God calls us to change two things in order to establish right relationship with God. We are to change our ways and to change our thinking.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7
When we are out of step with God we will be going our own way, living out of our own habits and the things that seem right to us. An aggressive person will have an aggressive manner in much of what they do. A whining person will have a whining manner most of the time. An arrogant person will have an arrogant air about them, and so on.
God calls us to forsake that ‘way’ of living and way of doing things that we have developed as our life habit.
That particularly means abandoning our ‘way’ of unbelief, including pride in our own thinking, and scorning things we don’t understand. Since walking with God requires faith we must abandon our tendency to only trust our own mind, or believe what suits us, and we must put our trust in the Bible.
We are also instructed to forsake our thoughts. Through life we develop ideas that guide us. This is our worldview or interpretation of the world. These thoughts may have been introduced to us by others or be completely home grown in our head. They give us a picture of the world.
For example, some people believe “everyone is out to get me”. Others might believe, “If I beat others I will be important”, or “Life is about getting all you can get for yourself”, or “No matter what I do I’m never going to catch up with others”, or “I have to prove myself to my parents”. There are a myriad thoughts that control people’s lives and as many ways of looking at the world. Philosophers have come up with weird and wonderful ideas about who we are and why we are here.
We are told to forsake those thoughts. God introduces to us the truth about who we are and Who He is, why we are here, what we are to do, what is a good or bad way of life, and so on. Those truths need to be embraced and to displace the silly ideas you developed over your life.
The Gospel (good news) message wipes away many of the crazy ideas that steer people’s lives. You were created by God but came under the power of sin. You are accountable to God and condemned by your failure. But God loves you beyond your comprehension so He sent Jesus, God’s Son, to become human and die to pay for your sins. The power of sin is now broken and Jesus rose from the dead, proving that death and sin are defeated. When you put faith in Christ God forgives your sins and makes you His child, to enjoy eternity with Him in heaven.
Once we have come to Christ we still have to do housekeeping to remove our old life habits and our wrong mindsets. Continuing to change to be like Christ is called Sanctification, being made holy.
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification” 1Thessalonians 4:3
We are also to have our thinking progressively renewed so we think of things the way God does.
“Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:2
Your life journey, then, involves you discovering wrong habits in your life, ways that take you away from what God has for you or keep you from God’s best. Your journey also involves you discovering wrong thinking and implanting God’s truth, so you see things from God’s perspective and are renewed in your whole life by the changing of your thinking.
Your natural way of life will likely involve much selfishness. That has to give way to care for others. Your natural way most likely involves pride in who you are and what you can do. That has to give way to humility and encouraging others. We are naturally protective of our self and our own things, but that has to change to us loving others as much as we love ourself. We are likely addicted to our own comfort, doing things that suit us or are familiar, but God may well want us to do things we’ve never thought of and would naturally avoid.
Greed, anger, pride, selfishness, immoral thought and deed, self-indulgence, closed-ness, addictions, vengeance, unforgiveness, mystical and occult practices, spite, religion, and rebellion are among things God wants us to abandon, so we can live by faith, in God’s freedom, living for others and God’s Kingdom.
Along with that there are many thought patterns in your mind which God will lovingly want to free you from. You might even fight to keep those thoughts because you have treasured them all your life. But they keep you enslaved and away from God’s best.
You don’t have to fight your own way through life. You don’t have to prove yourself. Human success and collecting things won’t bring true happiness. You don’t need to be afraid or insecure. You don’t have to resent others or rebel against authority. God has blessings for you that are far better than you would ever expect. It’s not up to you to save yourself or prove yourself. You can safely cast all your cares onto God, because He cares for you.
As you receive the Word of God and open to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life, God will progressively lead you to take steps away from the way of life you have lived and from the thoughts you have thought. As you do that God will pardon you and cleanse you, and release more of His wonderful grace into your life.
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts. Let him return to the Lord and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7
My friends, may you be blessed and filled with joy as God releases you from your old Habits and Mindset.