We are all sinners. This, most of us can fully agree with, but do we understand that being a sinner means we are doing it incorrectly? If we can admit that we are doing it incorrectly then we can understand there is a better way to do it. When we are ready to do it better we can go to the scriptures for ideas on what to do. If we are not ready then we settle for continuing to do it incorrectly and satisfy our minds to be in the wrong. We justify a way of life that separates us from God. We are either increasing toward God or we are increasing toward sin. We can only have one master. We are either a slave to Christ or a slave to sin.
We are to be transformed and renewed, but we tend to seek out living life repeating unhealthy choices over and over. We become stuck in our way of living choosing to do things the way we want instead of surrendering to instruction which can free us.
Each decision we make has rational, justification, reason, understanding, beliefs, and desires influencing, prompting, tempting, and motivating it. Yet how well do we examine these underlying influences? Would God have us examine such things?
2 Corinthians 10:5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
"Demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God." This means we demolish any and all beliefs within us which interfere with us serving God. Such thoughts could be: "I don't feel like it," "I'll do it later/tomorrow," "that's too hard, too much," "no else is doing it," or "why me?"
Thoughts obedient to God might look like these: "I can make time for God." "I can continue with God." "I can improve and increase meditation to help recognize my mental distractions." "I am a child of God." "The spirit is within me." "Wait for the spirit." "Continue to be patient." Endure the struggle longer for the sake of growth and spiritual maturity." "Purify my heart God." "There is something good occurring as I persevere in God's love." "I can read scripture today and reflect on it." "I can surrender my fear, anger, and racing thoughts to God." "I can confess my anger and harmful behaviors." "Submission to God will help me."
The messages we tell ourselves influence us. What does God want us to think, tell ourselves, tell others, believe, and how does he want us to act?
Thought replacement is a strategy used by therapists to retrain irrational thinking, which we all suffer from. Many of us have used this strategy to battle with temptation. A thought comes in which prompts us toward some undesirable act and we may think to ourselves a counter message. For example, the thought "I should call in sick today" could be countered with "I need to get up and go to work today." It is a simple thing we do much of the time. We need to use it more regularly to keep us moving toward increasing in Godly character, principles, and action. Below is a website describing how to use this thought replacement technique.
Deuteronomy 29:4 But to this day the Lord has not given you a mind that understands or eyes that see or ears that hear.
Job 11:12 But the witless can no more become wise than a wild donkey’s colt can be born human.
Too often we rely on a perception run by pride, conformity, or fear which fools us into thinking we should not improve our connection with God. For example: Not today, maybe tomorrow or next year, God doesn't want me, I'm already saved, it's not important, I don't care, or nobody else is doing it. We ignore or dismiss certain facts about our salvation or particular scripture verses to justify our selfishness. Verses which support doing less become our excuse for selfish reliance or continued disobedience. We ignore masses of verses for the few that are too often interpreted as us being saved just the way we are. We strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.
Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
Romans 13:11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
Ephesians 3:4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
Ephesians 5:17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Colossians 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,
Proverbs 15:31 Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise.
Proverbs 19:20 Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
Proverbs 22:17 Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach,
Proverbs 23:19 Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path:
Job 17:4 You have closed their minds to understanding; therefore you will not let them triumph.
Psalm 32:9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.
Isaiah 6:10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
Isaiah 44:18 They know nothing, they understand nothing; their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see, and their minds closed so they cannot understand.
Isaiah 56:11 They are dogs with mighty appetites; they never have enough. They are shepherds who lack understanding; they all turn to their own way, they seek their own gain.
Matthew 13:15 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
John 12:40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them.”
Acts 28:27 For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’
Romans 1:30-32 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Romans 3:10-12 10 As it is written:
“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
Ephesians 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
Hebrews 5:11 [ Warning Against Falling Away ] We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.
James 3:13 [ Two Kinds of Wisdom ] Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
Jude 1:10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them.
Deuteronomy 16:19 Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent.
Proverbs 9:8 Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.
Proverbs 9:12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.
Proverbs 15:12 Mockers resent correction, so they avoid the wise.
Luke 16:31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
2 Thessalonians 2:10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.