Thoughts and Attitudes of the Heart

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

Sometimes ideas for these posts just come to me and flow. Other times I struggle to find words. This is one of those times so please forgive me if it isn’t up to standard. I’ve been thinking lately about some lessons that I have been learning lately. It probably won’t surprise any of you when I tell you that most positive changes in my life lately have come from attending re:generation at Stonepoint. Ok, I guess I just told you, so forget about that last sentence ☺.

For several weeks now we’ve been recalling our sins and sin patterns in our lives. After we figured that out (not) we started a time of confession and repentance. I can tell you one thing I learned was that most of my sin comes from my thought life and attitude about things in my life. To be honest, I just thought these two areas were just my “character” because of the way I was brought up and other outside influences. So I thought I would talk about these two areas a little and see what the Lord brings out.

It should surprise none of you that our thought lives rule our actions. I wouldn’t like to have a recording going that would record all my thoughts, even just for one day. The play back would be excruciating! There are a couple of verses that came to mind about the heart. Just to make it clear, in Jewish thinking the heart was not a physical organ. It was the seat of everything a person is which includes the mind, emotions and will.

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and desperately sick, who can understand it.” That’s not good news. But when we become saved (or have a new life in Christ as we say in re:gen), our heart is renewed by the Spirit of God. I think that is why the New Testament can say in 2 Corinthians, “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.” (2 Corinthians 10:5). In Christ, it is possible to take our thoughts captive. By God’s grace our thoughts can become honoring to Him.

One more thought on this, Proverbs 4:23 states, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” I’ve known about this verse for a long time, but only recently has it begun to take root in me. How do we guard our heart? I don’t think there is a formula but I have found that first of all I need to pray for God to make me aware of my thoughts. Secondly, I have found in my life that I had to renew my scripture memorization (Ugh). Recently, I have literally caught myself thinking something that was not God honoring and by repeating a verse over and over, that the thought would actually leave and I would find myself praising God. Finally, I think we need to believe that having the Holy Spirit in us (an amazing thought, by the way), that He will work in us for our benefit and for God’s glory. I think a big part of our problem is that we just don’t believe or trust God to work in our lives. That was certainly true for me.

Attitude. It’s been said that, “attitude is everything.” I don’t think that’s quite true, but attitude is a lot. Some of the main reasons that I came to re:gen was that I was filled with bitterness, anger, lack of love, pride, hateful attitudes and many other things. My attitude had become completely negative and sour. A lot of this came out when I had to sit down and inventory my sins. I can’t understand it, but I thought my negative attitudes were perfectly normal and OK. It was not an easy process to deal with some of my attitudes. First of all, I don’t think we can really change our attitude without prayer and reliance on the Holy Spirit. As I began to pray, it led to confession to God, and sometimes it took going back to a person and asking for forgiveness. Again, I have found that guarding my heart (Prov. 4:23) plays a key role in what kind of attitude I have any given moment.

I’m sorry if this is not really clear. It is still a growing process within me and has a long way to go. But I have begun to learn that it all starts with honest prayer and trusting and obeying God. He can, and will bring victory over areas of our lives that we have fought against in our own power and lost the battle. God bless you!!

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