Victory in the Thought of Life

By John Paige

Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually. Genesis 6:6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth and it grieved him at his heart.

Do you and I have the power to choose what thoughts and imaginations we will have all the time? Yes we do. But are we going to actually do it and how do we do it and is important for our salvation and the salvation of others.

2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart so [is] he: Eat and drink saith he to thee; but his heart [is] not with thee.

What and who you and I think about and what we imagine – what you let your mind dwell on – what you think about -what you long for – what you lust for – what you covet – what you see and hear. What you read – who you associate with – Especially what you watch on TV – even what you eat -ultimately determines who and what you and I become! By beholding – WE become changed – even if we are not aware it is happening to us! And that is the awful Fact!

Its seems hard to believe now but it was just over 40 years ago in Brisbane when I was being trained for a sales position that we had to study a sales training book called The Success System That Never Fails by W. Clement Stone. When the course was finished we were each handed a copy of that book and the sales manager Trevor White wrote in the cover of mine;

“John remember to control your thoughts because in the end your thoughts will control you.”

You and I know just how true that is. I thank God for what Trevor wrote for it was one of the most valuable lessons of my life. What he wrote is true for all of us. There was a lot of other good advice in that book too. The author was a godly man and in it he counselled us to trust always in a Divine Power. Each chapter had a picture at the beginning that showed a big door and under it the words little hinges that swing big doors.

Even the thoughts must be brought into subjection to the will of God and the feelings under the control of reason and religion. Our imagination was not given us to be allowed to run riot and have its own way without any effort at restraint and discipline. If the thoughts are wrong the feelings will be wrong; and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character. {HP 164.2}

The power of right thought is more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir. . . . We need to place a high value upon the right control of our thoughts for such control prepares the mind and soul to labor harmoniously for the Master. It is necessary for our peace and happiness in this life that our thoughts center in Christ. As a man thinketh so is he. Our improvement in moral purity depends on right thinking and right acting. . . . Evil thoughts destroy the soul. The converting power of God changes the heart refining and purifying the thoughts. Unless a determined effort is made to keep the thoughts centered on Christ grace cannot reveal itself in the life. The mind must engage in the spiritual warfare. Every thought must be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. All the habits must be brought under God’s control. {HP 164.3}

We need a constant sense of the ennobling power of pure thoughts and the damaging influence of evil thoughts. Let us place our thoughts upon holy things. Let them be pure and true for the only security for any soul is right thinking. We are to use every means that God has placed within our reach for the government and cultivation of our thoughts. We are to bring our minds into harmony with His mind. His truth will sanctify us body and soul and spirit and we shall be enabled to rise above temptation. {HP 164.4}

The control of the thoughts in cooperation with the Holy Spirit will give control of the words. This is true wisdom and will ensure quietness of mind contentment and peace. There will be joy in the contemplation of the riches of the grace of God. {HP 164.5}

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinketh in his heart so [is] he……..

Our thoughts and our imaginations the things we watch read listen to and the people we associate with. Even what we think of others. For example refusing to forgive someone are like little hinges that are so powerful they swing big doors. Doors that lead to our future for either eternal life or eternal death.

What we think about, see, read, talk, the kinds of people we associate with, even the food we eat and drink – ultimately determines what and who we are. It determines our character. It determines in the end whether we will see life eternal – or eternal death. Like little hinges that swing big doors. So powerful.

Who is this talking about? It’s talking about me. It’s talking about you. Its talking about our loved ones our families our friends and it’s talking about the people out there in the world and that includes our neighbors friends workmates that God wants us to reach before its all too late. We need and they need to be looking unto Jesus the author and finisher or our salvation.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We need victory don’t we? Victory in our Thought life.

We all want to be victorious in Christ. Because what we think and imagine determines what we say what we write and what we will do.

You know the question of right thinking must have occupied Ellen White’s mind a lot because I started to count the number of references to this subject in the Spirit of Prophecy and it’s over 600 times.

Let us take in some guidance on how to have victory in our thought life.

Destiny is determined by repeated thoughts which become actions which become permanent habits which becomes character. And character is the only thing that humans retain after death no matter the worldly wealth power and fame they have attained. Our destiny is decided by our character. At the point of death our character is forever sealed and either ready awaiting residence in the glory of Heaven and the company of heavenly beings or it is not.

