As we prepare to turn the corner on a rapidly aging 2013, by God’s grace we’ve been given the opportunity to reflect on past spiritual growth and areas in which there is still room for improvement (2 Corinthians 13:5). Traditionally, we muster up resolve to institute a change in our behavior, desiring to please God and become more like His Son.
But who we are is a manifestation of our thoughts. Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (NKJV). Our thoughts actually create a path in which is set the stage for choices we make. And the accumulation of those choices is, essentially, who we become. To institute true change, we must begin with God’s recommendations regarding our thoughts. Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”(ESV).
But if daily we are bombarded by things that compete with our MIND space, how do we actively pursue those thoughts which will help in bringing about authentic change in our hearts?
This was one way that was tremendously helpful to me:
Colossians 3:1 states, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” Once you have found that area in your life which needs the greatest attention, begin digging into the treasure of Scriptures looking for passages that address it. Proverbs 2:3-5, “Yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God” (ESV). By using word searches or concordances, all centered around this one topic, begin compiling a list of Scripture references. It doesn’t have to be completely exhaustive, but they need to be clear and convicting to you.
Psalms 34:8, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!” (ESV) Once you have gathered together all those references, write or type out the entire verse on index size cards or similar size paper. Look at all of those verses collectively and carefully. Under each of them write an encouraging restatement of it in your words which reflect a positive response. Doing this accomplishes two things when read. It causes me to remember why this verse is so important to me—how much I need it—motivating me in meditation and t reminds me of God’s power to make those changes.
If the topic is worry or fear, one of the verses collected could be Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose”(NKJV).
Under that verse it might be written,
“I can be full of resolution and absolute assurance of God’s working all things together for the ultimate good. That allows me a peaceful and calm heart in His service.”
Or, written under Philippians 4:6-7, “Instead of fretting, I can continually bring God my concerns with thanksgiving for His love and constant care. In doing this I have peace regardless of the outcome of my requests.”
It is easy to read over verses we may have heard hundreds of times in sermons, maybe even memorized, and then do as James 1:24 so aptly puts it: “he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like” (ESV). Restating the verse is an aid in directing positive responses to God’s Word. This is especially helpful when in the midst of discouragement or temptation.
Once you have all your verses and meditations or restatements, what do you do with them? Deuteronomy 6:8-9 gives us a good place to start. They need to be at your hands, in front of your eyes, on the doorpost and the gates—when you are coming and going. So where? The refrigerator, microwave door, back door, front door, mirror, in front of the kitchen sink. Put one up as wallpaper on your phone or computer or just tape it up to the corner of your monitor. I made a set of cards on a ring I could carry with me with the verse on one side and the restatement on the back of the card. They need to be easily accessible and easy to see. This is not about putting up the same verse for memorization (although that is a good practice). This is about putting up these verses in several places for the purpose of mental SATURATION. The goal is to see these verses, to consciously inundate our thoughts with them so that our hearts might be affected.
In Genesis 1-2, God spoke the world into existence. It is fascinating that He spoke them. He didn’t have do. He could have made everything with the snap of His finger, proverbially speaking. Our thoughts direct our speech and our speaking confirms our thoughts (Matthew 15:18). The more we engage our senses with the Word, the more impact it has. It doesn’t take long to say a verse, but with enough exposure it begins to be what we think about on a daily basis and when those surprising, shocking moments come in tests or temptations.
God’s Words are powerful and unstoppable, living and active (Hebrews 4:12). They are not trivial magic words. When we allow His Words and the truth about those Words to fill our thoughts, it directs us to look to Him, draws us closer to Him and promotes strength and growth to our souls so at the close of 2014 we can share a greater resemblance to our Savior.
By Cheri Deaver
Cheri Deaver is Weylan’s wife, proud mom to Orrin, Lacey, Lexie and Ethan Deaver and new mother-in-law to Aubrie Deaver. Her husband preaches for the Sherman Drive Church of Christ in Denton, Texas. To God be the all the glory for He is very good!