The following is excerpts from a book by Debi Pearl riddled with my thoughts and of course scripture. A good way to start the new month off by considering how you act and react because your reactions can define you for good or hurt your Christian witness.
Be joyful and content in your present circumstances. Life is not always going to go the way you planned, and you can’t always continue to act or react the way you always have. Reactions do define you.
Reactions are not premeditated actions springing from our best motives, carefully thought out, planned, and weighed. They are emotional responses, breaking loose like wild horses when we feel hurt, cheated, used, or misunderstood.
They are often retaliatory, sometimes condemning, confrontational, or adversarial, and eventually vengeful and punishing. Your reactions break you lose from your social inhibitions and manifest who you really are inside and what you really believe at your core level.
We lose our carefully preserved ‘front’ when we are pressed beyond calculated thinking. Then, who we really are is made manifest.
“Where your treasure is your heart will be” (Matthew 6.21) and “out of the abundance of your heart your mouth will speak.” (Matthew 12.34) You can control your future reactions considerably by changing the way you think before you’re pressed into a response.
The way you think every day determines the way you feel, and it will determine how you will react in stressful situations. Researchers have determined that the average person thinks over 40,000 thoughts each day.
The heart is filled with thoughts, and it is out of that reservoir of thoughts that the mouth speaks words of praise or bitterness. Speak life not death.
When the pressure is on, and the dam of reservation breaks loose, you cannot control what you say, because you will speak from the abundance of your heart – from the 40,000 thoughts you had that day, and all the days before.
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil, for out of the abundance of your heart your mouth will speak.” (Luke 6.34)
If you are going to change the way you have been speaking, it’s not a matter of will power; it’s a matter of thought power. “For as you think in your heart so you are.”
You must bring into captivity every thought (I Corinthians 10.5) for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts so be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12.2) and taking those evil thoughts by replacing them with good, positive ones.
Speak words of encouragement.
Choose positive thoughts to dwell on.
Practice the pause to renew your mind with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, then self control will abound. (Galatians 5.22-23) Having a heart of gratitude and thankful lips helps too.
If I were at an airport baggage pick up area waiting for my red suitcase and I saw someone snatch it and run, I would be very upset until I learned that my spouse sent him to get it for me. When my thinking changes, my feelings change.
What can you do to change your thoughts? You are what you think, and God tells you how to think: Think the truth!
This is not the power of positive thinking; this is the power of the truth as God defines it.
Remember, feelings are not our friends and often lie.
Stand on truth!
Keep your relationships in right standing. When you develop an adversarial relationship with others, you do so on the premise that you are right and others are wrong. You are also assuming that you have the duty to resist, confront, and challenge others.
You might think you’re more spiritual, more wiser, more discerning, more sacrificial, etc. All this adds up to the obvious conclusion that you have assumed the role of leadership, teacher, or judge.
This is sinful and odious (detestable) and it displeases God greatly. You will not have peace or joy until your mind is filled with goodwill towards others and you are committed to serving others before self.
Ask yourself: is much of my life a reaction to real or perceived wrongs?
Am I truly as wise as I think?
Now take this simple wisdom test to see how you rate. Do I have enough fear of God to not question His word?
If you can say, “not my will, but Yours be done,” then you can know that your prayer is based on the fear of God. This is the beginning of wisdom.
Ask God to give you the beginning of wisdom by asking Him to teach you to fear Him.
May the joy of the Lord be your strength (Nehemiah 8.10) and know that a merry heart is a real asset in becoming more Godly.
Keep smiling and showing others you have true joy. Remember, wisdom is a gift that God promises to anyone who asks. (James 1.5)
Through wisdom, we can discover that we are made in the image of God and our lives can be a reflection of His joy and love. Ask for wisdom, learn to understand and appreciate others, and be flexible.
Remember, reactions define you; so, change your thinking and your feelings can change too.
We can’t control how others act; only how we react. React Godly by taking those 40,000 thoughts a day captive and dwell on the positive.
Again, if you are going to change the way you have been speaking, it’s not a matter of will power; it’s a matter of thought power. When my thinking changes, my feelings can change too.
Learn to apply and remember the following. I would even suggest memorizing each one or take one and dwell on it till it penetrates your heart completely then move on to the next.
“Life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18.21
“Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you.” I Thessalonians 5.16-18
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4.32
“Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.” Luke 6.29-30
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6.45
Make sure your reactions make it so others can truly see you…
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