A week or so ago I began a series of postings on things that could help us to overcome tough sins. We started with bad company corrupting good morals (or intentions). Hopefully you’ve worked on changing the people and kind of entertainment that you “associate with” that influence us in a worldly way.
Another thing that is helpful is learning to “change the channel” of our hearts and minds. Jesus warned us, )Matthew 15:19) “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders.” In other words, what we think about and dwell on will come out in our words and deeds. So, if we want to stop certain kinds of words or deeds, we need to think different things—or put another way, “change the channel”.
A lot of people have never even considered that they could change what they’re thinking, but it is not only possible, it is required of the Christian. Romans 12:2 says “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” So, how do we do this?
First, we should go back to the “bad company corrupts good morals” principle, because changing the channel is going to be hard, if there are others who want to keep our minds on the wrong channel. But secondly, if we want to be less critical of others, we need to stop dwelling on the negative, what’s not quite “right”, and what happens to irritate me. If we want to be more active in the Lord’s service; we need to stop telling ourselves that others will do it, that we’re not talented enough, that there are other more fun or interesting or less challenging things that we could do instead. If we want to be better at attendance, we need to stop thinking that we need our rest, that church isn’t all that important, or that church is a lesser priority than other things. Hopefully you get the drift of what we must stop.
But how do we do that? The more we think about not thinking about “X”, the more we think about it! It just becomes a vicious circle, right?
Successfully changing the channel must include more than stopping certain kinds of thinking, it also includes starting the right thing to think about. Psychologists sometimes put it this way, “To stop thinking about a brown cow, start thinking about a purple horse.” To use the illustrations above, if we want to be less critical of others, we need to start thinking about all the positive we can about others. Start small and you’ll find increasing things to think positive about others. If we want to be more active in the Lord’s service, start thinking about all the things that need to be done around the church and for the Lord’s kingdom. Rely in faith on the Lord to stretch you beyond what you think you can do; and be humble enough to ask for help, when you need it. If you want to be a better attender, think of how important attendance is to your soul, how great the fellowship is, how important the Lord says it is, what you can do to encourage others, and how pleased the Lord will be with your presence and worship.
Changing the channel of our minds will take some time and planning and effort until new patterns and habits are formed, but it is one of the most effective way to overcome tough sins. Change how you think, renew your mind, and you’ll change your world!!
Persevere on those good resolutions, brother and sister! With the Lord’s wisdom, with the Spirit’s strength, with the church’s encouragement, and with your focused will to follow Jesus, you will overcome!