Summary: Strengthening our faith and growing spiritually is predicated upon allowing the Scriptures to expand our understanding of God … allowing God to show us there is more to him that we have here-to-fore understood.


JAMES 1:5-7; HEBREWS 11:6

Big Idea: Strengthening our faith and growing spiritually is predicated upon allowing the Scriptures to expand our understanding of God … allowing God to show us there is more to him that we have here-to-fore understood.

JAMES 1:5-7

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he MUST believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;

HEBREWS 11:1-6

1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. 4 By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead. 5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him MUST believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.


I want you to place the fingers of your left and right hands on your temple. What goes on between the 6 inch space between those two hands determines the course and outlook of your life.

Proverbs 23: 7 says, “For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he....” When it comes to spiritual matters this is so very true.

A lesson from Golf

I was playing golf with two of my friends last summer and just could not “break through.” I was close but struggling. I had a lot of bogies that could have been pars. I stood on the 7th green (after a double bogey) and said to Kevin, “I just cannot break through today.”

You know what happened after that? The next two holes were atrocious! I mean epic bad! And the back nine was not much better.

A few days later I was playing a round on my day off (by myself) and I had the same thing happen. Again I said, “I just can’t break through today!” and then, almost immediately I challenged my self-talk and said, “Yes I can. I can do this. I have before and I can do it again” and you know what happened? I did. I slowed down, found my tempo, focused, relaxed and started playing golf at the level I am capable of.

In “spiritual language, we often talk about “the heart” … the inner self. We are fond of saying things like, “When God changes our heart the world around us can change too.” That is true. But that is also true of your mind. When God transforms and renews the mind the world around you will change too.

I see it all the time. People “lock in” to a particular way of thinking and it colors every decision, every perspective, every conclusion, and every behavior.

• “I am unlovable. Nobody will ever love me.”

• “I am simply not smart enough to do that.”

• “My boss hates me … I will never get a promotion.”

• “Everybody is out to get me – the deck is stacked against me.”

• “The world is evil; there is nothing good out there.”

• “People are evil and cannot be trusted.”

More times than naught, the voice we listen to inside our head becomes the voice that dictates the future. Our opinions, predictions, and conclusions can easily become self-fulfilling prophecies.

One man has called it “stinkin’ thinkin’.”

“The Top Ten Types of “Stinkin’ Thinkin’.”

David Burns wrote an article titled “The Top Ten Types of “Stinkin’ Thinkin’.” I’d like to summarize them for you.


1. All-or-nothing thinking – You see things in black-or-white categories. If a situation falls short of perfect, you see it as a total failure.

2. Over-generalization – You see a single negative event, such as a romantic rejection or a career reversal, as a never-ending pattern of defeat by using words such as “always” or “never” when you think about it.

3. Mental Filter – You pick out a single negative detail and dwell on it exclusively, so that your vision of reality becomes darkened, like the drop of ink that discolors a beaker of water.

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