Harness the Power of Your Thoughts
Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
We all know that we should think on good things that are positive and uplifting. Unfortunately, it was easier for Paul to write than for us to practice. The question is, “How can I habitually think good thoughts? I’ve confessed the Word, prayed, and read my Bible but I am still overcome by discouraging and depressing thoughts. I still feel like a failure.” I believe there has been a missing link that will enable us to practice this scripture.
As any gardener knows, you must remove the weeds and prepare the ground before you can grow a good crop. If we are going to have success in our thought life, we must first get rid of the weeds (negative thought patterns). The first step in getting rid of weeds is to be able to identify and recognize what the weeds are. I am convinced that all of us have self-defeating thought patterns that we don’t recognize, consequently they continue to grow. For instance when you make a mistake (perhaps in your checkbook) and the bank tells you that you are overdrawn, what do you say to yourself? What thoughts do you have? Recognize any of these? “I am so stupid!” “What an ignorant thing to do!” “I never do anything right!”
These thoughts may not seem significant, but they develop into patterns or habits of thinking. What you think, you eventually believe. What you believe, you will feel and what you feel, you will speak. Your feelings are a direct result of what you think. If you feel discouraged or depressed then you have been thinking and meditating on discouraging and depressing thoughts. How do you stop the process? Learn to recognize these negative thought patterns, and then begin to talk back to these thoughts. Let the Christ in you rise up and defend you!
Let’s take a look at the statement (or thought), “I never do anything right!” First of all, is that true? Of course not! You do some things wrong, but you also do some things right. That doesn’t make you a failure; it makes you human! The devil would love for you to think that you are a failure because you make mistakes. If that’s true, all people are failures because all people make mistakes.
Secondly, let Christ in you speak back to those thoughts. Would Jesus stand in front of you and say, “You never do anything right!” No! So when that thought comes argue your case. Analyze that thought in the light of the truth of God’s Word, then defeat that lie by speaking the truth. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. There is therefore now no condemnation to me because I’m in Christ Jesus. I am His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus!” You’ll plant a good garden when you root out the weeds!
Let’s get things in order by pulling the weeds instead of mixing bad seed with good seed. You can become aware of these twisted thought patterns by recognizing your feelings. I know that we have ignored our feelings because we are to be ruled by faith. But most of your negative feelings come from negative thoughts! If you feel down and out, stop and examine what you have been thinking. You’ll find out where those feelings came from. You’ll harness those powerful thoughts and change your feelings and the course of your life!
What Are You Telling Yourself?
In the past few years, we have placed great emphasis on the words we speak audibly. However, I would like to bring your attention to the words that you say to yourself (self-talk). Jesus said, “…for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Matthew 12:34) To the Jewish people living at that time, the word “heart” signified the seat of the intellect, mind, and thoughts. What Jesus was saying was, “Before you say it aloud, you have already said it in your mind.”
What do you say to yourself? You may not make a bad confession by speaking your thoughts out loud, but what are you telling yourself? Do you tell yourself that nothing ever works out for you? Even if you hold your tongue and don’t say it, you are doing immeasurable damage by allowing this to go on inside your head. We need to monitor our self-talk as carefully as we monitor the words we speak with our tongue.
Negative thought patterns lead to a negative attitude, which leads to negative speaking. Most negative thought patterns are illogical and self-defeating. Some of these patterns are: perfectionism (having unrealistic, impossible standards); assumptions (assuming you know what another person is thinking about you or what their motives are); prediction (believing the very worst is going to happen); blowing things out of proportion (making a mountain out of a mole hill); and invalidating yourself with the “shoulds” (I should do this… I shouldn’t do that… I shouldn’t feel this way… I shouldn’t be this way.)
Do you think Jesus talked to Himself this way? Of course not! And He does not want us to bind ourselves with guilt, rejection, and frustration by talking to ourselves in such a manner. We are given instruction to acknowledge the good things in us in Christ Jesus. (Philemon 1:6) In the past, you may have acknowledged the bad things in you, but you can start fresh by turning the rudder of your ship in a new direction. Be nice to yourself!
