Summary: This message deals with the danger of negative thinking and how to retrain our minds towards more a more faith filled mindset. 2 Cor. 10:3-5 is the text.
Title: Thoughts for the New Year
Text: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
CHCC: December 30, 2012
This is the last time we’ll be together in 2012. It’s the time when we think: "out with the old and in with the new". There’s a scripture that talks about that: Ephesians 4:22-23, "With regard to your old way of life, put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; and be made new in the attitude of your minds."
This sounds like a good resolution for 2013: be made new in the attitude of our minds. That’s something all of us can do. No matter what stage of life we’re in – children, young adults, middle age, seasoned citizens --- one thing that we all have in common is that we all have brains! Some may be still developing and others may be … fading away … but we all have minds that can be made new in 2013.
The Bible has a lot to say about how we think. Our thoughts affect everything in life: our homes, our relationships, our health, our jobs, our emotions. Maybe you’ve heard this little axiom:
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; it becomes your destiny. (Author Unknown)
That’s absolutely true. We’ve all heard “you are what you eat.” But the truth is, “you are what you think.” Proverbs 23:7 tells us: "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."
1. You are what you think
I have a challenge for us in 2013: Proclaim a fast from negative thinking. Let me define what I mean by “negative thinking.” (You could call it stinkin’thinkin’.) Stinkin’ thinkin’ is any thought that does not include God --- any thought that does not include FAITH.
Worry is thinking about the future without faith. Bitterness is thinking about the past without faith. All negative thoughts are thoughts that leave God out, whether it’s lustful thoughts or thoughts of revenge or rebellious thoughts or anxious thoughts.
What thought patterns do you need to change in 2013? These thoughts may be worry over the future. We may be mulling over our own past failures. We may nurture a grudge over what someone else did to us. We may be focusing on some problem or sickness or disappointment. Whatever the negative thought is … it is sinful… because it is a thought that doesn’t come from faith. If we give faithless thoughts a place in our mind, then Satan has claimed territory in our thought life.
Are you worried about the future? I’ve talked to people who are anxious about the future of our economy … and of our country in general. If we’re not careful, these kinds of negative thoughts can take over. Or maybe you’ve been dwelling on the past – on bad things that have happened to you … or on things you regret. I came across this article called:
Leaving the City of Regrets by Larry Harp (revised by Susan Skidmore)
I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year, and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly. This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come of it. I'm talking about my annual "Guilt Trip."
I got tickets to fly there on Wish I Had airlines. It was an extremely short flight. I chose to carry all my baggage. It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been. When I finally checked into the Last Resort Hotel, I noticed that they would be hosting the year's most important event, the Annual Pity Party. Many of the towns leading citizens were in attendance.
First, came the Done family, you know, Should Have, Would Have and Could Have. Of course the Opportunities would be present, Missed and Lost. The biggest family would be the Yesterday's. There are too many of them to count, but each one had a sad story to share.
But as I thought about all of the stories of regret, it occurred to me that the "pity party" could be canceled … by ME! I did not have to be there.
One thing kept going through my mind, I CAN'T CHANGE YESTERDAY, BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY. Knowing this, I left the City of Regret immediately and left no forwarding address.
Instead, I took a trip to a place called, Starting Again. By the way, you don't have to carry around heavy baggage, because the load is lifted from your shoulders upon arrival. God will help you find the way to this wonderful city. Here’s a hint --- it's in your own heart.