights.

"When we recognize those thoughts and take them captive, rather than letting them run free, we are choosing life."

I really focused on these words. I went back and read them a couple more times. I love it that you show us the choice belongs to us. We have all the help we need from God but the choice to dwell on these thoughts or take them captive is completely ours.

Thank you so much. I will continue to follow your postings.
O I so do love God's word.
thank you, thank you, thank you.

Be blessed.
Vickie

Jill said...

Tracy,

Thank you for starting this series. I'm going to use it as mother-daughter devotional.

Amen to all that you shared! I love that through our free will God knew it would take all that we had to walk by faith and once we claim that it is by His grace that we can live in His peace, joy and love!

Praising His holy name with you!

Again, thank you for taking the time to share His love with us. I think this would be a great devotional for all TEENS!

In His amazing grace,
Jill

Josh said...

Tracy,

I have been feeling very depressed today, and this post has helped me. I need to go get into the Word and fight these feelings that would try to bring me down. Thank you for helping me remember this.