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Change your thoughts, change your world

Jarvis

Living the Christian life daily is challenging and sometimes difficult. We fail so many times because of the world we live in. Then, there is always the thought that tomorrow will be better.

If all these distractions are always there, how do we experience success?

Because it is not our nature to think of a Christian response to difficulties in life, it is better to consume thinking with Christian thought to minimize the opportunity for wrong thoughts to become a part of our living experience. As we apply Christian principles to aspects of everyday life, we increase the probability that Christian thought response will multiply to most other situations.

Therefore, the solution is to deliberately and consciously focus on strategies to promote a Christian response to situations in life. In other words, having a plan, having thought through a strategy to always maintain a Christian response, would yield the most success in Christian living.

“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. …

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:5-14).

In Colossians 3, Paul tells us to put to death things that belong to the earthly nature and what to replace them with, but he does not tell us how to do it. Having a plan to implement Christian values is essential to make a difference in life.

The plan I would suggest is to fill your life with daily focus on the things of God in everything you do. Saturating a life in this way will control all your thoughts and create a propensity for implementing Christian qualities. This will insure there is no room in thought, word or deed for the things of an earthly nature.

Norman Vincent Peale said it best: “Change your thoughts and you will change your world.” Changing your thoughts will affect the words and deeds in daily life and promote the things of God. If a person fills his thoughts with Christian thoughts on a daily basis, he will not have a tendency to spend time thinking of worldly distractions to keep from Christian living.

John Wesley said there are three rules of life: Do no harm, do all the good you can and stay in love with God. Letting these three things fill up your life will leave no room for the earthly nature.

This is a plan: to deliberately study the word of God, attend church, fellowship with other Christians to make Christianity foremost in your thoughts, and consciously focus on implementing the fruit of the spirit daily in your responses, actions and interpersonal relationships.

Make a chart or write concepts on a calendar. Begin with the qualities found in the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Think about them every day, and check one off or put a tally mark when you know you have implemented one. A person will be motivated and encouraged when it is evident that he is actively showing qualities of a Christian life.

William C. Jarvis is a local author. If you are interested in submitting a column (750 words or less), send it to Terri Richardson, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email trich@jg.net. Please include your name, religious organization and a phone number where you can be reached. For more information, call 461-8304.

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