By Tonia Shroyer – Senior Pastor
Four years ago, as I turned 50, I thought, “Wow, my life is half-over. What have I accomplished, and what else is there to do?”
I knew for a certainty that I wanted to fulfill whatever assignments the Lord had ahead for me and to live well, enjoying and having time for my spouse, family, and friends.
I firmly believe that living well includes being an encourager to people and an imitator of Christ as we live life.
As we age, time seems to go quicker. I’ve gained some wisdom along the way and have come to realize that our minds are powerful and shape who we are and how we live. The Bible is our guidebook for living well and thinking properly.
I have read several books by Dr. Caroline Leaf, who is a Christian cognitive neuroscientist. One of her statements has stuck with me—“As we think, we change the physical nature of our brain. As we consciously direct our thinking, we can wire out toxic patterns of thinking and replace them with healthy thoughts.”
This statement speaks directly to what we read in Scripture.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 NLT
Changing the way we think changes our perspectives, which changes how we act.
When we read the Bible, we need our minds to change, or we will impose our biases and labels in the words we read. I am continually confronted with this as I go to the Scriptures and then apply them to my life and to what I see in the world.
We are called to lead. Who do we lead first? Ourselves.
“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.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV
A Positive Thought Life
Is it even possible to lead every thought captive? It must be if the Word of God says it can be. I have found that “being still” is a key to generating a positive thought life.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a KJV
There is power in “being still.” It allows us time for prayer, meditation, capturing our thoughts and keeping our feelings and emotions under the reign of the Holy Spirit.
I am encouraging us all to make time to consider what we are thinking and pursue “being still.”
“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.” Philippians 4:8 NIV
We are called upon to be the different people—the calm ones that nothing seems to shake and are impossible to offend. They listen more than they talk.
They see gold in each person and the positive in every situation. They endeavor to love everyone, even their enemies. Their peace and joy are contagious.
People who are different understand Philippians 4:8. They choose to see Christ in everyone.
They choose good and eliminate negative thoughts at every turn. It requires deciding to love regardless of the circumstances.
“If you search for good [the gold!], you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you.” Proverbs 11:27 NLT
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7a NKJV
Shift Your Focus
What are we searching for? We can change our thinking by shifting our focus.
When we think, we build thoughts. We are created in the image of God, full of love and grace. If we think this, we can live this.
“…and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ephesians 4:23-24 NIV
Our Father speaks such wonderful things about us, to us in his Word. Let’s commit to memory more of His goodness about us, and then encourage others with it.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
The catalyst for change is always Christ. He is a complete redeemer and friend to us all.
In Matthew, he spoke to his people, his disciples, and to the church. He is still speaking to us now.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 NASB1995
How thankful we are that our brother Jesus brought us grace and truth and set us free from captivity!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV
It’s a new life, a new day, and a new way. The SON is shining and so are we.
Photo by Harsh Vardhan of Pexels
Encourage someone today with words inspired by the Spirit and remember that God loves you, especially you, specifically you!