I heard a story recently about a man who was bound to a wheelchair but had a very different mindset about being bound than most would think. When asked by others, “What’s it like to be bound to that wheelchair”, he would respond by saying, “Oh, this wheelchair doesn’t bind me, it frees me! Without it I couldn’t go anywhere. Without it I truly would be bound to my bed at home.” Wow, what an inspiration! This man wheeled around everyday, enjoying life to the fullest, always with a smile, always an inspiration to those around him. He was happier than many people who still have their legs and a clean bill of health, and his happiness was absolutely tied to his mindset and his thinking. His thinking empowered him. Instead of going along with the narrative and thinking like everyone else (most saw him as bound). He chose to live from a positive paradigm and live a life of empowerment rather than letting his circumstances get him down each day. So my question to you today is this: “Is your thinking empowering you or disempowering you? Is your thinking helping you or hurting you? Is your thinking helping you to live life to the fullest, or is it contributing to a life of misery, pain, suffering, & malcontent?” These are serious questions you need to ask yourself, and it’s crucial that you truly look in the mirror with honest eyes and be honest when you answer.
MY OWN PERSONAL TESTIMONY
God is truly amazing because just as the scripture tells us he really does make all things work together for good, for those who love him and are called according to his purpose (Rom.8:28). I’ve had a series of traumatic events occur in my life over the last several years, but without those events I don’t know if I would have started to ask the right questions in my life. I had major issues in my life that had nothing to do with the things that happened “to me”, but after I came through those trials and God used them to help me reevaluate my life as a whole I realized that those events weren’t happening to me but “for me”. This is the gift of life. Even your tests and trials are gifts from God if you train yourself to see His silver lining of redemption in all things. He truly does work all things together for our good!
One of the difficult things I had to address in my own life was my thinking and mindsets. Much of my thinking and many of the mindsets that I came to carry turned out to not be biblical (even though there was a time I was completely convinced that they were), and many of them turned out to be directly contributing to unhealthy behavior and unproductive lifestyle. For instance, when I first entered the ministry full-time I was overflowing with optimism and thrilled at the opportunities that laid before me. But as time went on and I began to see just how ungodly and carnal some people are, who are in the ministry, I began to be jaded. I began to be suspicious of everyone, never really trusting anyone, never really allowing myself to receive someone with no bias or no presumption about who they were or what they were about. This happened slowly over time as I moved through the gauntlet of itinerant spirit-filled ministry, and I was unaware of what was really occurring in my soul.
I told myself for a season that this was my “prophetic discernment” at work, but really, in many cases it was fear which led to false judgment, and in some cases false accusation on my part. It was fear that taught me to suspect alternative motives in people, not my prophetic discernment. Hurt and pain that I had gone through, rejection that I had experienced taught me to receive others not in the spirit of brotherly love, but in the spirit of competition and resentment. Fear led to falsely judging people, which in turn led to false accusation because I found myself giving voice to my “suspicions” (many of which turned out to be lies told to me by the enemy), and that voice became the enemy’s voice of false accusation in my mouth. Since then I’ve repented for my sin. Let’s not sugar-coat it. This is sin. If you constantly judge others falsely and then use that false judgment for conversation material with other people who are just as wounded and suspicious as you are, that is sin. God does not approve of such behavior and we need to have this deception snapped in order to see our own garbage from his perspective. This is the same garbage that we’re finding ways to justify and call holy, but it’s not okay. We need to repent.
God first began to awaken me to what was really happening after I got embarrassed a few times. Nothing is more embarrassing to someone who takes pride in their “prophetic discernment” than to find out how truly wrong they were about another. God engineered a few situations where I got to see, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what I had thought to be gospel truth about another was the opposite of the truth. This began an awakening within me but it did not lead to immediate change. It was only when I really committed earlier this year to working on myself and committing to becoming a healthier person that I really began to turn from this behavior and develop new mindsets which were much healthier, especially when it came to relating with others.
REWIRING FROM THE WISDOM BOOKS OF THE BIBLE
I’ve described before, in a previous article, how I’ve literally felt like the Lord has been rewiring my brain since I committed to studying the wisdom books of the bible (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, etc…) every day this year. I memorize a scripture every week from one of these books, and I read at least one chapter everyday from these books. All the scriptures that talk about judging falsely, about self-righteousness, about wisdom in regards to relating to others really helped me to begin to see the error in my ways. We truly are transformed by the renewing of our minds when we meditate the word of God and apply the things we’re reading!
