Summary: In this sermon, we explore the truth that for change to take place in our lives, we must think for a change. We have to change how we think, before we can change how we live.
A. As you know, we are in a series that I am calling Extreme Makeover – God Edition, and we are addressing the question: is real, profound life-change is possible?
1. Can we stop being the way we have always been, and become people of more noble character?
2. Can we be freed from some of the destructive patterns we have fought all our lives, and be the people we really want to be?
3. The answer to those questions is an emphatic and faith-filled “YES”!
B. So far, in our series we have emphasized the following things.
1. We have discovered and declared that through the power of God our lives can be changed.
2. We have seen that God is ready and willing to help us – God will provide the way, but we must provide the will.
3. No change is possible unless we really want to change.
4. Today we are going to talk about the power and place of the mind in the process of change.
I. The Power of the Mind
A. The truth we want to explore today is this: For change to take place we have to decide to “think for a change.”
1. Somebody has probably told you that at least once in your life. “Why don’t you think for a change!” (My mother used to say that to me a lot!)
2. Well, “thinking for a change” is a very biblical idea.
3. Because the center of all spiritual bondage is the mind, then the key to transformation is also the mind.
4. We have to change how we think, before we can change how we live.
5. One comedian used to say “I was going to buy a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking, but then I thought: What good would that do?” (Ronnie Shakes)
6. Sadly, that’s the kind of stinkin’ thinkin’ that we need to overcome.
B. Dennis Waitley wrote an interesting book called Empires of The Mind – Lessons to Lead and Succeed In a Knowledge-Based World (1995).
1. He tells interesting stories about how the power of the mind either liberates or imprisons people
2. One of those interesting stories is about a man named Nick Sitzman who worked in a railroad yard.
3. Nick was a competent worker, but had a very negative attitude. He was known as a pessimist.
4. One day, everyone got off an hour early to celebrate the birthday of a foreman.
5. Just before Nick left to go to the party, he went in a refrigerated car that was in the yard for repair and accidentally locked himself in the boxcar.
6. He began to shout for help, but by then everyone else was gone.
7. He began to panic and pounded on the door so hard that his hands became bloody.
8. What Nick feared was that if he stayed in that car all night he would freeze to death.
9. He began to get cold and began to shiver.
10. He figured that the temperature in the boxcar was 5 to 10 F at best.
11. As he realized that no one would be rescuing him, he found a pen in his pocket and an old piece of cardboard on the floor and wrote this note: “It is getting cold. My body is numb. If I don’t get out of here soon these will probably be my last words.” And they were.
12. The next day when the crew came to work they found Nick’s dead body in the boxcar.
13. The autopsy revealed that Nick had died of hypothermia.
14. But here’s the shocking fact: the reason that the boxcar was in the yard for repair was that the refrigeration unit was broken.
15. The temperature in the boxcar that night was only 61 degrees.
16. Nick froze to death because he convinced himself he was freezing to death – in that sense, he worried himself to death.
17. He expected to die and was convinced he had no chance.
18. He lost the battle in his own mind, and so he lost his life.
19. I did some research to verify the truthfulness of the story, and could not find anything definitive.
20. Can a person really think themselves to death? I believe the mind is that powerful!
C. In order to change, to be set free, to become who we are meant to be, we must win the battle of the mind
1. Romans 8:5-6 reads, “Those who live according to their sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”