The heart is the seat of our emotions and cognitive understanding! It is the center of our belief system, and where faith dwells. We are where we are because of our mindset.
Managing My Mindset
I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Yesterday we traveled to Birmingham to watch our grandson play basketball at the YMCA. The league consists of seven and eight year olds, so the game looked more like football than basketball. Near the beginning of the game, one player, the star of Bentley’s team, became angry and frustrated, for which the referee pulled him aside and gave him a very stern word of encouragement. On the very next possession the player found himself in a struggle for a loose ball, and when he didn’t get possession, he began fighting with fists flying. The referee quickly stepped in grabbed the kid, and his mama was outta her seat and on that court in no time.
I could hear her for the longest time as she led him to a private place to render her own opinion of his behavior in no uncertain terms. “What you thinking!”, I heard her say. Every action begins with a thought! Before the brain sends signals to body members to act, it first has to process the data, make a decision, and send the order!
Last week, we discovered that David observed the sad faces of his servants, and perceived (1) that the child was dead (2) that God had acted justly (3) his future would be spent living for, and worshiping God so that he can go to where the child has gone. Things changed for David when his perception changed. Your perception is what you give people when they ask you, “What are you thinking?”
I. Satan Will Always Bring A Thought To Destroy YOU!
Listen, Satan cannot take away anything that God has given to you. So our adversary, the devil will try to affect our thinking with negative thoughts of doubt and fear, and weary our hearts with impatient fits of worry. The heart is the seat of our emotions and cognitive understanding! It is the center of our belief system system, and where faith dwells.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Our testimony depends upon the condition of our heart. David’s testimony informs us of the importance of believing you can win against impossible odds. Peter’s testimony reveals the importance of thinking we can do impossible things. Everyday life, happiness or sorrow, and a countenance to wear, are all determined in a person’s heart.
What we have heard and seen determines our countenance. The entry points are our eyes and our ears. What we see and hear will determine how you feel and think. And may I tell you that there is a contagion about feelings and attitudes. The children of Israel were given a great possession, a Promised Land of blessed fruitfulness. But there were giants in that Land of Promise and they were prevented from going in when they first approached the border at Kadesh on the plain of Paran. Moses sent spies in to spy out the land, and when they heard the report, their thoughts were thoughts of fear and doubt. But Caleb, that man of faith and optimism admonished the people to be strong and go it and take the Land.
30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.
32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature.
33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.
You see, faith is our immune system against thoughts of defeatism and fear. God had given them a strong word of commitment, telling them that He, Himself, would not only go with them, but also fight for them, and save them!
II. God Will Always Bring A Thought To Deliver You!
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
Listen to what God tells them in
1. When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
2 And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people,
3 And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them;
4 For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you, 8 And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.
Again, it was not the giants that prevented them from going in, but their thoughts! There was never a conversation with the giants about who was greater. No it was what they thought, because of what they heard. It is possible to be stopped by giants not because they are bigger and stronger than you, but because of your thoughts.
The devil always attacks your immune system, or your faith.
What you believe determines who you are, for as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. So he constantly blabs in your ear, and focuses the eyes of your imagination upon vain and false images that feed your thoughts. And he is relentless in his quest through sounds and sights to disarm you, bring miserable, and unbearable sorrow, anger, and utter frustration upon you, and in the end make you feel so worn down that you don’t know what you believe. At that time you are tempted to walk away from what God wants you to go into.
You will always have contradiction. There will always at least two thoughts that are vying for your mind. You see, truth is, all of us are caught between two thoughts.
Yes, while I’m preaching this message, I’m caught between two thoughts. In my mind, I’m wondering while I preach, “Are they getting this?” That’s the battle we all fight. Fact is, before we develop a feeling, we first have a thought. In the same way you develop a sickness, there has to be a contact, or an influence that results in a feeling.
How many times has God turned me away from some wonderful things that God intended for my life, and this church, because of what I thought, and what you thought.
When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;
It hurts to think that God carried us as far as our thinking would allow. It’s painful to realize that if we could have changed our mindset, that God would have carried us further. These children of Israel were turned away, and wandered in the desert wilderness for 40 years, not because God would not fight for them, not because God would not provide for them, but because of what they thought.
We are where we are in our spiritual journey because of what we think and feel. God is as big as we believe Him to be.
God can do all that we can perceive, exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we are able to think or ask.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
1. Our thoughts are open to the eyes of God.
I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
2. Our thoughts can be brought under submission to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
3. If we repent, our evil thoughts can be forgiven.
Repent therefore of this thy wickednes, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
4. Our thought life is to mature and develop as we grow.
1 Corinthians 13:11
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
5. You don’t have to worry about the future.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
6. If we have the Holy Spirit we need not premeditate.
But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.