Personal Transformation

 

Personal Transformation

So many things we do throughout the day involve some thought, choices, decisions, things we say and do, who we speak to and the responses we make. Then there’s the attitudes we hold - the result of past thoughts and decisions. Almost everything we do involves our thoughts! We are thinking all the time - during our waking hours, we are taking in information through our senses and by our reasoning, and during the times we are sleeping we are often processing the thoughts we have had whilst awake. This is why we can often come up with ideas or solutions to problems that we’ve faced during the day. 

Our thinking can either be for good or evil - and we can convince ourselves that our attitudes, behaviour and / or conduct that come from our thinking can be OK when in effect it is doubtful. Whenever we think, whether they be conscious or unconscious thoughts, electrical impulses are produced that influence and / or affect different parts of our brain. These can stimulate our brain and we can become used to them and can result in patterns of behaviour that we believe are normal or part of our make-up.  

Jesus said in Matthew 4:17 “... “Turn to God and change the way you think and act, because the kingdom of heaven is near!”” (GW), or in other words, if we would only learn to think and act differently all of the resources of heaven come within our grasp. Thinking has to change before a change in behaviour can take place. Paul the apostle says something similar in Romans 12:2, "Do not change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect" (NCV). Many have found that their thoughts can bring dramatic change within their lives. Our minds and therefore our thinking can become a powerful force that can bring about radical transformation in our lives, for our benefit and those around and closest to us.
 
Think for a moment about the number of choices you make every day of your life - choices that determine your attitude, behaviour and outcome of that day. In the Bible, God says, 
"... today I have set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Oh, that you would choose life; that you and your children might live!" (Deut 30:19 TLB).

I remember hearing the story of a young woman, who was struggling to make progress in her life. Things were difficult, including her job prospects. One day she came home and told her family that she was going to change her career, even though this would mean a lot of studying and hard work. With the support and encouragement of those around her, after just a couple of years, she is well on her way to achieving her goal and just a few months away from getting a better job, and no doubt a change of lifestyle and its outcomes. 

If like the young woman above, we realised the effect our thinking can have on every area of our lives whether it be spiritual, emotional or physical - not forgetting the way it can affect and influence those we relate to whether they be family, friends or acquaintances, we might choose to think differently!

Making up our mind and choosing to think differently can be an extremely difficult thing to do, particularly if it involves changing some habit or way of behaviour that has resulted in us living in a particular way. But it is something we can all do particularly if we keep in front of us what we want to achieve or accomplish in our lives. 

We might not be able to control our situations or circumstances, but with our minds we can determine our responses and reactions to them - which can result in amazing outcomes. Reminding ourselves of the words of Jesus in Matthew 4:17, "From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near," Jesus' disciples would have understood what He was saying, which has been lost in translation. It meant that if they were able to think differently all the resources and power of His kingdom would come within their reach so that these things could be used for God's glory as they ministered to others.

Changing the way we think may be difficult and a bit of a battle or struggle, but with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can find that in just a comparatively short while our attitudes, behaviour, conduct and thinking can change for the better, whereby we are able to reflect more of the character of God in our everyday lives. 

On the other hand, if we take the time to think before we act, we can prevemt ourselves from saying the wrong things and / or making the wrong choices. Thinking through our long term plans and intentions, particularly in dealing with others, can save us a lot of heartache and strife later on (Proverbs 15:28). Such an attitude demands a way of life that is self disciplined, for what we say and how we say it reveals the condition of our hearts. A single thought can ultimately lead to an evil action. If we allow such undisciplined thoughts to continue, they can lead us into sin and a way of life that can destroy ourselves and others! The scriptures teach that such words and actions come from areas within us that are unhealed (Mk 7:14-23; Jam 4:1-4) and have not been touched by the grace of God.

Paul, either in prison or under house arrest, knowing that soon he may have to face death for his faith, writes to the Philippian Church and gives them some timely words that would help them in the days ahead, “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” (4:8).