Summary: This sermon looks at three choices that can change our life. 1. We Must Choose Our THOUGHTS 2. We Must Choose to Depend on THE HOLY SPIRIT 3. We Must Choose to Respond Wisely to CIRCUMSTANCES
CHOICES BRING CHANGE
Spiritual growth is not automatic. Change is a matter of choice. We can’t just passively sit around doing nothing and expect to grow. We must make three choices if we really want to change. First:
1. We Must Choose Our THOUGHTS
Did you know that God is concerned about – what you think about? He is! The Bible says:
“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.” Philippians (KJV) 4:8
The New American Standard Bible tells us to “dwell” on these things. That is because what we think about is important to God.
Let me ask you, “How does a person become a Christian?” Some would say, “By repenting.” That is true but repentance is often a misunderstood term. I used to think of it as a man standing on a street corner with a sign that says, “Turn or burn!” In other words many think of repentance as changing their behavior. However, the Greek word for repentance is “Metnoia, and it means to change your mind or perspective. Romans 12:2 says:
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:2 (NASB)
The Bible teaches that the way we think determines the way we feel and the way we feel determines the way we act. So if you want to change your actions – you have to go back to the source and change the way you think.
Sometimes you may act resentful. Why? Because you feel resentful. Do you know why you feel resentful? Because you are thinking resentful thoughts. The same is true for anger and worry and many other kinds of destructive thought patterns.
It is interesting that while I was in the Army some terminology changed. We used to talk about “mental health” – but somewhere we changed the terms to “behavioral health”. Why? Because the experts realized that your mental health – determined your behavior health.
Let me illustrate it this way – imagine you have a speedboat and the speedboat has an automatic pilot. The boat is heading east, and you decide you want to go west. You want to make a 180-degree turn. There are two ways you can do that. The automatic pilot is heading the boat east, but you can grab the steering wheel and turn the boat around by sheer force. Now the boat is heading west, but the whole time that you’re forcing it by willpower to go west – you are constantly under tension. That’s because the boat is naturally inclined to go the other way. You are tense and uptight and soon you become tired. You know what happens then. You let go of the “wheel” and …you go off the diet, or you start smoking again, or you stop exercising, or you slip back into your old patterns of relating to your family. The truth is, trying to force yourself to change by sheer willpower seldom produces lasting results.