Let me tell you a story from about 1974. The headlines screamed at me -Killed by 30 Years of thought.

30 years previously a little girl of 5 years old sat in a dentist’s surgery as her mother received dental treatment. As she watched, her dear mother suddenly had a seizure and died. What a horror for that little child! And now 30 years later and a grown woman herself she had never had any dental treatment because of the fear that had invaded her mind all those years ago. By now her dental condition had reached a perilous stage and treatment was desperately urgent. The dentist and her doctors promised they would all be with her as her teeth were extracted. There was no need to worry they convinced her. We will be there so nothing will happen to you. Finally she consented and the day came when she sat in the dentist chair as her mother had 30 years earlier. And yes you guessed it! She suddenly took a seizure and died despite all the efforts to save her. What happened to her mother and the fear of the dentist had occupied her mind all those years and she died because by beholding we become changed.

As a man thinketh – so is he.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

About 25 years ago I heard a sermon by a former drug dealer and burglar from Phoenix Arizona. He mentioned a word that has become very important to me. It is a Greek word – Topos . It means simply – an exact place. We get the word topography from it. And he told of a trip he took some years earlier from Jordan into Israel. Things were pretty tense between Israel and Jordan at the time and at the border he saw what we would call a dry creek bed with a bridge that would take his bus into Israel. At the border on each side was barbed wire and guns pointing at each other across the border. Israeli soldiers on the bridge stopped the bus and searched everyone’s luggage even expertly dismantling and reassembling cameras watches and so forth. That bridge represented a topos, an exact place where nobody could pass without a thorough search and identification. Nobody!

That boundary or topos was so necessary to Israel’s security and this is so for countries where there is no sea in between them and the enemy. In Australia we have an enormous sea border that is a protection for us from an invading army apart from planes and missiles these days. But a large army would be very vulnerable trying to invade. Not so in the Middle East. They all need a topos an exact boundary for their protection. And this is what we need to develop in our minds so that the enemy of us all and our bad thought habits cannot pass through. We need to guard carefully what we think about what we look at what we hear who we associate with even what we touch smell and taste if we would be safe and under the control of the Holy Spirit. And it not only has a lot to do with our spiritual life but it includes our health and personal safety and of those around us.

We must erect boundaries for our own safety and exercise strict discipline over our thoughts and imagination develop good habits casting aside the old ones that we know deep down are not right – because in the end – they will control us. In the end we want God to control us because the alternative is just too terrible to even think about. It is left to us to rectify the defects of our own character.

Those who would not fall a prey to Satan’s devices must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading seeing or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts. The mind must not be left to dwell at random upon every subject that the enemy of souls may suggest. The heart must be faithfully sentineled (guarded) or evils without will awaken evils within and the soul will wander in darkness. 1 Peter 1: 16. Gird up the loins of your mind Peter wrote be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; . . . not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is holy so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written Be ye holy; for I am holy. AH 518

How Satan Gains Entrance to the Soul.–All should guard the senses lest Satan gain victory over them; for these are the avenues of the soul. {AH 401.2}

You will have to become a faithful sentinel over your eyes ears and all your senses if you would control your mind and prevent vain and corrupt thoughts from staining your soul. The power of grace alone can accomplish this most desirable work. {AH 401.3}

Satan and his angels are busy creating a paralyzed condition of the senses so that cautions warnings and reproofs shall not be heard; or if heard that they shall not take effect upon the heart and reform the life. {AH 401.4}

My brethren God calls upon you as His followers to walk in the light. You need to be alarmed. Sin is among us and it is not seen to be exceedingly sinful. The senses of many are benumbed by the indulgence of appetite and by familiarity with sin. We need to advance nearer heaven. {AH 401.5}

Satan’s Strategy Is to confuse the senses.–Satan’s work is to lead men to ignore God to so engross and absorb the mind that God will not be in their thoughts. That’s a little hinge that swings a very big door.

