Change Your Thinking and Change Your Life

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Dr. Dennis Burke

             Many years ago, a London newspaper reported the strange death of a woman who, the article stated, had been “killed by 30 years of thought.” Thirty years ago when she was a little girl, this woman had watched in horror as her mother suddenly died from a heart attack while sitting in a dentist chair. Severely traumatized by that tragic experience, the little girl grew to adulthood refusing dental treatment. Even the suggestion that she should go to a dentist struck a deep note of fear in her. On a rational level, this young daughter knew that the visit to the dentist wasn’t the cause of her mother’s death. Nevertheless, for the next 30 years she couldn’t bring herself to have any dental treatments.

            Finally, the woman couldn’t put off a visit to a dentist any longer. Despite her terror, she desperately needed dental work. Before she would agree to make a dental appointment, however, she insisted that her physician accompany her.

            Still consumed with fear, the woman went to the dentist’s office along with her physician. But as she sat down in the dentist chair, the unthinkable occurred. Just as her mother did 30 years before, the woman suffered a massive heart attack and died right there in the dentist’s office! There was nothing her physician could do to help.

            Thirty years of fearful thoughts killed that woman. Just think of how different her life would have been if she’d had 30 years of faith-filled thinking and believing!

            There’s an important lesson we can learn from this account: The way we see ourselves and our future plays a very powerful role in the reality we actually experience.

            Let me point out someone else’s experience that has a very different and happy ending. It happened 200 years after Joshua had led the families of Israel out of the wilderness and into the land God had promised them.

            Joshua had led Israel into the Promised Land to conquer and possess it. But 200 years later, this victorious nation had turned into a nation of victims. Israel was being ravaged by an Arab tribe called the Midianites. The attacks were so severe that many Israelites were living in caves, just trying to scratch together enough food to feed their families. The relentless oppression threatened to destroy Israel’s very existence.

            The Israelites were crying out to God as a nation. They were in terrible trouble and distress. And as God always does, He answered His people’s cry. In this case, He sent an angel to the one He had appointed to be Israel’s deliverer—a young man named Gideon.

            The angel had some good news for Gideon, straight from the throne of God: “…The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12). A mighty warrior? A strong and courageous man? Gideon didn’t believe a word of this message from God, even though an angel had declared it!

            Gideon isn’t the only one who has ever made the mistake of not believing what God says about him or her. Christians do that all the time. They’ll read scriptures where God declares certain truths about them, but they won’t truly believe and act upon those truths.

            Take time to review what you truly believe. You can change your life by changing your thinking, and you can do it one day at a time.

            Once Gideon finally did take hold of God’s point of view, it empowered and changed him. He became the mighty man God said he was. He went to battle in the power of God’s might, embracing God’s plan and acting in faith on what God had told him. As a result, Gideon saw God’s power deliver the entire nation of Israel from the Midianites.

            Gideon created a future that was different from anything he had previously believed. How did he do it? By changing his thinking and his perception of himself. Once he knew how God viewed him—as a mighty and capable champion—Gideon knew what to believe about himself. He took God’s ideas and made them his own—and as a result, Gideon turned his life into one of the greatest success stories in history.

The ‘As for Me’ Principle

            Through the centuries, there have been many other people who, like Gideon, had to drastically change their thinking about God and about themselves in order to be mightily used for the Lord’s purposes. Once God made His thinking clear to these individuals, He expected them to see themselves and the challenges they faced from His point of view.

            One example can be found in the life of Noah:

“Then God spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: ‘And as for Me, behold, I establish My covenant with you and with your descendants after you’” (Genesis 9:8,9).

             It was clear that God was ready and willing to work with Noah and to establish his family through His covenant. In response, Noah believed God and embraced His covenant. Noah’s decision to accept God’s point of view changed him forever and saved his entire family from being destroyed.

             In Genesis 17:4, God spoke essentially the same words to Abram: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations.”

            Abram took his place as the father of faith because he believed God was able to perform what He had promised (Romans 4:21). Abram changed his thinking, his name—and, ultimately, he changed history.

            When God said, “As for Me…,” He clearly stated His own position and gave a glimpse into His heart. He had settled what He would do and with whom He would do it. Those divine words “as for Me” represent the very thing our hearts should be listening for as we seek to follow God’s will in our lives. When He gives us His way of thinking about a matter, it becomes clear what our response should be: “As for me, I receive it!”

            That was the faith response of both Noah and Abram. Their actions after receiving God’s “as for Me” to them indicated that they had changed their thinking to embrace God’s point of view. And as a result, they saw God’s power manifested to bring His promise to pass in their lives.

            This was also Joshua’s declaration. Joshua established his entire family in a covenant relationship with God with this one statement of commitment: “…As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

            That same principle is to be applied in every area of our lives. For example, when God says in essence, “As for Me, you are made whole,” He expects our thoughts and words to immediately come into alignment with His as we declare, “Then as for me, God has made me whole!”

            Everything God has said becomes a point of change in our thoughts. That means we must learn to declare in every situation: “As for me, whatever God has said is true for me!”

  •             As for me, Jesus is my Shepherd.
  •             As for me, I lie down by still waters.
  •             As for me, Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
  •             As for me, I am loved with an everlasting love.
  •             As for me, I am strong in the power of His might.
  •             As for me, I am a mighty champion!

            You can see how powerful it is to declare truths like these every day. As you do, you will cause God’s higher thoughts to become settled and established in your own way of thinking.

            In conclusion, I want to share five habits you can begin to develop today that will change your thinking. If you’ll make a practice of doing these five things, you will set each day on the right course so it can be filled with God’s power and presence. You can turn your life around—one day at a time.

            1. Imagine the good things God wants for the day. Events are largely the result of faith-filled thoughts. Therefore, a positive concept of this day will have a strong impact on how it plays out.

            2. Pray in faith, and receive God’s blessing on the day. Psalm 118:24 says, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Declare it: “As for me, I make a choice to rejoice!” Then determine that you will receive the best of God’s goodness throughout the day.

            3. Plan a good day. It has been said many times: Plan your work, then work your plan. Put some thought into what will make this day fulfilling and successful. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you think His thoughts.

            4. Be grateful. Thank God in advance for His blessings, for health, for prosperity, and for His guidance. Thankfulness is your faith in action.

            5. Sow the right seeds. Your thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions are all seeds that will set a course. Don’t give in to carnal emotions. The fruit of the spirit within will bring self-control to the surface and override your feelings, filling you with God’s joy and peace.

You can change your feelings, your attitude, your future, and your life. You are empowered to be changed when you begin to think like God thinks and to see yourself and the situations you face from His point of view.

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