As a Man Thinketh

 

Scripture: (Proverbs 23:7 a KJV)  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:…

 In a sense this is a continuance of last weeks message in that the things we will be covering will the most helpful in giving us true hope for living a full and fruitful life. I realize that the scripture verse above, if you read it in its context, has nothing to do with where I am going. But however as we take a closer look at it, I think you will see the real truth of our essence, and in it, find the key to enjoying our lives to the fullest. The Hebrew word translated Thinketh is shaar. It is an opening or door. A shaar is a person or thing that acts as a gatekeeper. Then the next word I want us to look at is the Hebrew word hephesh. It is an interesting word that refers to a person’s life, or soul or passion. So then what the scripture verse is telling us is the gatekeeper of your soul lies within the thoughts you entertain. It is the thoughts that we allow ourselves to dwell upon that make up who we are and our surroundings. Jesus taught us that our eyes are the light of the body and that if our eye be evil our whole body shall be full of darkness. It is the things that we choose to concentrate on that direct our lives. Everything in your life today – who you are, whether rich or poor, whether happy or depressed, every phase of your life has been conditioned by the thoughts and feelings of your past. And so the condition of your life in the future, tomorrow, next week, and next year will be conditioned by the thoughts and feelings that you choose to entertain from now on. And so then we see that the ultimate key to life is the fact that if you change your mind your conditions must change also.

            So there it was Saturday morning and I had to get up way early to drive out to Orlando to take this test for work. I was tired. I had not had a day off since I don’t know when and I was not a happy camper. As I got in the van and started driving across the causeway towards Tampa I began to pray. I am telling you the truth, prayer will either change you or the circumstances or both. As I continued to pray I suddenly noticed three rays of light shooting up in the sky from the horizon. I remember thinking Wow, that was cool. But it just kept getting better because then I looked and the water was so still and a couple of seagulls were flying gently in the morning sky. Within the next couple of seconds the sun ascended over the horizon and just as it did, two dolphins jumped out of the water and I began to praise God for the wonderful blessing He was giving me on this beautiful morning. My point with this is that sometimes in order to get the blessings of life that we so desperately desire sometimes we have to do some things that we do not like doing. And you know, if I had not changed my attitude that morning I would have missed the glory of God and continued to grumble through the day. It comes down to changing our minds. As we do, the whole world changes with it.

            If you remember last week’s message, you might recall the rabbit trail I took down the road of existentialism. Give me just a minute to try to tie this in. Existentialism states that every human being creates and recreates his or her essence in every moment through their thoughts and actions. Well, the man who first coined the term existentialism was Jean Paul Sartre. By quickly looking at this philosophical ballyhoo I believe we can come out on the other side with a wonderful revelation of the hope that is in the Lord. In an attempt to define existentialism I would have to say that it is the idea that existence comes before essence. Here are the basics of it. For thousands of years man has naturally assumed that there was an underlying human nature that ruled our basic behavior. In essence our fundamental nature was set before we ever existed. In other words, God created us in His own image. Yet the philosophers of the 20th century, expressly Sartre, try to take God out of the equation by stating that we decide our own nature or essence by the way we think and in turn by the way we choose to live. Thus we first exist then decide for our selves our way of life. Now, the little bit of truth in this thought was enough to change the world as we know it. This idea of being free to choose our own reality sprung into thoughts of subjective reality, then into deigning any objective truth altogether. Can you see how a little bit of truth can disguise a huge lie? You see because the truth is, as the Bible teaches us, that the things we think about direct our life.

            There is a battle going on within us. It is a battle for our souls. Looking at the tri-unity of man we can see how we have a body, a soul and spirit.

                                                              Soul

 

 

             

                                               

                                             Spirit                     Body

 

Now before I was born again I did not have any problem with the struggle between by flesh and my spirit. That is because I had the nature of sin. Both my body and my spirit just cared about the fulfillment of the hedonistic desires of life. Oh, yes there was still a fundamental hierarchy of needs. But there was no conviction or any war like Paul talks about in the 7th chapter of Romans.  (Rom 7:19-24 NIV)  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

                When you come to the realization of the good news of Jesus the messiah, we in fact get a new nature. A new essence. We become a new creation in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV)  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. So then there is now a new nature within us that is from above, and its desires and ways are higher then those of our physical passions. We see how this internal war could keep us from finding lasting peace. Now for practical purposes lets call the body our actions, the spirit our thoughts and the soul our emotions. Do you recall how the bible teaches us that the Word of God is able to divide the soul and the spirit  (Hebrews 4:12 NIV)  For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

                        So then if you want to change your life change your mind. Interestingly the Bible has a word that means just that. In the original Greek it is metanoeo. It comes from two Greek words, meta which means change and noieo, which is where we get our word knowledge, meaning the mind. So then metanoeo means to change your mind. It is translated repent. We need to repent, change our minds, and walk in strength and victory. We need to bring every thought into captivity.  (2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV)  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;

 Now lets try to bring all of this together first by tying up all this talk about this internal warfare. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6 KJV)  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

            Do you want to change your life? Do you want to win the victory of the negative power of your fleshly lusts and desires? Whether we are talking about fighting depression, overeating, smoking, anger, lust, drugs or alcohol, no mater what the battle the power of God is able to overcome it.  The power of God is greater then your anger. The power of God is greater then any drug. The power of God is greater then alcohol or sex or any lying spirit. Do you really want to overcome and win this battle for your soul? Then it is time that you really believed the Word of God. You need to take God at his word and believe the Bible more then the things that you see, feel or touch. You need to know that you know, that you know, that greater is He who is within you then He who is within the world. You need to know that we are more then conquerors in Christ Jesus our Lord. You need to know that God has a wonderful plan for your life, that you would be of good health and prosper in all things. You need to know that no weapon formed against you will prosper. The Word of God is perfect. It is sure. It is right, pure, clean and true. It is infallible, inerrant, complete, authoritive, sufficient and brings us salvation, deliverance health, hope and happiness.  

                Are you ready for a change? Are you ready for your breakthrough? Are you ready to win the battle of your mind? Then lets get determined. Return to the Lord and get into His word, meditating on it daily. Lets make a fresh commitment to spend more time in communication with Him. Remember if you will draw near onto God, Submit yourself entirely to Him, Satan will flee. There is no struggle when you are in the arms of the Father. Commit for the next seven days to cast aside every negative thought. And think positive, productive, thoughts that will bring new life and joy and love and hope to your entire life. Seven days will change your entire life. (Philippians 4:8 & 9 KJV)  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. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.