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Leon Fontaine - Steps to Changing Your Thought Life

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Hey, it's so good to have you with me today. We have a really important topic that I want to speak with you about. We've often heard the term about renewing your mind. But so many people don't understand the concept. They think that just because they've learned something new that their mind is renewed and that's not true. I want to tell you a story. It's a little bit gross but it's like a baby and you know, the mom will leave us for the evening and its dad's time to look after them. And his baby messes its diaper and he goes, "Oh, that smells pretty bad". So instead of taking the diaper off, he just gets a diaper and puts it on top of the first one. Shakes a little powder on it just to make it smell good and tapes the second diaper on top of the first one.

Now, all of a sudden, you know, the hours that he's looking after his child the mess breaks through the second diaper and he puts a third diaper on top. He doesn't really want to peel all that stuff off. So he just wants a third diaper on top of the second diaper contains that mess, sprinkle some powder on for the smell. I mean, after all it says on, you know, on the box of diapers good for up to 25 pounds. He probably thinks it means content rather than the baby and that's not gonna work. But that's the way many people tried to renew their minds. They simply add knowledge to their already belief systems which actually can cause harm to a believer. Because the Bible teaches us to put off the old and to put on the new.

So today, I'm gonna dive into something that if you actually can get this right, it will be stunning to your ability to walk in a brand-new level, breakthrough every containment. Whether if you can't get your marriage to that next level, your family, your business. You, maybe you're stuck in the doldrums. Maybe you're unhappy, depressed. I don't know what it is but let's breakthrough. Because this process, this understanding that I'm gonna show you today will radically change your Christian life. And as I unpack it one after the other, you'll understand and you'll see what you haven't done and why it's so easy but so powerful as we go through the Scriptures.

Let's start with Ephesians 4:20. Now here he's talking to Christians and he's talking in the former verses about things we shouldn't be doing with our lives because it's from the old us and now we are born again. The old you is dead the Bible says, that you are dead in Christ and that's gone and now you are a brand-new creation. But the habits that are there from the old nature are still there in your mind even though you are a new person. It's kind of like this. If I bought a company off of a guy. And, you know, this company has got a lot of things going on. I mean, they got sales, manufacturing, etcetera. And it's a huge building and so I'm the new owner. But this company has been going on for 25 years and the sales force is lazy. Everybody in the office comes in late, goes for long lunches, does whatever they want. They don't even produce really excellent stuff in any area. Everyone's just got very sloppy.

Now, when I buy the company, I'm the new owner. There's a new power. There is a new, if you wanna put it spirit on this business. But in order for me to make it totally mine the way I see the business with excellence and productive and happy people and on time and a team that is synergizing. This is how, this is what I see. This is my culture. But now if I'm the new owner, I have to literally begin to retrain people. I've got to be in the move some out and hire some in because the entire organization has the old owner's culture. I'm the new owner and I've got to move this a new. So when you give your life to Christ, you are a brand-new creation. You've got a brand-new owner. His name is Jesus. He's inside of you with power and excellence and everything that you need. It's just that you have a lot of the old habits from the old owner. The old god of your life and Satan's the god of this world.

Now, we need a lot of changes. You no longer are craving the bad habits that are killing your body, your marriage, your mind, your home, your reputation. You now desire to be pure and clean. So here what it says. This will get you set up for these amazing verses. "But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth". Okay, this is power packed. Listen to this, as we go back to this line, just as truth is in Jesus that in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self.

Alright, it does not say to fight with the old self. It does not say there's this war going on with the old self. The Scriptures are saying lay it aside. Now, if I'm wearing a coat right now and it's just too hot in the building. I don't fight with the coat to get it off. I just lay it aside. This term that is use here is saying to you that Jesus has won all victory. That there is a new king that is inside your heart, a new power. You have a new nature. You no longer a nature of fear or a nature of sin. There's something new. And now it says, when it comes to laying aside all the former ways. The habits, the way you did things, the fear, the sin. The desires for things that are destroying you. It says here that you can lay aside the old self which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit and that you be renewed.

