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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Change begins with each influencing thought

Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect. (Romans 12:2 ERV)
It is hard not letting the world change us, isn't it? We see so much that influences the way we feel about ourselves, from fashion to weight reducing surgery. We come across all manner of bad news meant to "inform us" and then the occasional story meant to "inspire us". We hear reports of war, threats of power-hungry men seeking notoriety in not so friendly ways, and even stories of terrible choices made by others that leads to astronomical outcomes ranging from suicide by the bullied and mass murders by the angered or insane. The world has a way of changing us in direct proportion to the amount of the world we allow to get inside of our minds, emotions, and hearts. The ability to resist the force tugging at our soul to conform to any outward influence is to ensure the right internal influence remains front and center in our lives.
Every thought must be brought captive - we must not dwell upon the things that influence us externally, but focus on those things that God places in our hearts to act as "steadying" influences in our lives. As with a compass, God's influence beckons us to "true North" - toward the things that bring him honor and those which build us up, not to those things that tear us down. With every desire to move toward the world's influence, there is an equal, but more reliable desire to move closer into God's presence and grace. Even though the compass points North, the traveler still has the ability to choose any "degree" of passage they like, though. We are not going to resist the influence of the world if we get nothing more than the input of the world, though. So, determining course setting and then ensuring we remain consistently on that solid course ensures we will be able to navigate around or through what would otherwise get us all muddled up.
The change we so desperately need is not external - it is internal. The heart is the seat of all manner of both good and bad intent. The way of ensuring the actions are consistently good is to allow God to change the heart - to change the way we think. The way we think is influenced by what we "let into" our lives. If we are letting in the Word on a regular basis, we often will fall back upon what our understanding of God's desires and instructions are for our lives. If we let in worship music, those words will resonate within the times frightening thoughts might want to creep up. What gets inside affects what we become - plain and simple. Guard what you allow in and you will be more ready to resist the wrong influences in your life. Change begins at the core of man - in the heart. The heart and spirit unite as one, in turn becoming less and less influenced by the world's "bad news" and "bad intent" and more and more by the stable forces of grace, love, and peace. Just sayin!