Coming into the Christian faith from the “world”, I was completely amazed when I began to read the Bible. My mindset, thoughts, behaviors, attitudes, and opinions were in direct contrast to Jesus Christ’s words and actions. I lived an ordinary, every day existence of what I wanted, what I wanted to think, what I wanted to say, and what I wanted to do. I had a limited regard for other’s feelings.
I would not say that I was rude or deliberately went out everyday to mistreat people, but I did have the attitude of getting what I wanted. I would see people I thought would be great friends and manipulate my way into their group. Truthfully, only to find out the “in” people were not so attractive to be around.
I would hold in my feelings with my husband or family until something so small would “set me off”. I had no self control with my emotions dealing with anger, sadness, bitterness, resentment, entitlement, and pride fullness to name a few. I could be nice and cordial, friendly and the perfect host, but would also gossip behind closed doors.
On the outside, I could be the perfect wife, mother, friend, and person, but on the inside I was a mess. All day long, I could think about words spoken by someone. What did they mean by saying those words? Why did they look at me like that? Do you think I was too pushy, nice, or over the top? I was constantly needing approval from others I was liked or doing a good job. My low self-esteem was an addiction, if you will.
Webster’s Dictionary defines addiction as “a strong and harmful need to regularly have something (such as a drug) or do something (such as gamble) or an unusually great interest in something or a need to do or have something” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/addiction) I was literally addicted to my feelings, my thoughts, and what I wanted. I constantly thought about myself.
When I began reading the Bible, Christ’s mind was not on Himself; His mind was to do the will of the Father (John 4:34) The Amplified Bible reads, “Now when the time was almost come for Jesus to be received up [to heaven], He steadfastly and determinedly set His face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51)
To have the mind of Christ, I had to make a choice each and everyday.
I will follow Christ. I read verses and began to memorize them. I prayed to God, “Please, help me think on things above and not below, things seated at the right hand of the Father.” (Colossians 3:2). “Help me be transformed by the renewing of my mind, then I will be able to discern the perfect, pleasing plan of God.” (Romans 12:2) I prayed verses I found in the Bible, which spoke about the mind, attitudes, and behaviors I could have.
In Galatians 5, the Apostle Paul is writing to Christians regarding the Fruits of the Spirit. I read these and realized, the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God’s Holy presence is seen and felt through these behaviors, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Right before these simple, yet life changing nine, Spirit filled attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors, the Apostle lists fifteen worldly behaviors, attitudes, and thoughts…..ready? The Amplified Bible reads, “Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warned you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)
The first time I read these, I was stunned. In one translation, The New International Version, these same verses read, “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” (Galatians 5:19-21) I remember reading these thinking, “I have fits of rage when I do not get my own way.” I have broken phones throwing them across the room or toys when I was so angry, I screamed, launching something in my “fit of rage”. I recognized I also had jealousy, sexual immorality, selfish ambitions, envy and impurity.
How do I let go of these behaviors and thoughts? How can I not be controlled by my anger, jealousy, sexual desires or selfish ambitions?
These changes have come from prayer, repeating Scripture, worship, and belief. I would find verses repeating them over and over throughout the day. When I felt the anger begin to rise in my heart, I would stop, remove myself from my family and pray. I will tell you, sometimes in tears and sometimes in joy.
Each time I felt I had gone through the day with less and less of these kinds of thoughts, I was so thankful to Christ. See, the power of Christ comes through the Holy Spirit. The Book of Hebrews explains it this way, “The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on the those who are ceremonial unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more then, will the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our CONSCIENCE from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Hebrews 9:13-14)
I do not think we could ever get to the place of healing without the help of the Holy Spirit. As Hebrews excellently states, the blood of Christ cleanses our conscience.
For example, once I read these verses in Galatians and Hebrews, I began to pray, “Lord, change my heart, my mind, and my conscience. I do not want to have these fits of rage or selfish desires.” After praying, and not just for two weeks mind you, I made a lifetime choice; a choice to KNOW Christ and the life that I could have through His desires, not my own. Little by little, day by day, I could see changes in me. Not only could I see the changes, but my family as well. Every member of my family, even extended and by marriage, can attest to my anger. Today, my family would be stunned if I yelled or threw something across the room. They have experienced first hand the power of Christ and Scripture through my own testimony.
You can take any stronghold in your life, whether drugs, alcohol, pornography, social media, electronic, gambling, gossiping, envy, jealousy, etc and give it to the Lord. Honestly pray to Him your thoughts and feelings, I mean, He knows them already, He is just waiting for you to confess, pray, and begin the choice to change. Please do not think any Christian is better or has reached the goal of “never dong that again”, because some strongholds are a lifetime prayer. Why would God allow that? So we can admit our humanity and spend a lifetime loving and relying on Him. “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12: 8-9)
I pray you do not think one stronghold is “heavier or harder” to overcome than another. 1 Corinthians 10:13 reads, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” I love God always gives us a way.
Keeping all of these things in mind, God has opened the Bible where He used women whom were in the “world”. God used these women for His purpose, whether for redemption or death. I have written my own experiences with each of these women, transparently and honestly so you may understand how deadly and dangerous the “world” is through spiritual eyes. I pray you begin to understand Christ’s mind, the power in Scripture, and how much God loves you. Repeat this prayer and give your life to Christ!
Let us pray out loud and CONFESS the Word of the Living God; a prayer for repentance, new life in Christ
Thank You for choosing me (Ephesians 1:11). Thank You for Christ’s death on the cross, the blood spilt for me, and my sins. I believe in the power of Scripture for Isaiah 55:11 reads, “so is My Word that goes out from My mouth: it will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
Help me repeat Scripture everyday as I begin this new life, born again for You (John 3:3). I know I can have the mind of Christ, keeping my thoughts and attitudes set on what is above and not below (Colossians 3:2). I know God will guard me and keep those in perfect and constant peace whose mind is stayed on Christ, because I will commit myself to the Lord (Isaiah 26:3).
I know Christ purposely rose everyday to do the Father’s will, help me follow Him, the purpose and plan for me, and to never let me give up hope in change. I desire to cast down strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:5), renew my mind (Romans 12:2), and think on whatever is true, whatever is praiseworthy, honorable, just, pure, lovely, kind, gracious and reverent (Philippians 4:8)
I do not want to be afraid of change or what I may become; I rebuke that spirit of timidity and fear and receive Christ’s love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). I know at one time I was alienated from You and was an enemy in my own mind because of my past behavior, but now I have been reconciled by Christ’s body through death to present myself holy in the Lord’s sight, without blemish and free from accusation if I continue in my faith, established and firm, not moving from the hope held in the Gospel of Christ (Colossians 1:21-23).
I praise You Lord for Your grace and mercy, Your newness and love everyday. Thank You for giving me another day on Earth to grow and to learn. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, amen.