As I finished my previous article, Charles Stanley was about to present a sermon on TV. I thought I'd watch it, and I'm glad I did!
Who's Charles Stanley, you ask? Well, for starters, I heard he's a photographer. Check out what he's made of here. More importantly, he's pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta and founder of In Touch Ministries. I got that from his website. The wit of this guy was what got into watching Christian TV in the first place. And I'm just a bit more fired up to buy a camera due to that small snippet of information I heard about Dr. Stanley!
For this particular episode, he talked about how you can take control of your thoughts. If you noticed I had some trouble with what I had in mind as I was typing my previous post. I learned that if I dwelled on that, then I was sure to do something stupid. I was concentrating on the world, and my mind was not set on God. I took some notes while he was speaking, and they would probably give you more light on what I understood.
When you think about it, you can see how our thoughts affect who we are. We are what we are right now ultimately because of what we've been thinking. Dr. Stanley proceeded with the following Scripture verses:
"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so."
If you notice it mentions that 'the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace'; The outlook I had about life and its futility was not giving me this, therefore I can say that it was according to my sinful nature. It was of death. It was hostile to God, and it does not submit to God's law.
2 Corinthians 11:3
"But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ."
2 Corinthians 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."
We cannot be led astray from something where we never were in the first place. Without Christ, our lives would be led by pure deception in the form of materialism, sensuality, and all other forms of self-destruction. With Christ, we supplement our freedom to choose by being given salvation and favor through being called children of God.
1 Peter 1:13
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed."
Dr. Stanley had a beautiful line at around this part of the sermon which I think struck me the most:
A thought reaps an action
an action reaps a habit
a habit reaps our character
our character reaps our destiny
Thus, if I went on with thinking about futility, then my destiny would eventually, and painfully, follow. What I would think about would eventually dominate me. I must therefore set my mind on heavenly things. When your thoughts are of Jesus you don't need to worry. Think of what God wants you to think!
How do you make this thought about thought a habit? Charles Stanley goes on by mentioning the following steps:
Screen your thoughts.
When a certain thought comes into your head, consider asking the following questions:
-what is the source of the thought?
-where is this thought going to lead me?
-where is this thought in the Bible?
-will this thought build me up or tear me down?
-can i share this thought?
-does this l hought make me feel guilty?
-does this thought fit me as a Christian?
Select the thought.
Remeber that your mind goes before your feelings. Does the thought fit God's purpose for your life?
Cultivate your thought.
This is supplemented by this beautiful passage:
Philippians 4:4 -9
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Dwell on good thoughts. Reject bad thoughts. You can't have both!
I remember talking about how I wasn't very hot with attending meetings over at my workplace simply because all I heard was empty complaining. What I find myself saying to these sorts of people, and to myself when I would complain too, is 'What are you going to do about it'? Apparently, this should be preceded by 'What do you think?' Does what you plan to do pass through the screen you have?
In the light of this, my thoughts in my previous article were apparently wrong. Therefore, it is time to reevaluate my approach on things by dwelling on that which is good.
Where's one place to start? Dr. Stanley's program concluded with a short segment entitled "How can I find fulfillment in my work?"
Here are some notes I took while listening to that.
- Work is the Will of God!
- God wants you to use your talents
- Ask God where He wants you to be!
- Whatever you're doing today is in preparation for what you'll be doing tomorrow.
- Therefore, do your best where you are!
I conclude this short series with Dr. Stanley's line: "Obey God & Leave all the Consequences to Him."
Life only sucks if you think it!
God Bless You!