When things aren’t going as well as you would like, you want something to change, but usually it is someone else you want to change _ the neighbors, the boss, the spouse, the kids, the government, the church leaders on and on it goes. If you think about it even though you may be able to have some influence on people the truth is there isn’t a whole lot you can do to make others change.
On the other hand, there is a whole lot you can do to change yourself. Everyone I know wants something to change. Maybe it’s a financial situation _ a bad habit you want to give up _ maybe your marriage needs to improve _ maybe it’s losing weight and getting in shape. For some it’s a desire to be closer to God than ever before _ for others it’s overcoming some sin that has a stranglehold on them _ for still others it’s getting involved in a ministry to make an eternal difference in people’s lives. These are typically things that people want to change about themselves.
Here’s the problem: Change isn’t easy. Let me qualify that a little more: Lasting change doesn’t come easily. Oh, it’s easy to implement a change; you can do that on a whim – like the guy who said, “It’s easy to quit smoking. I’ve quit a thousand times.” The trick is to make the change work long-term.
When it comes to change, every thought you think produces one of three responses:
1) It can lead to a negative action. If you think about something long enough, all too often it will result in you saying the wrong thing or doing the wrong thing or shifting the blame.
2) It can lead to inaction. Thinking about certain things in certain ways causes you to procrastinate, to put off doing something in a timely manner.
3) It can lead to a positive action. There are those times when you go through the “thinking” process and then you take productive and beneficial action.
Now remember change starts with a thought. George Bernard Shaw said, “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” James Allen said, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” In Ephesians 4:23 Paul said you can “be made new in the attitude of your minds.” And in Romans 12:2 he said you can “…be transformed by the renewing of your minds.”
When you first start to process about what you’re thinking about, you need to learn to identify each thought and put it in its proper place. So, as the Apostle Paul put it “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8) And then kick the thought into positive _ God-glorifying action.