Our daughter and I watched a show with a cat behaviorist, Jackson Galaxy, together last week. The cat owner was a famous young woman who often tweeted about her cat and used some dreadful names for him in her tweets. Galaxy said something so profound:
Words have power. What you speak becomes your reality.
He talked about how important it was for this woman to stop calling her cat these cuss word names, even on her Twitter account, and to use his real name. He talked about the importance of thinking about the good things about her cat and about showing her cat some respect. Then he asked what she called her boyfriend, and she said she called him something like, “Stupid, stupid, stupid Todd,” when she was in a really loving mood. Yikes.
I learned when I began this journey to become a godly woman that not only did I have to stop saying destructive or sinful things, I had to stop thinking destructive and sinful things. Stopping the negative talking comes first, but the thoughts have to change eventually, too. I also learned that as I stopped thinking negative things and focused on good things, my entire perspective dramatically changed for the better in my marriage, my relationship with God, and in every part of my life.
Whatever we focus on grows!
If I say to myself:
- “I hate that person. I hate my life. I hate my job. My life stinks. I’m a loser. No one will ever love me. I’m a total failure. My mom said something so hurtful to me a few years ago. I am going to rehearse every hurtful thing she has ever done to me over and over for the rest of the day…”
Guess what results I will get in my heart, my attitude, my words, and my behavior?
If I say to myself:
- “I am dearly loved by God. My life is such a gift from Him. God is good. I can trust Him fully. Look at all the blessings He has given me today. I’m so thankful for my church and my friends. I’m just going to sing praise songs to God in my heart all day today…”
What kind of results will I get in my heart, my attitude, my words, and my behavior?
If the lady wtih the cat changes the way she talks about the cat, she will probably have a different feeling and perception of her cat. Then the cat will probably respond to her changes in demeanor. So the dynamics can change somewhat.
As believers, we don’t just change our thoughts ourselves. We need God to change our thoughts. Our perspectives do change as God transforms our thoughts. But then, our sovereign God also actually has the power to change every aspect of our reality, not just our perception or just our relationship dynamics. So there is a BIG difference between “self improvement” vs. total transformation by the power of God’s Spirit.
What do you think might happen if I meditate on Scripture all day every day and if I pray Scripture back to God? Imagine the power of God available to me to transform my mind, heart, and life! God will radically change my reality.
A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.” Matthew 12: 35
God’s Word says that our words and our thoughts have great power. I believe that what we think becomes our reality, too, not just what we speak. Our thoughts or self-talk are the reservoir of all of the ideas we believe about God, ourselves, our relationships, and other people. The mind set on sinful things is death. But when our thoughts are empowered by God’s Spirit and truth, our minds are life and peace. God’s Word has infinitely more power than our words! As we embrace His Word, it becomes reality in our lives! This is why God commands us to think about only certain things to keep our thoughts holy and to prevent them from being contaminated with sin:
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
It is impossible to become a truly godly woman until we allow God to help us take our thoughts captive and discard all of the sinful, destructive, ungodly thoughts. Every single one of them has to go – the sooner, the better!
When God’s Spirit is in control, He helps us set a guard around our hearts and minds and He helps us to evaluate each thought and motive against His Word. When we recognize a tempting thought immediately and shoot it down, refusing to dwell on it, and we choose to dwell on God’s truth instead, the sinful thought cannot take root and grow in our minds and hearts. If that thought doesn’t grow, but goes down the trash chute, it won’t come bubbling out later in our words, attitudes, and actions.
This is HARD!!!! Impossible, on our own, really. It requires the power of the Holy Spirit and constant vigilance all day, every day. I don’t have the right to marinate in selfish, sinful, destructive, evil thoughts anymore. Jesus bought me with His blood. My mind and soul belong fully to Him now. He is LORD.
This is why I personally keep a prayer journal. As soon as I start to feel upset about something or notice negative emotions or begin to battle with tempting thoughts, I go run to my journal as soon as possible and start writing down all the things I am telling myself. Then I write down the truth of the Bible about those issues. I have to very purposely reject the lies and ungodly ways of thinking or the disrespectful thoughts and replace them with godly thoughts. If I don’t have God’s Spirit’s power, I can’t do this. But when His Spirit is in full control, and I am in His Word and abiding in Him in constant prayer throughout the day, He gives me Light to see each thought with His eyes.
I might want to ask myself questions like:
- Where did that thought come from?
- Lord, let me have Your eyes, Your heart, and Your mind. Illumine the truth for me in this moment. Empower me with Your Spirit to know what is right and what is sinful.
- Where would that thought take me if I really choose to dwell on it? What would the long term consequences be?
- Is that where God wants me to go with my thoughts? Does it pass then Philippians 4:8 test?
- What are my motives if I were to entertain this thought?
- Is this promoting pride, unbelief in God, disrespect of God, disrespect of Greg, selfishness, etc…?
- Is this thought promoting my will or God’s will?
- Is this thought going to breed fear, anxiety, lack of faith in God, or idolatry of some type?
- Am I feeling tempted to disobey God about something?
- Why do I want to obey God? Am I obeying Him to get other stuff from Him or to have Him and please Him?
- Are my motives simply to love God with all my heart and to bless and love others?
- Do I have expectations I need to lay down right now?
- God, I only want to think things that are pleasing to You. This thought doesn’t look pleasing to You, I reject it and choose to think about this other thought from Your Word instead about this subject.
Then, when my thoughts are pure and undefiled, I am walking in obedience to God, and filled with His Spirit (these things can ONLY happen by His Spirit) – then He hears my prayers and His Spirit begins to also work miracles in my life on my behalf that go way beyond what my thinking alone could do. It is the prayer of the righteous man that is powerful and effective. If I want my prayers to be powerful and effective, I must walk in purity of heart and mind, and in obedience to God by His Spirit filling and empowering me. Then I have access to the sovereign God of the universe and His power is at His disposal to help me to accomplish His good, perfect, and pleasing will for my life.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
If God has been showing you how to take your thoughts captive for Him and you would like to share how you think of this process, we would love to hear from you! Ladies and gentlemen are welcome to share. (I am not able to approve comments from the “manosphere” per my husband’s request, but others may comment.)
Amazing worship song that will help you focus on GOOD things!