Renew your Mindset with God series: Character Building: Our thoughts determine our lives.
Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. Philippians 4:2
Watch your thoughts; they become words; watch your words; they become actions; watch your actions; they become habits; watch your habits; they become character; watch your character for it becomes your destiny. Lao Tzu
We live in an atmosphere where profane words are spoken freely from the rivers of negative thoughts. The boundaries of tact and discretion have been cast aside for a new normal of transparency, saying what is on our minds. After all, isn’t it dishonest to pretend that everything is alright when it isn’t? If we turn the other cheek and disregard others’ wrongful actions, they will see us as weak, and then people will really take advantage of us. So, we stay prepared for the battle, always ready to defend ourselves and engage in the war of verbal sparring.
Some triggers initiate thoughts of retaliation: someone that you usually know or love speaks hurtful or accusatory words, receiving mistreatment, or facing the sour fruit of disappointment. These are just a few of the situations that can propel us into a whirlwind of negativity.
When we face disappointment, it doesn’t feel right. Especially when we have worked hard and given our best, and someone else receives what we rightfully deserve. We begin to think that life is unfair, which produces fertile ground for the seeds of anger, bitterness, and resentment to multiply.
Negative thinking always leads to destruction. We place ourselves in a lose-lose situation by trading peace, happiness, and inner joy for discontent, bitterness, and pessimism. The domino effect of negative thinking leads to an unproductive life. Our social circle changes, the friends that we once had now avoid us. We begin to seek the company of those who possess the same mindset to reinforce and validate our unhealthy thoughts. And unfortunately, our lives become like an empty glass that has nothing inside.
Throughout Jesus’ life, He faced hatred, and countless, harsh accusations. But let’s take a look at Jesus’ approach to His accusers:
Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 61 But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Mark 14:60-62
Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.” 3 Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, 4 and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” 5 But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise. Mark 15:2-4
Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it flow springs of life. 24 Put away deception from your mouth; keep your lips from perverse speech.… Proverbs 4:23-24. To guard our hearts with all diligence is to work hard to control the thoughts that can enter our minds. Self-control is one of the Fruit of the Spirit. It is a character trait that requires much effort every day.
As Believers of the Most-High God, we face daily temptations. Satan will always allow situations to arise where people, places, and things will provoke ungodly thoughts that quickly become unholy spoken words. Pray! Do not React! Just like Jesus, we can remain silent. By immediately praying, we can overcome the desire to speak our thoughts of retaliation. Still, we cannot fool ourselves into thinking that we have self-control just because we did not say our wrongful thoughts. It is a prayer of confession and repentance that is required for even considering the unspoken sinful thoughts.
In Philippians chapter 4, the Apostle Paul made it his priority to address Euodia and Syntyche’s dispute. He asked the two women in the church to settle their differences because they were Believers. Because of humanity’s natural tendencies, Paul did not leave it up to them to work things out between themselves. He asked a fellow believer to intervene because both of these members were active in witnessing to others.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5. Is it possible to take every thought captive? If we desire to change, God will give us the strength to rid ourselves of sinful thoughts. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
God has promised that He would never place more on us than we can bear. No temptation has overtaken you, except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
During this pandemic, God has removed many distractions from our lives. We must prepare ourselves for Eternal life by comparing our character and lifestyle to the Word of God. Our thoughts, words, actions, behaviors, and habits are the total sum of our character. No situation can arise that will compel us to speak or act outside of our real character. The Bible is the spiritual mirror that we must look into daily.
Jesus is coming soon to give the faithful our reward of immortality and life in a perfect world. Now is our time of probation to identify and eliminate all ungodly traits. Remember, there will be no apologies or forgiveness in the New Heaven and the New Earth. Commit today to trust in God. With God, we can be victorious overcomers. Hallelujah! For, “In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:37
8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8
Bible Reading: Philippians 4
God, we thank you for your love, grace, and mercies. We acknowledge that our characters do not reflect the Character of Christ. We ask for forgiveness of our sinful thoughts, words, and actions. Lord, we need your strength to help us to overcome and rid all of our natural tendencies to sin against you and others. We desire to serve you faithfully and to receive our reward of Eternal life. We are willing to change. God, please intervene in our lives. We ask this prayer in the Worthy Name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the author’s written permission.