If You Want to Change, Start With Your Thinking
“Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” (Ephesians 4:23 NLT, second edition)
Change requires new thinking. In order to change, we must learn the truth and start making good choices, but we also must change the way we think.
The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you want to change the way you act, you start by changing the way you think. In addition, if you want to change the way you feel, you must start with the way you think.
For instance, you can say, “I need to love my husband more,” but that isn't going to work. You can't fight your way into a feeling. You must change the way you think about your husband, about your kids, about your wife. That will change the way you feel, which will then change the way you act. The Bible says, “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes” (Ephesians 4:23 NLT, second edition).
The battle for sin, the battle to deal with those defects in your life that you don't like, starts in your mind. If you want to change anything in your behavior or anything in your emotions, you start with your thoughts and your attitude.
The renewal of your mind is related to the word "repentance." I know repentance is a dirty word for a lot of people. They think it means something bad, something they don't really want to do, something painful. They think of a guy standing on a street corner with a sign that says, “Repent! The world's about to end!"
Repentance is about more than changing your behavior. It is about changing your mind and learning to think differently. “Repent” simply means to make a mental U-turn.
You turn from guilt to forgiveness. You turn from frustration to freedom, from darkness to light, from hatred and bitterness to love.
You may also need to change the way you think about God. He's not mad at you; he’s mad about you! You’re deeply flawed, but you’re deeply loved.
Start with your mind, and change the way you think about your relationships, the economy, the world, and your past, present, and future. Changing the way you think will then affect your emotions and your behavior.
Talk It Over
- Where can you get the power to make changes that you don’t think you can make on your own?
- Why do you think repentance is required for the renewal of your mind?
- How do you need to change the way you think about your most important relationships?
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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.