The older I get and the more life experience I gather, the more I’m fascinated by the power of the thoughts we habitually entertain. In short, they influence our behaviors, and those behaviors determine our destiny or outcome. Let me give you a personal example of what this looks like.
When Sailor-Man and I first sensed God nudge us to move aboard a sailboat, I thought, Seriously? That’s a massive life transition. Then my thoughts split in two directions like a fork in the road. One said, That’s nuts. You’ll regret it. The other said, If this is truly God nudging, then He’s got our backs. The only response is yes. Trust Him to guide and provide. In my heart, I knew to focus my thoughts on the latter.
As Sailor-Man and I began to move forward, I focused my thoughts on truth about who God is. He’s faithful and good to His children. He doesn’t jerk us around or play with our emotions. He promises to give wisdom and to lead us along the right path. He promises to surround us with His unfailing love and to see to it that our needs are met.
The more I filled my mind with truth and meditated on it, the more assured I became that God would not let us make the wrong decision. A sense of confident anticipation overrode fear.
We said yes and watched in awe as God put every detail in place. That was three years ago. His sovereignty over our lives has been so obvious that we’ve never looked back. We’ve never had regrets. We know we’re here by His design, and we’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Imagine the outcome if I’d focused my thoughts on That’s nuts. You’ll regret it. Without a doubt, I would never have had the courage to make this transition. I would have missed a ton of blessings and a heap of joy that comes from obedience.
My heart breaks for the people who lived in Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth.
When Jesus showed up and began teaching in their synagogue, many were amazed at His wisdom and His power to perform miracles. But then they let their thoughts wander into doubt. They tried to explain the inexplicable, and that didn’t go well. “Then they scoffed, ‘He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.’” (Mark 6:2-3)
The people’s thoughts influenced their behavior: “They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.” (Mark 6:3) Their behavior determined their outcome: “And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief.” (Mark 6:5-6)
Sadly, the people in Nazareth missed a ton of blessings and a heap of joy. It all started when they let their thoughts dwell on doubts rather than the truth about who Jesus was.
You and I are living in difficult times.
So many have suffered loss and disappointment. Let’s be alert to the enemy’s tactics in these days, okay? Satan knows that the battle for our souls begins in our minds. That’s where he’ll plant seeds of doubt about God’s sovereignty, wisdom, goodness, and power. Just like he did with Eve, he’ll use these doubts to cause us to question God’s intent toward us.
We’re faced with a choice.
We can either camp our thoughts on lies or we can secure them on truth. Our choice will influence our behaviors and determine our destiny. We’ll either topple to fear and seek to alleviate it through a means that will only make matters worse, or we’ll turn to the Lord and find His strength to help us stand firm amidst the storm winds.
I don’t want to miss what God has in store, and I’m confident you feel the same way.
We’d do well to ask the Holy Spirit to show us whether we’re believing lies about who God is, and if so, to help us identify them. Then let’s invite Him to help us understand what the truth is and to walk it out.
Read the story about how God led us to live on a sailboat.
I’ll be teaching an eight-week women’s Bible study via Zoom beginning Tuesday, March 9 at 4 PM (Pacific Time). The topic: “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life”. Click here for details and registration.
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