“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
We must discipline our thoughts and attitudes. Jesus said, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45, emphasis added). It is our heart that needs to be disciplined because our outward actions will simply reflect our inward thoughts and attitudes. The following progression is helpful for me to remember:
1. My thoughts determine my attitudes.
2. My attitudes determine my actions.
3. My actions determine my habits.
4. My habits determine my character.
If I want to change my character, I need to go back beyond my actions to my thoughts. My thoughts will eventually determine my character. My character determines if God is glorified through my life. Maybe that is why Paul wrote, “. . . we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We test every thought to make sure that it is consistent with the character, the teaching, and the message of Jesus. Un-Jesus-like thoughts will always lead to dishonoring God. The best way I know to have the thoughts of Jesus is to deepen my passion for God through the spiritual disciplines. My passion for Him will connect me with His heart. Knowing His heart (thoughts and attitudes) will change my heart.
Holy God, please take every thought captive so that I will be an obedient servant, growing in grace and transformed by Your heart so that every action reflects Your Son.
–Taken from The Path toward Passion (Nine Disciplines that Connect Your Heart to God’s) by Dean Trune.
Praise God that he sweeps away your offenses like the morning mist (Isa. 44:22). Give thanks that God is not unjust and will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you help others (Heb. 6:10). Confess to him those secret things you do which you know are wrong but just haven’t been able to confess (Ps. 44:21). Commit yourself to building others up with encouragement and ridding yourself of bitterness and anger, forgiving others as God in Christ forgives you (Eph. 4:29-32). Ask God to help you be an imitator of him, living a life of love (Eph. 5:1).
Pray that God will give you his strength to “right some wrong” that you have committed against a family member or friend.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend
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