Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2
Once there was a man walking through his city who came upon a construction site. Curious about what was going on, he asked the first worker laying bricks what he was building. In a bored, slightly irritated voice he said, “I’m building a wall.”
He kept walking and met another bricklayer and asked the same question. “Oh, I’m building a church,” he replied in a relaxed tone. “It will be nice.”
Finally, he met the third bricklayer and asked him what he was building. “I’m building a house of God,” he said with both joy and conviction.
In describing this colloquial parable, Angela Duckworth says the three men see their work in three different modes; the first as a job, the second as a vocation, and the third as a calling. All are fostering different thoughts, and ultimately these thoughts will form very different paths. You see, you become your thoughts.
Every circumstance in your life, whether good or bad, is affected by your thinking. Though it seems overwhelming, this is good news because it gives you the power to transform one part of your life and reap great rewards in nearly every other!
Your thoughts today are your results tomorrow.
Small Changes Lead to New Destinations
When it comes to changing your thinking, it’s helpful to recognize that making minor adjustments can reap great rewards.
When I was growing up, I spent most summers on a fishing boat, and I enjoyed watching the captain as he maneuvered the vessel. There was a shiny wheel up top, but our skipper actually navigated using a three-inch plastic dial on a computer to the left of the helm. This tiny tool could alter our path by a minor yet measurable degree. Though small changes were not immediately noticeable, an hour later, two clicks set our course or took us off of it.
The same is true with our thoughts. Minor changes such as forgiving a past wrong, not blaming authority figures, or being grateful every day can make a gigantic difference in our lives, especially over time.
Your thoughts really are your destination.
Change Your Perspective
One of the most profound changes you can make on the journey to renewed thinking is to adjust your perspective. You can control your attitude and how you react to situations, but assuming a more positive view will not come naturally.
When I was sixteen-years-old, I got my first job as an “expeditor” at a big Mexican restaurant that was owned by a family friend. Though I was happy to have it, one night, a server pushed me to the limit. He brought in some leftover food and dropped the plates down hard on the counter, spilling cheesy rice all over the floor. This meant I had to clean up a big mess that I didn’t make, even though I was just about ready to leave.
Now, my typical reaction would have been to blame and complain, but that moment was a turning point for me. Instead of arguing, I decided to sweep the floor for God. I let it go; I wasn’t doing my work for anyone except Him. Though nothing looked different from the outside, I knew something had changed inside of me.
You Can Help What You Think About
Controlling your thoughts is like strength training for the soul, and it happens through meditation. Though it sounds like a strange Eastern sort of thing, the Bible talks more about meditating on Scripture than it does about memorizing it.
Rightfully understood, meditating begins with memorizing verses that elevate your thinking, and it continues by incorporating those scriptures into your prayer life. In other words, you don’t only read and study the Bible, you dwell on it.
Even though you can’t control every thought that comes to your mind, you can control what you focus on. My wife’s grandfather used to say, “You can’t keep birds from flying over your head, but you can keep them from making a nest in your hair.”
No matter what situation you find yourself in today, change is possible! There is a way out of every difficulty if you choose to cultivate the right thoughts. Like a caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly, when you renew your mind according to the Word of God, you experience metamorphosis — a complete and total transformation.
Growth begins when you acknowledge that you have the power to change your thoughts and begin making minor adjustments to your course. As you choose to shift your perspective on challenging situations and meditate on the truth of God’s Word to feed your spirit, your life goes from ordinary to truly extraordinary.
Your mind is like a garden. When you plant and nurture good ideas and pull out the weeds of blame, jealousy, judgment, self-pity, and pride, your thoughts cultivate good fruit that feeds and blesses those around you!
Do you think about what you think about? If not, I encourage you to practice the discipline of “examine” by asking questions like: What decisions did I make today? How would I have changed them? How will I think differently next time around?
Written for Devotionals Daily by Bobby Schuller, author of Change Your Thoughts, Change Your World.
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Are you being transformed from the inside out by the renewing of your mind in Jesus? Come share your answers to Pastor Schuller’s Reflection questions above on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily