Joyce Meyer - Thinking on Purpose - Part 2
Well, welcome to "Enjoying Everyday Life". I'm sure glad that you joined us today. And I am talking about one of my favorite subjects, the mind. This is actually part two of a message that I started yesterday called "Thinking on purpose". Just wanna do a very short recap. You know, it was a long time before I realized, or learned, that I could think on purpose. I always just thought whatever fell in my head. And sadly, a lot of it wasn't very good things. The Bible teaches us that as we think that's the way we become. Or I say, "Where the mind goes, the man follows". In 1 Peter 5:8 and 9, we're taught that "The devil roams around like a lion, roaring in fierce hunger seeking whom he may devour". But I said, "It doesn't have to be you, and it doesn't have to be me". But we have to know how to stand against him.
The way that he tries to deceive us is by lying to us. He can put thoughts in your head, and then, you have to decide whether you're gonna accept them and meditate on them. Or whether, you're gonna reject them right away. "Guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life". I ended yesterday with Romans 12:2. It talks about renewing our mind. If we want to really experience the good will of God for our life, then we need to renew our mind. We need to learn how to think like God thinks. Now, 2 Corinthians 10:4 and 5, is another couple of scriptures about the mind that are very, very important. Amplified translation: "For the weapons of our warfare", so, we're in a war. "The weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and the destruction of strongholds".
Now, Satan tries to build strongholds in our mind. And a stronghold is an area where the enemy digs in and hides himself. And the way Satan does this is by putting wrong thoughts, in our mind for so long that we begin to really believe them in a very strong way. For example, I was abused by my father, sexually. And so, I always thought, I mean, for years and years, I thought I would always have a second-rate life. But that's not true. The Bible actually tells us the exact opposite that "If any man is in Christ, he's a new creature, old things pass away and all things become brand new". Maybe the enemy's been lying to you and telling you because of some mistakes that you've made that you will never be able to have a good life, that God will never forgive you, or that he's angry with you.
And you see, you don't know any difference, if you don't know the Word of God. It's amazing how we can just believe all kinds of things that aren't true if we don't have the truth to compare them to. So, the war that we're fighting is a spiritual war. It's not a war that you fight with guns and bombs, but it's a spiritual war. And we have weapons. And one of the main weapons that we have is the Word of God. The Bible calls it a two-edged sword, a double-edged sword. And I like to use the analogy that since, it's a double-edged sword. When you use the word with one side, you defeat the enemy, and with the other side, you slice open the blessings of heaven and they begin to fall on you. And another thing that I really believe is a weapon is walking in love. That's really the thing that's the most important for us to learn how to do in the Bible.
Someone asked Jesus what the most important commandment was, and he said, "You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and you shall love your neighbor even as you love yourself". And so, we can defeat the enemy, but not if we're full of hatred, or bitterness, or unforgiveness. And one of the biggest problems we have today is so many people are angry. It would be interesting to know, of all of you that are watching the program today, how many of you are mad at somebody? And we justify our anger by saying, "But you don't know what they did to me? What they did to me was wrong and they haven't even apologized".
Well, when we forgive somebody, we're really not doing it for them. We're doing it for us because staying mad at your enemy is like taking poison and hoping they'll die, but you're the one that ends up being affected by it. And so, we do have weapons. And the Bible says they're "Mighty before God for the overthrow and the destruction of strongholds". I had many strongholds in my mind when I began my relationship with God. And it took a lot of years for all those strongholds to be torn down because you don't learn the Word of God overnight. It takes time and it takes commitment. "[inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God", and listen to this, "And we lead every thought and purpose away captive unto the obedience of Christ (the Messiah)".