I began to see very clearly how unhealthy much of my thought processes and ways of thinking were. God began to expose much of the roots of my thinking, the roots of my feelings, which many times went back to hurt, pain, suffering, and things that had happened to me. I finally began to ask the right questions because I was ready to change, and there is a major key. If you’re not ready to change then you’ll never ask the right questions, because deep down inside an unrepentant person loves the story they tell themselves even if it’s a lie. A lie is a comfort to an unrepentant person because it justifies them in their sin and allows them to go on behaving the way they do and feeling righteous about it. What a tragedy for a life, especially the life of a Christian who is supposed to exhibit the nature and character of Christ.
I began to see that I was falsely judging people before I ever knew them, before I ever even talked to them, before I ever asked them one question, and this was wrong. I had to change because the fruit of this thinking and behavior was causing harm to myself and my family. I was becoming more and more isolated. It started to affect my trust and reliance upon God too, because if you can’t trust God in other people then you’ll never be able to trust God in you, in your own body and your own brain.
ISOLATION IS A SIGN OF AN UNHEALTHY PERSON
Here’s one of the scriptures from proverbs that the Lord used to show me the error in my way that had led to isolation:
“Wealth makes many friends, but the poor is separated from his friend.”
Now “wealth” here is meant to encompass the entire meaning of biblical prosperity which is “God’s best for your life”. It is to be prosperous in your soul, your marriage, your family, and yes in your sustenance having more than enough to meet your needs and serve others well. God used this scripture to show me that healthy people, prosperous people make friends, but the poor, the unhealthy, those who are not prospering the way God has intended are separated from their “friend”. Notice how those who prosper have many “friends”, but those who do not prosper only have one “friend”, and even that one friend they’re separated from.
Now this isn’t the meaning that most would draw from this scripture, but it was for me because the word of God is deeply personal like that. God can take any scripture at any time and speak a personal word to you from it, and that is what happened for me when I read this several months ago. The Lord showed me that something had led to me being isolated from others and it wasn’t good, and that’s what led me to begin to pray about it and ask the right questions.
That’s when the Lord’s work of inner healing continued for me where He began to address more “root issues” in my life that had led to much of my thinking, behavior, and lifestyle choices, and that’s when I began to repent of some of these things. Are there any root issues that you need to deal with that have led to unhealthy thinking and behavior? Ask the Lord and I believe He will reveal what needs to be revealed at this time.
This is just one example of disempowering thinking that led to bad behavior in my life that eventually hurt myself and my family. There are many examples and there are many cases of thinking and mindsets that do not give life, but lead to death. There are many examples of thoughts and behaviors that we hold onto, choosing somehow to justify them and make ourselves righteous for holding onto them, but the right questions need to be asked when this is the case. Is this the Lord’s way? Is there another way to look at this from a biblical perspective? What is the fruit of this in my life?
Remember, fruit matters to God. Jesus said you will know them by their fruits (Matt.7:15-20). Many christians are known by the fruit of their bitterness, the fruit of their suspicion, the fruit of their rejection, when we should be known by the fruit of our love. The bible tells us that these three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love (1 Cor.13:13). Jesus said that the world would know that we are his followers because of our love (Jn.13:35), not because of our prophetic suspicion. If your life is not ripe with the fruit of the spirit, it could very well be that a poison of bitterness has burrowed it’s way in and is disguising itself as righteous fruit in the name of justice, in the name of holiness, in the name of prophetic discernment. Humble yourself in the sight of God, understanding that no one is perfect, least of all you, and understand that holding onto principles that you deem to be righteous but do not bear the fruit of Christ is not going to turn out well for you in the end.
Yes, God wants us to hold fast to our confession of faith. Yes, God wants us at times to make the hard choices to follow him, heed his word, walk in purity, and not give into compromise. But at the same time God wants us to live happy, whole, and healthy lives as well. To say otherwise is a sure indication that you are not acquainted enough with the Father heart of God for your life. Make choices of surrender and obedience yes, but also make choices based upon wisdom and upon what is going to be good for you and your family. We don’t have to be unhealthy to be holy in the church. We don’t have to be angry to be prophetic messengers for our time. We don’t have to be suspicious of others always because there are some people out there that are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Not everyone is a wolf, and if you start to see everyone as a wolf then let it be a warning to you that there’s something that God wants and needs to heal within. Let him do his work in your heart as you honestly lay yourself out before him and watch how much your life changes for the good. God has purposed us for a life full of love, full of life, full of adventure, and full of the blessing of the Lord. Choose life today and don’t go another moment cleaving to thoughts and mindsets that disempower you. You won’t regret it! It’ll change your life!
In His Service,