How to Recognize, Change and Manage Thought Patterns

Friday, October 4, 2013

How many of you have your house keys? Keys exist to provide access to something valuable. You have the keys to your house just like you have the keys to your mind. You decide which thought patterns have access to your mind and which patterns stay out. Today's topic is on Godly Thought Patterns. We will learn how to Recognize, Change and Manage which Thought Patterns we allow in our minds. Let's lay some scriptural foundation shall we?
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)

According to Romans 12 this world has a pattern or a way of thinking. I gave access to my thought life to the world when I was a teenager, which resulted in an endless search for perfection. When I was 16 years old I would look in the mirror and not recognize the person staring back at me. One thing was for sure, I did not like her. I never challenged that Thought Pattern so that little seed grew and 10 years later I hated the person I saw in the mirror. I hated her so much, I would tell her. Other parts of my life were also suffering. My husband was affected and so was my health. My dear husband did what he could to make me feel better but it would only last a short time. I recognized I needed a change. I took back the keys of mind and gave them to God. God is a gentleman. He will not invade the house of your mind unless you give Him the Keys. In the book of Revelations He says that He stands at the door and knocks (Rev. 3:20). If you hear my voice and open the door I will come in. Let’s talk about what the Recognition process looks like:

1. Recognition. How will this most likely happen? A friend who loves you and knows you well might alert you of a wrong thought pattern. For example you might say ‘I don’t like myself and there’s nothing good about me.’ A good friend will say, ‘this is not true and this is a very unhealthy way of thinking.’ Most of us hide our unhealthy thoughts so you might Recognize you need a change when you are sitting under Biblical Teaching. For example, you may be offended and when you get to church the teaching is about Forgiveness and loving your enemies. That’s when you have one of those ‘wow, I so was not thinking like this’ moments. God may use other ways to get you to a place of Recognition but remember that only those who realize they need help can be truly helped.  

2. Change. In order to change Wrong Thought Patterns we need to Face the Truth. Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). He came to save us not only from our sins but also from our afflictions. Facing the Truth brings a new revelation of God’s love into our lives. It’s imperative to know God’s perception of us. God loves us and He wants us to know that. If our minds are locked with negative patterns, He can’t get His message across. Change happens when we hand Him the keys to our minds. Change is permanent when we grant Jesus full access to our thought life.

3. Maintenance. The words of Romans 12: 1-2 imply that this mind renewal process is life long. To make it really simple, you keep in touch with God and with what He thinks about you. How do we do that? Bible reading, prayer, meditation, worship, Christian counseling, etc. To be completely honest with you, it's not easy but it’s so worth it. I still hear wrong thought patterns knock on the door of my mind but my tendency now is to find out what God thinks about me and quickly agree with Him. Maintenance in my opinion is a way to affirm the freedom I have in Jesus.
I want to end with a quote that reminds me of why I need to give God access to my life:

“Watch your Thoughts; for they become Words. Watch your Words; for they become Actions. Watch your Actions; for they become Habits. Watch your Habits; for they become your Character. Watch your Character; for it becomes your Destiny.”

Reflect and Respond
• How much value do you place in your thought life?
• What are the negative thoughts in your mind God wants to replace with His love?
• What did you learn today that you can apply in your life?