I would also like for you to be aware that the reverse is also true of the statement, “What you think, you will eventually believe and what you believe, you will feel and will speak.” If you are in an emotionally toxic environment at work or at home, the negative energy of that environment will be felt in your mind, emotions, and body. Even though you may be a positive person, being surrounded by that negativity can cause you to feel awful, and then you begin to think and believe bad things about yourself. If you are in a situation of verbal abuse anywhere it will be a detriment to your health, emotions, and sense of self-worth. God leads us to live peaceably, so if you are being overwhelmed by a toxic environment it is time to ask God if you are in the right place. God has called us to live in peace.
Recognizing Self-Defeating Thoughts
Let me share with you how I personally learned to recognize the thoughts and patterns that were defeating me and stealing my joy in life. The fruit of thoughts and beliefs develops into an emotion. An emotion is energetic. It is an energy you can feel in your body and if the emotion is strong enough, others can sense it without you saying one word. Haven’t you had the experience of feeling someone else’s emotion without them saying one word? Anger is especially powerful, and you can sometimes feel it without looking at the person or them saying one word.
So when the Holy Spirit began to teach me about thoughts, beliefs and emotions, He showed me an image of a train with the engine and the railroad cars following along behind. For my entertainment, I saw in my mind a child’s version of a “choo-choo train” which was brightly colored! Wherever the engine went, the cars followed right behind. Your thoughts are like the engine and the railroad cars are your feelings. In order to find the thoughts, all you have to do is follow the cars forward until you find the engine. (It’s up there somewhere!)
Whenever I began to have negative feelings and emotions rise up (sadness, anger, depression, insecurity) I stopped whatever I was doing and asked myself when these feelings began. The reason I did that is because during a day so many things happen, it is necessary to pinpoint a time and what was happening. What I noticed was that when I found the time and/or day, I began to feel upset. I could usually recall what was happening, who I was talking to, and what was said. The sooner you stop and ask the question, the better!
“What you think, you will eventually believe and what you believe, you will feel and will speak.”
It may have been something as simple as a telephone call, someone spoke sharply with me… maybe even angrily. Because I was busy, I moved on to something else as an increasing sense of frustration and negativity manifested the rest of the day. Once I stopped to examine the source of my emotion, I went backwards through my day examining how I felt until I realized that I felt fine until that phone call!
Once I became aware of the incident, I asked myself what I thought at the time, how I felt and what I believed happened. In this particular situation, I felt like I had done something wrong and said something to make this person angry. I asked myself, “Is this true?” The only way to find truth is to open yourself to the Holy Spirit and ask the question honestly, willing to receive the answer. He is the Spirit of Truth! What I discovered is that I had not said or done anything. The person was already angry about something else that was going on in their own life, but they communicated THAT ENERGY over the phone line to me. I thought I had done something wrong to cause it and that thought was powerful enough to hook me emotionally. Why? Because that train car of thought hooked me up to another train car loaded with a belief developed a long time ago.
That belief created as a child, was that I am responsible for other people’s feelings. If this is true, then when others are unhappy, angry, or sad, then I have done something wrong to make them feel this way. This is not only a BELIEF but it is a PATTERN OF THOUGHTS, so whenever others have strong emotion, it is my fault. And if it is MY FAULT, then I am a bad person.
Do you see where I am going with this??? If I am a bad person, I feel bad about myself.
This sounds like it takes a long time, but I developed this habit and now when I have a negative emotion, it is sometimes almost instantaneous that I know when, what the thought and belief was and I am able to release that emotion quickly.
Now what is the TRUTH in this situation? Sometimes I do say or do the wrong thing, and someone gets upset and I apologize because I was responsible for whatever took place. But I am not responsible for everyone’s feelings all the time! And if I have done something, I AM NOT A BAD PERSON! I haven’t reached perfection yet; I am just a human made in the likeness of God, doing the very best I can. And so are you!
Remember and practice these steps to locate your powerful thoughts and beliefs and change them to conform to the Word and the Spirit of Truth:
- When you feel negative emotions, ask WHEN they started???
- Ask WHAT happened at that time???
- Ask what you THOUGHT about what happened???
- Identify what you FELT at the time... anger, sadness, hurt???
- If this keeps repeating itself, what do you BELIEVE about yourself or others when this happens?
- What is the TRUTH???
Through this process, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the TRUTH to you and assist you to change your pattern of thinking and transform your beliefs to see yourself (and others) as God sees you!
I strongly recommend you order this 2-CD series “How to Harness the Power of Your Thoughts”. It will change your life.
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