The education they have received has been of a character to confuse the mind and eclipse the true light. Satan does not wish the people to have a knowledge of God; and if he can set in operation games and theatrical performances (TV?) that will so confuse the senses of the young that human beings will perish in darkness while light shines all about them he is well pleased. {AH 401.6}

But Satan Cannot Enter the Mind Without Our Consent.– We should present before the people the fact that God has provided that we shall not be tempted above what we are able to bear but that with every temptation He will make a way of escape………If there is any way by which Satan can gain access to the mind he will sow his tares and cause them to grow until they will yield an abundant harvest. In no case can Satan obtain dominion over the thoughts words and actions unless we voluntarily open the door and invite him to enter. Close Every Avenue to the Tempter.–All who name the name of Christ need to watch and pray and guard the avenues of the soul for Satan is at work to corrupt and destroy if the least advantage is given him. {AH 402.3}

Sin means dishonor and distaste to every soul that indulges in it; but it is blinding and deceiving in its nature and it will entice us with flattering presentations. Another little hinge that swings a dangerous big door in our lives.

If we venture on Satan’s ground we have no assurance of protection from his power. So far as in us lies we should close every avenue by which the tempter may find access to us. (Worldly TV is one of the worst and most effective methods satan uses) {AH 402.4}  Who can know in the moment of temptation the terrible consequences which will result from one wrong hasty step! Our only safety is to be shielded by the grace of God every moment and not put out our own spiritual eyesight so that we will call evil good and good evil. Without hesitation or argument we must close and guard the avenues of the soul against evil. {AH 403.1}

Every Christian must stand on guard continually watching every avenue of the soul where Satan might find access. He must pray for divine help and at the same time resolutely resist every inclination to sin. By courage by faith by persevering toil he can conquer. But let him remember that to gain the victory Christ must abide in him and he in Christ. {AH 403.2}

Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.

It’s the little things we do that count so much in Heaven’s eyes. And like little hinges that swing big doors we achieve much by minding the little things first.

Hebrews 12:14.  Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. {FLB 140.1}

No one who claims holiness is really holy. Those who are registered as holy in the books of heaven are not aware of the fact and are the last ones to boast of their own goodness. {FLB 140.2}

(Holiness is) an entire surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is trusting God in trial in darkness as well as in the light; it is walking by faith and not by sight; it is relying on God with unquestioning confidence and resting in His love. {FLB 140.3}

Secrets for Success

1.       Tell Yourself You are Happy

Many years ago I read a book called Psycho-cybernetics by Dr Maxwell Maltz. A sort of layman’s guide to psychiatry. The name was interesting because the first part psycho has to do with the mind. The second part cybernetics comes from a Greek word meaning the helmsman or steersman. One who steers a ship.

The book taught that what we allow through our conscious mind the psycho part into our subconscious mind as has a great bearing on what we will do or say or think. If we allow negative or evil thoughts or images suggestions or sound etc. into our mind the subconscious accepts that we are telling it to direct our conscious mind and indeed our whole body into a negative or destructive path. Conversely if we allow positive and wholesome thoughts etc the opposite will occur. Either negative messengers (endorphins) or positive ones are released. This has a bearing not only in our spiritual lives but also our mental and physical welfare.

Years ago a New Zealand researcher whose name I have forgotten discovered what he called boutons (Fr. Buttons) on the synapses in our nervous system. The nerve pathways (neurons axons and synapses). When we develop a habit over time these tiny boutons – buttons or habits registers if you like are formed. When we allow a habitual pattern to develop the electrical current flashes down the nerve pathways and we do again whatever the habit is. Like driving a car. Hard at first and you need a lot of concentration. But after a while it becomes automatic and you don’t have to think too much about which gear or lever you need to push. It’s become a habit. If we have a bad habit like a habitual sin habit we think or imagine it and it flashes at blinding speed and we find ourselves doing it all over again. Now God is able to change all that for us if we surrender to Him and let Him help us trusting Him and work to change our perhaps long held habits. Remember the longer you have had the habit the more effort and discipline and resistance practice it will take to overcome it.

So what the researcher observed literally was that the dear Lord with our constant disciplined and determined cooperation will build for us a new nerve path around the old one. Oh yes the path through the old habit will still be there and its easier to go that way the wide smooth shorter path to destruction. But with prayer and practice the new path will become stronger than the old sinful one strengthening our mental muscles and we will at last have the victory over our thoughts and imaginations. It won’t just happen naturally though and it will be a kind of warfare that we have to wage for Jesus in overcoming ourselves at last. But Jesus has promised the victory. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Let us remember that our thoughts and imaginations everything we allow our minds to behold like powerful little hinges that swing big doors will for certain determine whether we will be saved or lost! No exceptions!