So, what's he saying? We need to grow to the point where we recognize, hopefully right away, when a wrong thought is in our mind. And we cast it down, we throw it down, we pitch it down, and we choose, instead, to think on what the Word of God says. We bring our thoughts captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ. James 4:7 tells us that we can defeat the enemy. But it says, "Submit yourself to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee". Your thoughts are one of the most important things that you need to deal with. Mine are the same way. It's the same way for everybody. Because the way we think ends up being what we say, it ends up affecting how we feel. And it also ends up affecting our actions. If you wanna be who God wants you to be and do what he wants you to do and have what he wants you to have, then you have to learn to think like he thinks.
Well, how does God think? All you have to do is learn the Bible and you'll find out how God thinks. He never thinks anything negative. He always believes the best. God probably thinks more highly of you than you think of yourself. You probably think all kinds of bad thoughts about you. And God never thinks bad thoughts about you. He always has hope for you. Always believes that you can change if he works with you. God wants us to believe the best of everybody. But so often, we go to the negative side and we're suspicious. And instead of being suspicious, we need to learn how to trust. Mark 4:23 and 24 says, "If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend. And he said to them, 'be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] that you give [to the truth that you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that will come back to you, and more [besides] will be given to you who hear'".
Now, virtue can be a virtuous behavior, but it can also be power. Jesus healed one person in the Bible, and it says that he felt virtue go out of him. He felt the power go out of him. So, we have power added to our lives when we think good things. Well, I wonder how often we hear the Word of God, and we go away, and we totally forget what we heard, and it doesn't do us one bit of good at all. But this scripture tells us why. It says, "The measure of thought and study that you give". Now, see, I'm sharing what I believe is a good word with you today. And if you watch the whole program, you'll be with me right around 30 minutes. But if you never think about what I'm saying today, if you don't take any notes, if you don't go study yourself, see, if you're smart, you're going to say, "Wow, I never heard some of that stuff before. I'm gonna study the Bible myself and see what it says about the mind".
You know, it's so easy today to study the Bible. Boy, when I first started studying, I mean, it was a big task. You had to look everything up yourself. Now, if you have the internet and you wanna know what the Bible says about the mind, you just go to the search engine and you say, "Show me the scriptures in the Bible about the mind". "Show me scriptures in the Bible about thoughts". And when you do that, just...Bang. It's gonna download a whole list of scriptures, and even print them out for you. Sometimes, I think it's so easy for us today, that maybe, it's not good for us because when I used to have to do all that digging, that's part of what helped get it down on the inside of me. But I use those things today because it really makes it easy to study. So, there's no excuse, really, for you not to spend some time studying the things that you hear in church or the things that you hear on television, especially, if you get a conviction: "This is something I really need".
So, if you have a lot of stinkin' thinkin' in your life, don't just listen to what I have to say today, but let it make you hungry for more of what the Word of God says about the mind. "'be careful what you're hearing. The measure [of thought and study] that you give [to the truth that you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you'". Ephesians 4:22-24, 23 is actually like a bridge scripture that gets you from 22 to 24. So, I'm gonna read verse 22 first, then verse 24, then I'm gonna show you verse 23. Verse 22 says, "[put off the old nature the old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion". That's deception or lies. And verse 24 says, "And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God's image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness". So, verse 22 says, "Put off the old nature," verse 24 says, "Put on the new nature," and we might be saying, "Well, how do I do that? I don't know how to do that".
Well, verse 23 tells us. It says, "And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude]". Well, you know what? I think we could all use an attitude adjustment every single day. You know, I don't know about you, but I have to talk to myself. I have to have little meetings with myself and tell myself, "Now, you're gonna be happy today. You're blessed. You've got a lot to be thankful for. Put a smile on your face and go out of the house and be good to people. Don't be grouchy. Love your family". You don't necessarily just do the right thing accidentally. You have to do it on purpose. Put off the old man, put on the new man by constantly being renewed in your thinking and your attitude. I wonder if there's anybody watching today that you need a new attitude.
