Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Jingle bells, Jingle bells
Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad
As I flip through the radio this time of year, I hear songs filled with joy. After all, it is Christmas, the season of perpetual hope! But for some of us, the darkness and worry we try so hard to fight all year becomes more pronounced in our psyche. While everyone else seems to be caught up in the in the beautiful chaotic activity of Christmas, some of us are trying to just get out of bed and get through the first cup of coffee. So what can be done when dark or anxious thoughts hover about us like the Ghost of Christmas present?
The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” For some, this is a challenge. We sit in church and listen to the message so encouraged and leave full of hope. After we leave, we go about our lives, watching television with our family or going to a movie with a friend and it challenges our truth. Worry and worthlessness begin to creep in. It is full of lies. But which will we believe? The voice of hope? Or one full of deception? We have truth and lies entering our mind on a continuing basis, the truth is God’s way, lies are Satan’s. We have to make a choice what we will believe. Here are 4 practical helps to renewing your mind.
*Know: We can decide which thoughts are based in Gods truth and which are not.
*Discern: Based on what we know in truth, we can discern what is truth and what is a lie and we can choose to accentuate the truth and dismiss the lies in the battle for the mind.
*Act: Our decisions will be made in accordance with what you choose to believe.
*Harvesting: Our feelings and behaviors are determined by our choice to believe truth or lies. We are going to reap the reward of knowing, discerning and acting according to Gods desired will.
In Philippians 4:8 we are encouraged with, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” The reason I love this passage is because it accentuates the positive of the Christians life. What Paul is saying is that you don’t always have to play defense with your thought life but you can play offense as well. Our thoughts are redeemable! As Christians, we have a choice about our mindset. Our heart will seek and can only seek that which our mind is set upon. The mind is the leading faculty of the soul. What that means is that if we are thinking sad thoughts, we will feel sad. If we are thinking angry thoughts, we will feel angry. If we think joyful thoughts, we will feel joyful! Our mind determines how we feel.
WHERE AND WHAT DO YOU SET YOUR MIND?
In conclusion, our minds, like the thermostats in our house, have settings. In the same way we can set the thermostat in our house where we choose, we have the power to set our mind where we choose. The only difference is that there is no off setting. Our mind is always at work, it never stops. Thinking is a constant activity, like breathing, whether we are aware of it or not. So therefore, we can become more aware of and intentional about the content and direction of our thoughts. But this requires alertness and diligence.
So this month, as we celebrate the birth of the Savior, let us all take some time to memorize Scriptures that can help us begin this practice of renewing our mind. Remember, anything worth doing takes time, it is not like downloading an app! Make a realistic, achievable goal of memorizing one verse this month so a sense of accomplishment can be felt. Put the verse on your bathroom mirror, computer monitor, on your phone, etc. Here are a few verse suggestions to get you started and if you want to talk, come see me!
13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 10:5
5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you