If You Want to Change, Start with Your Thinking
“Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” (Ephesians 4:23, NLT)
Change requires new thinking. In order to change, you must learn the truth and start making good choices, but you also must change the way you 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, 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 spouse more.” But just saying that isn’t going to change anything. You can’t fight your way into a feeling. You must change the way you think about your spouse. This 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).
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 your behavior or emotions, start with your thoughts and 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!”
But “repent” simply means to make a mental U-turn. Repentance is about more than changing your behavior. It’s about changing your mind and learning to think differently.
You turn from guilt to forgiveness, 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. You can change the way you think about all kinds of things—your relationships, the economy, the world, and your past, present, and future. Changing the way you think will eventually change 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 © 2021 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.