Now I will let you into two secrets I learned long ago that REALLY WORK. If you feel you can’t do it. Can’t pray, can’t resist the temptation. If pain or tiredness or anxiety or whatever is wearing you down, if you feel you just can’t be enthusiastic or joyful, just pretend you are and you can. Think positive thoughts. Put the negative thoughts and feelings aside. And SMILE! If you don’t feel enthusiastic – ACT AS IF YOU ARE. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it! But the truth is by feeding your subconscious mind with the idea that despite everything you are enthusiastic you ARE joyful and you CAN resist and overcome and you WILL be okay – believe it – convince yourself and your mood will change!

You will become what you are telling yourself. As a man thinketh in his heart? So is he.  Day by day by the grace of God I am getting better and better. Believe it! And especially put aside bitter thoughts because they will turn your system acid and cause arthritis among other things! Forgive and you will be forgiven.

No wonder Jesus said;

Matthew 21:22 And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing ye shall receive.

1Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen ye love; in whom though now ye see [him] not yet believing ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

You see by beholding these positive thoughts despite what is going on around you. YOU become changed. The positive messengers are set loose. You CAN do it. You ARE doing it. You ARE happy. Ignore the negatives. Just by saying to yourself it is going to be okay, I am happy (even when you are not) and convincing yourself your subconscious – your mood WILL change. We have to MAKE it happen! We need a renewed determination – discipline of mind – to make it all happen. The saying that God helps those that help themselves is TRUE! Never say die.

2.       Enthusiasm

The second secret is that by looking into the meaning of that word enthusiasm you will be encouraged.

Because the Greek words that makes up enthusiasm simply means God in you. Wonderful! Greek enthousiasmos – Possessed by God or by a god. From enthous (inspired) en (in) theos (God). And if Jesus is truly in your heart – possessing you – aren’t you happy smiling and enthusiastic? We should be anyway. Be happy in Jesus – always. No matter how bad things might look. Amen? But be careful which god it is you are being possessed by.

God Works No Miracle to Prevent Harvest.–The Lord sends us warning counsel and reproof that we may have opportunity to correct our errors before they become second nature. But if we refuse to be corrected God does not interfere to counteract the tendencies of our own course of action. He works no miracle that the seed sown may not spring up and bear fruit. (Good or bad). {1MCP 35.2}

Decision and the Will

(The) Governing Power in Nature of Man.–The will is the governing power in the nature of man bringing all the other faculties under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination but it is the deciding power which works in the children of men unto obedience to God or unto disobedience.–5T 513 (1889). {2MCP 685.1}

Everything Depends on Its Right Action.–The tempted one needs to understand the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man– the power of decision of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. Desires for goodness and purity are right as far as they go; but if we stop here they avail nothing. Many will go down to ruin while hoping and desiring to overcome their evil propensities. They do not yield the will to God. They do not choose to serve Him.–MH 176 (1905). {2MCP 685.2}

The Spring of All Actions.–Your will is the spring of all your actions. This will that forms so important a factor in the character of man was at the Fall given into the control of Satan; and he has ever since been working in man to will and to do of his own pleasure but to the utter ruin and misery of man. But the infinite sacrifice of God in giving Jesus His beloved Son to become a sacrifice for sin enables Him to say without violating one principle of His government: Yield yourself up to Me; give Me that will; take it from the control of Satan and I will take possession of it; then I can work in you to will and to do of My good pleasure. (REPEAT) When He gives you the mind of Christ your will becomes as His will and your character is transformed to be like Christ’s character.–5T 515 (1889). {2MCP 686.1}

No one who claims holiness is really holy. Those who are registered as holy in the books of heaven are not aware of the fact and are the last ones to boast of their own goodness. {FLB 140.2}

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.

Philippians 4:8 Finally brethren whatsoever things are true whatsoever things [are] honest whatsoever things [are] just whatsoever things [are] pure whatsoever things [are] lovely whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue and if [there be] any praise think on these things.

Amen

Posted on December 2, 2009, in Short Studies and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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