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May 30, 2005

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If I Change My Mind, I Change My Life

By: Dr. Skip Myers
Edgefielddaily.com columnist
web posted May 30, 2005

“Cogito ergo sum.” Sounds impressive doesn’t it. It comes from a philosopher named Rene Descartes and the translation is, “I think, therefore I am.” Philosophy was never my strong point. Too much thinking involved. I gather what Descartes is attempting to tell us is that if we are thinking, we are existing. But I realize we can’t take this to the extreme. Just thinking is not enough for us to become. If this were true, I certainly wouldn’t be on the diet I’m on now. I would simply think thin and become thin. If thought doesn’t effect action, there is no change. (If cheesecake is the enemy, then I guess I have to avoid it after all. So am I saying that there is no connection between philosophy and cheesecake?)

I have spent a great deal of time thinking about thinking. The mind is without a doubt one of the greatest gifts God has given us. It is the beginning point of human change. We cannot change our lives without the mind. The difficulty comes when we attempt to make changes with an “old mind.” An old mind is one that hasn’t been given the capability to think beyond what is humanly possible. Our minds are imprisoned by our limited humanity. To put it simply: a sinful mind makes positive change limited and difficult.

I dare say that most of us have some aspect of our lives we would like to change. We all possess something that causes us problems. An old mind can only move us deeper into frustration when it attempts to be the basis of change. An old mind doesn’t possess wisdom or power beyond itself. So the hope of a changed life is dependent upon the availability of a new mind.

Romans 12:2 provides for us the steps for successful life changes. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Bold added) God tells us that if we want to transform our lives, let Him renew our mind. In other words, a personal relationship with the Lord enables us to think beyond the limits of our human minds.

A renewed mind in one that has the capability of thinking “God thoughts.” (I Corinthians 2:16) This presents the possibility that the three phases of the thought process can be effectively changed. And if we change our thoughts, we can change our lives. The first phase of the thought process is the impulsive thought. You know, those thoughts that shoot across our minds and are the most difficult to control. The next phase is cultivation. We cultivate impulsive thoughts by providing a fertile place for them to “ripen and grow.” Cultivated thoughts will show themselves through formation of attitudes that will eventually manifest themselves in action.

Now, let’s take this process one step further and I think we will be able to see why we do so many of the things we do that are so contrary to the will of God. If impulsive thoughts are cultivated into actions over a long enough period of time, they will become impulsive actions. In other words, we no longer have to cultivate the impulsive thought for it to become action. For example, we don’t have to think about eating fatty foods, they have become an ingrained pattern of behavior. Impulse becomes thoughtless action. The impulsive hurtful thought is now thoughtlessly verbalized.

In order to change our lives, we have to allow the Lord to change the way we think. Take a moment and ask the Lord to reveal to you those impulsive thoughts that have become thoughtless actions. Know that He wants to transform our lives by renewing our minds. Take the negative impulsive thoughts and ask for the wisdom and strength to cultivate the opposite of that thought. These negative impulsive thoughts are now bringing about a cultivated positive thought which can lead to positive actions. It’s a neat turnaround once we get the Lord involved in the process.

It’s a matter of identifying those impulsive thoughts that we have cultivated and changing what we cultivate to action. We will find ourselves reaching for an apple instead of half a pie; we can defeat habits; we can clean up our mouths. Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Take some time to allow Christ to help you change your mind and you will discover the joy of living a changed life.

Dr. Myers is Pastor of Smiths Station Baptist Church, Smiths Station Alabama and a former Youth Minister of Sweetwater Baptist Church (1981-1986)
Contact Dr. Myers: E-mail

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