Our thoughts determine our destiny. Seriously. Here’s how it works: The thoughts we habitually think shape our beliefs. Our beliefs influence our behaviors. And our behaviors determine our outcome or destiny.
I reflect on my life experiences and see how it’s proven true both negatively and positively. Take, for example, the summer of 2017 when Gene and I sensed God tell us to purge our belongings and move aboard a sailboat.
Our thoughts: Moving aboard a sailboat is a huge life transition and not to be made on a whim. It sounds a bit crazy, but If God is indeed nudging us, then we’ll move forward because He will help us.
Our beliefs: Because God will help us, we can move forward with confidence. He will protect us in this. He is bigger than any obstacle we might face. He is the way-maker.
Our behavior: We searched for the right boat and looked for a place to moor it. Spoke with our kids to see what their thoughts were about this idea. Crunched numbers to determine financial feasibility. Bathed every step in prayer and thanksgiving.
Our outcome: Found the ideal boat, bought it for a ridiculously low price, and watched as God provided moorage despite there being a seven-year waiting list for liveaboard space in the Vancouver area. Our joy cup overflows.
Let’s flip this and see how it might have looked based on different thoughts.
Our thoughts: Move onto a sailboat? Who does that? Give up our stuff? This is ridiculous, God.
Our beliefs: God is asking us to do something completely unrealistic. He’s harsh. He doesn’t really care about our wants and needs.
Our behavior: Ignore God’s whispers. Go about life as usual. Never take the first step toward obedience.
Our outcome: We’d still be living in our former house, likely feeling dissatisfied and wondering what life might have been like on a sailboat. We might be struggling with a dry spiritual journey.
Here’s a biblical example of the same principle, found in Psalm 106:24-27. It says, “The people refused to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe his promise to care for them. Instead, they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the Lord. Therefore, he solemnly swore that he would kill them in the wilderness, that he would scatter their descendants among the nations, exiling them to distant lands.”
Their thoughts: Move into the Promised Land? Are you kidding? The people there will kill us. Besides, God brought us out here to die. We should have stayed in Egypt where we had lots of good food.
Their beliefs: God doesn’t have our best interest in mind. He can’ be trusted. He doesn’t really care about our wants and needs.
Their behavior: They grumbled in their tents and refused to obey God.
Their outcome: They died without seeing the Promised Land.
How easy it is to fall into negative thinking about our circumstances. When we dwell on those thoughts, we develop inaccurate beliefs. Those beliefs lead us to behaviors that are not-so-good, and bam—we end up in a not-so-good outcome. Thankfully it works in the positive sense, too.
Perhaps you feel frustrated or afraid over this pandemic and its fallout. Maybe you’re anxious about what your new normal might look like. There’s nothing wrong with those emotions, but you want to be aware that the enemy is out there looking for someone to devour. Know that he’ll go for your thoughts first in his attempt to bring you down. He will plant seeds of doubt about God’s intent toward you just as he did with Eve in the garden.
The moment you realize your thoughts are going to an unhealthy place, ask the Holy Spirit to replace them with truth. Fix them on what’s right and good and honorable using Philippians 4:8 as your guide. Make a list of things for which you can be thankful, and praise God for who He is—sovereign, wise, loving, and faithful.
Take control over your thoughts rather than letting them control you. Fix them on the truth, and then walk out that truth for an outcome that will bring blessing rather than regret.
#Overcoming fear #bgbg2 #devotions #ControlYourThoughts