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Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Thoughts Shape Who I Am

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
Who, being in very nature God,
Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself and became obedient to death
– even death on a cross!”

Philippians 2:5-8 NIV

The command to “let this mind be in you that was also in Christ Jesus” is intriguing. This morning I am faced with having to dig deeper and learn more of what this means. I am acutely aware that this kind of understanding will not come to me on the fly. It will not come as I scurry around the house doing my chores, while I am talking on the phone, or while I am running family errands. Deep truth will not come to me while I am on the computer or watching TV. No. This is the type of learning that requires me to be still and set myself apart from my activities. So it is off to the garden I go. Spring is just around the corner and I am anxious to see evidence of spring among the sweet little crocus, sun yellow tulips and deep purple hyacinths. After I enter the garden I hear the faint footsteps of the Master Gardner. As he approaches his steps become louder and my heart beats faster. I am now wild with excitement as I anticipate learning more about the importance of knowing how he thinks. In my mind his voice is clear and soft and he begins to teach.

Paula your attitude should be the same as mine. Yes, even though I am God I did not consider that fact as something to be grasped. Instead, even though I was both human and divine, I set aside my divinity and took on the nature of a servant. You too will need to follow my example and serve others. You must learn to think humble thoughts. You will also need to be obedient to all that God asks of you because I was. Remember, I was obedient not only to death, but to death on a cross! My thoughts always centered around doing the will of my Father and on love for all of humanity. So there my sweet daughter is where you begin. Lay aside your selfish interests, aspire to do the will of your Father in heaven, and be a servant to others. If you really love me, all of these things will begin to flow naturally out of your heart because you will begin to love me more than you love yourself. My Holy Spirit will fill you up and pour you out to others even when you are not aware that it is happening. When this happens I will be glorified.

As I leave the garden I am keenly aware that my mind is whirling! I am beginning to sense that my mind is very much in a state of disorder. I am realizing that most of my thoughts have shaped me into a selfish and self centered person. There are many things that I want; there are circumstances that I want to go away. Many of my thoughts, such as fear and anger are holding me hostage. I am in a state of bondage that I cannot shake. I see thoughts that spring from pride, greed, and control. The stress that I am experiencing in my life is the outward sign that I need to trade in my thoughts for God’s thoughts. My mind needs order, freedom from bondage, and peace. I am realizing that my wants, desires, dreams, and hopes need to be aligned to God’s wants, desires, dreams and hopes for my life.

Matthew 6:33 NIV says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” It is becoming so clear to me. All of these years I have been seeking “things” first and then seeking God. But this verse tells me I clearly have it backwards! I get it! I must seek God first and then he will give me what I need. Not necessarily what I want but what he knows I need. Wow! Now this is a really huge paradigm shift in my thinking.

I must first set my mind on things above. I must then be teachable regarding changes in the way I have been thinking. I must then brace up and prepare to be obedient. I must never forget to be completely honest before God concerning these things and to call upon the Holy Spirit for the grace that I will need in order to change. I know that God wants to reshape my character. I want my character to reflect who he is!


What predominate thoughts have been in you mind this past week?

Do you feel that those thoughts are godly or selfish?

What one thought do you think God would like you to replace with his way of thinking?


Dear Lord,

You have left me a very clear pattern as to how my thoughts should be ordered. I pray that I will start becoming more aware of my thoughts and that I would choose to align my thoughts, desires hopes and dreams to yours. Help me to be less selfish, more loving, and more willing to serve others. Lord I really do believe that if I loved you as I should these things would become more natural because of my love for you. My prayer today is more of you Lord and less of me.

In Your Name I Pray. Amen