Summary: Life change comes from a mind renewed by the truth of God’s Word.
[I’ve taken the main points of this sermon from Rick Warren’s Ministry Toolbox article ’Preaching Tips that will change lives’, Issue #246, 2/15/2006.]
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Transformation comes when you renew your mind.
• NLT: “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
• Once that happens, you find yourself no longer conforming to the pattern of the world but to the will of God.
Our behavior will change, when our thinking changes.
• If there is no change in your behavior, question your thinking.
• If someone says, “I believe in tithing” but do not tithe – then he don’t believe in it.
• You only really believe the parts of the Bible that you obey.
Let me share with you some pointers I learnt from Rick Warren.
1. All behaviour is based on a belief
• If you cheat and lie, it’s because you believes that disobeying God (this way) will cause less pain than being honest. It’s a lie, but you believe it.
• Eating the forbidden fruit will not bring them blessings – it’s a lie - but Adam and Eve believed it.
• When somebody comes to you and says, “I’m leaving my husband, and I’m going to marry this other man because I believe God wants me to be happy.”
• They just told you the belief behind their behaviour. It’s wrong, but they believe it.
2. Behind every sin is a lie I believe
• It starts with the mind. At the moment you sin, you’re doing what you think is the best thing for you. You say, “I know God says to do that, but I’m going to do this.”
• What are you doing? You believe a lie. Behind every sin is a lie.
Start looking for the lies behind why people act the way they do. Or why you act the way you do today. Why?
• Because you believe that it is good for you, even if it is an outright sin to God.
• When you live in sin, you’re living in deception and believing a lie.
Confront these lies. When you start dealing with these, you’ll start seeing change.
3. Change always starts in the mind
So you got to start with the mind.
• You’ve got to start with the belief – the lie – behind the behaviour.
• Romans 12:2 “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act.
• If you want to change the way you act, you must determine the way you think.
• You can’t start with the action. You’ve got to start with the thought.
THOUGHTS AFFECT OUR EMOTIONS
Dr Alice R. Cullinan did a study in the University where she teaches, regarding the influence of our thought on our emotions and actions.
We do not just get hit by a certain feeling out of the blue. We have thought something first that causes our feelings to be activated. In class just today, I ask them to try something to illustrate this truth. I asked them how they would feel if a person pulled their car onto the path they were travelling, and almost causing a collision.
They answered that they would feel angry, frustrated, unhappy, etc.
I then asked them to look into the car to see that the driver is a woman who is driving with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the forehead of a child who is bleeding profusely. She is obviously on her way to the hospital to get help for her child.
I asked them if their feelings changed any. Of course, they said they did. They now felt concerned, sympathetic, and wanted to do something to help clear the way for her to get to the hospital.
It is amazing how our feelings can change so rapidly! And the actions that followed.
If you want to see a change in your life – change your beliefs first
• Jesus said, “You will know the truth and it will set you free.” (John 8:32)
Expose the lies that we are basing our behaviour upon.
• If we are feeling afraid, we need to ask ourselves what we are thinking.
If we are sad, we need to ask ourselves what’s in our mind that caused it.
• We need to change our thoughts about the situation by looking at the Word – reading, listening, studying, meditation, and memorising it.