You know, they say that your attitude determines your altitude. In other words, if you have a good attitude, you can go very far in life. But if you have a bad attitude, you're not gonna go very far. I always say, "I would rather work with somebody that has a good attitude but maybe isn't quite as skilled as somebody who has high skills but a lousy attitude". People with a good attitude are the ones who get promoted. People with bad attitudes, no matter how smart they are, they don't necessarily get promoted. Colossians 3:1 and 2, in the new international version, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things that are above", or set your mind on things that are above, "Where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things that are above".
Now, that doesn't mean go around all day thinking about heaven, but it means to think the way God would think. And, you know, you can set your mind about things ahead of time. You can set your mind in the morning that no matter what happens that day, you're gonna keep a good attitude. I asked my husband, one time, who absolutely loves to play golf, I mean, he doesn't just like it. He really, really likes it. And it's like his main entertainment. He's played golf as long as we've been married, which is 55 years. And when he's not playing, he likes to go out and just practice and hit golf balls. And I just said to him, one day, I said, "Have you ever thought about if the time ever comes when you can't play golf anymore, how will that affect you"? And he said, "Oh, I've already thought about that and set my mind that I'll have a good life, anyway".
I thought that was so amazing. He has already set his mind that if the time ever comes, when he can't do the thing that he really enjoys doing, that he'll still have a happy life, anyway. Well, we all need to set our mind. You know, I set my mind that if the time ever comes when I can't do what I'm doing, teach the word or be in ministry anymore, for whatever reason, that I'm still Joyce Meyer. God still loves me just as much. He doesn't love me because I preach and work for him. He loves me because I'm his child. Where a lot of people, when they're no longer doing what they once did, they feel like they've lost their identity. I had somebody say to me, recently, they retired from their profession. And they said, "I just don't know who I am anymore. That's who I was". They named their profession they were in, and said, "That's who I was". Well, no, that's not who you are. You may work as a lawyer, but your identity is not lawyer. You're a son or a daughter of God. Maybe, you're a doctor and something happens, and you can't be a doctor anymore.
Well, you're still just as important because you're important to God. A lot of people, when they retire from their job, it's not long before they die because they don't know what else to do with themselves. And so, you need to set your mind ahead of time that you can be happy in all kinds of situations because that is God's will for us. Think on things that minister life to you. And I said yesterday, "One of the things that does minister life to you is to think about what you can do for other people instead of thinking about what they should be doing for you".
Boy, I think I'm gonna say that again. Think about what you can be doing for other people, instead of what they should be doing for you. Tell God what you want and need, and let him work through whoever he wants to, to make it happen. You know, so often, somebody will do something for me that encourages me. My husband is very encouraging, and he compliments me a lot. And, you know, I used to just think that was Dave. But, you know, I've come to realize that's God working through Dave to encourage me. And so, just this morning, I prayed about something, and I said, "God, I'd like you to do this for me, and you work through whoever you want to work through".
See, sometimes, we think, "Well, you're not encouraging me enough" or "You're not doing this for me" or "You're not doing that for me". And what we need to do is put our faith in God for it to happen and let him work through whoever he needs to work through. Maybe, you are married to somebody that's not very encouraging, they don't happen to have that gift of encouragement. But you can pray that God will give you encouragement. He might not give it to you, through your husband, but he can give it to you through your friends. Let's put God in control of our lives instead of other people. Now, selfish, self-centered thinking ministers death to us. The Bible says we have the mind of Christ. I think that's so wonderful.
1 Corinthians 2:16, "For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and the purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct him and give him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and we do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of his heart". You might think, "Well, my thoughts sure don't feel like the mind of Christ". Well, they're in you, they're in your spirit, because when you're born again a seed of everything that God is comes to live on the inside of you. And as you water that seed with the Word of God, you let the Holy Spirit work with you, those things can grow and become large plants that become major things in your life. So, we have the mind of Christ. We have the ability to think like he thinks, but it's not gonna happen if you don't study what the Bible has to say about the mind and thoughts. And I might add, it's something that you need to study on a regular basis.
I've written a book called "The Battlefield of the Mind". And it is about 27 years old and it's still one of our bestselling books. If you haven't read it yet, yes, I recommend it. We're gonna talk to you about another book at the end of the program called "Power thoughts". Get your hands on everything that you can about the mind and read it and study it. And don't think because you go over it once, that's all you need the rest of your life. There are some things that we need to hear on a regular basis. Paul said, "I never get tired of preaching to you the same things over and over again because I'm doing it for your protection". In other words, we need it. You can never hear enough messages on the mouth, the mind, loving other people, being obedient. Certain things we just need to be reminded of on a regular basis.
So, we have the mind of Christ. The Bible talks about the mind of the spirit, and the mind of the flesh. So, you might say we have two minds: the mind of the spirit and the mind of the flesh. Romans 8:5-8, Amplified: "For those who are according to the flesh and are controlled by its unholy desires set their minds on and pursue those things which gratify the flesh, but those who are according to the spirit and are controlled by the desires of the spirit set their minds on and seek those things which gratify the spirit". So, you see, this is plainly telling us that whatever we set our mind on, that's what we're going to go after in life. You're not going to behave in a godly manner if you think about carnal things all the time. You've gotta let God be the center of your life.
"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you". You know, if you're not born again, don't think you're gonna receive Christ and just tack him on to the mess you have in your life. You let him take over every area. Invite him to come into your life and take over every area of your life. Don't keep any rooms closed to him. Let him into every room in your heart. Let him renew your life in every single way. "Now the mind of the flesh", and I love this, "[is sense and reason without the Holy Spirit]".
Well, boy, that can get us in a whole lot of trouble, can't it? Just living by your own reasoning and your own carnal thinking, not letting the Holy Spirit have any part in it. And it's death. "[death that comprises all the miseries arising from sin]". It doesn't mean that you'll fall over dead if you think wrong thoughts, but those wrong thoughts ministered death to you. They make you miserable. They steal your joy. They cause you to act bad with other people. "But the mind of the [holy] spirit", which is in you, "Is life and [soul] peace [both now and forever]". So, you see, here's the way it goes. You're maybe, having a day where you're just thinking bad thoughts, and, you know, let me just encourage you.
You know, sometimes, if you're tired that's a great time for the enemy to try to attack you. He'll come after you when you're tired because your defenses are a little bit down. Or maybe if you're sick, you're gonna be a little bit more inclined to think bad things. "Well, God doesn't love me". Or maybe, you've been waiting a long, long time for your prayers to be answered and you see your friends having their prayers answered, but it seems like nothing is happening to you, and you're tempted to think, "Well, God doesn't hear my prayers". The minute that you catch yourself, and the Holy Spirit will actually remind you, he'll bring it to your memory.
The minute you catch yourself thinking with the mind of the flesh, you say, "No". You cast down that thought, and you think what you know, God would want you to think in that situation. Don't ever let the devil tell you, "God doesn't love you," because he never stops loving you, not for one moment in your life. Jesus died for us while we were still yet in sin. That's how much he loves us. He doesn't wait until we do things right to love us. He loves us before we ever do anything right. And it's his love that leads us to want to do what's right. "[that is] because the mind of the flesh [with its carnal thoughts and purposes] is hostile to God, for it does not submit itself to God's law: indeed, it cannot". I like that.
If you're thinking with the mind of the flesh all the time, there's no way that you can be obedient to God. You cannot because your thoughts are the forerunner to your actions. If you wanna be obedient to God, then you have to think about what the Word of God says, and it gives you the power and you ask the Holy Spirit to help you, and it gives you the power to do the right thing. "So then those who are living the life of the flesh [catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature] cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to him". And it's only because... It's not because God doesn't love you if you think wrong things. But it's not acceptable to God because you can't live the life that he sent Jesus to die for you to have. And he wants you to have the best of everything that he has.