Now, stop right there. That if you continue to live out the habits of your old life. You've given your life to Jesus Christ and now you continue kind of stealing from the government and stealing from your company by not going in on time. Which by the way, you're being paid for time you're not working, etcetera, etcetera. And what you're doing is, it says that you are literally setting yourself up. You must lay aside the old self which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit. Now, the lust of deceit, lust means strong desire. So you are being deceived by the enemy to think the things you desire that you need them. Maybe you have a desire for pornography, a desire for cigarettes that are killing you, alcohol, a bad habit, etcetera. That, these strong desires that just kept you under control. Those are deceitful desires. They're gonna kill you.

In fact, the Bible even says that the pleasures of sin are only for a season. So the enemy will keep you deceitfully thinking that pursuing some of the things I've mentioned today in many other areas are just gonna bring joy. It's gonna bring happiness. This gonna really enrich your life but it destroys your life. In fact, a little later on it says in verse 27, that if you don't deal with this it gives Satan an opportunity. What? An opportunity. Now, I do not believe and this is an important distinction. I do not believe that you ever give Satan the right to come in to your life. It doesn't say he has the right to come in. It says he has the opportunity.

It's kind of like me walking, you know, get on my car in a really bad section of town and all these street guys who are liars and thieves and drug addicts are watching me. And so, I don't lock my door and the alarms don't go on and I just walk off. Now, do they have the right to steal from my car? No. They don't have the right. But I've given them the opportunity. In fact, if the police catch them, they're going to jail. If I catch them, there's going to be trouble. But as I walk off in to my meeting and leave my car unlock and they see me. They don't hear the chirp of the alarm's going on, knowing the second they touch that window or even the car. It's gonna alarms are gonna go off and scare them away. I've given them an opportunity.

Never believe that because of sin in your life, never believe that because you've done something wrong. That well, you know what? Satan's just got the right to mess with me, my kids, my family. No, he doesn't have rights. Jesus took away all of his rights. But just because that guy doesn't have the authority to steal from your car doesn't mean he won't take any opportunity he can. So in the renewing of the mind, in the changing of the way you think, in putting on the new you, and putting off all the bad habits that you used to do. If you don't deal with them, he will use them as an opportunity wherever he can.

Now, let's go back into Ephesians and here it says that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind and put on the new self. Now, you are a new creation in your spirit, okay? In your spirit, it is alive. Your spirit is righteous. Your spirit is perfect. There is no sin in your spirit because Jesus is there. Alright, that's the spirit of man. He is there. But yet, it says to put off the old self and put on the new self. Alright, the old self is dead. So you put off the old habits and the old way of thinking. The old beliefs that you have. And then it says put on the new self. If you wanna know what the new self looks like? Read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and here is where Jesus came to the planet so God could show us what we are to be like.

You see the Pharisees, the Scribes, a lot of the religious people in the Old Testament, they just took legalism and law and made it look as if we have to walk around in long gowns and be judgmental and you can't do anything and you gotta follow 630 some laws and we just went the wrong direction. So when Jesus came to the planet, He came to die on the cross and set us free. But He came to show us what a God-Man looks like, acts like, what power He has, what He can do. And so as Jesus walked the planet, He even said in John 16, what I do, shall you do also. In the epistles, it teaches us that as Jesus is, right now which is Lord of all, so are we in this world. And so when we look at Jesus in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, how we related to people, how we forgave people, how we didn't judge people, how, you know, the miracles flowing off of Him. The protections that He walked in, walking on the water. When the crowd tried to kill Him, He just walked right through them. They couldn't touch Him.

This Jesus is our example of what it looks like to be a Christian. And so it says put on the new self. Now, you are new in your spirit. But this new self is talking about the renewing of the mind and the behavior now that you do. You see, if we just change our behavior but don't put on the new self. We allow those desires to stay there. For example, let's say that you have a desire for an evil habit that is destroying you. And so you simply do the external work of changing your habits and your behavior. You stop doing destructive things and you discipline yourself to stop doing them. But inside your desire is so strong that every day you wake up and inside your desires are raging for that bad habit that you now have stopped doing. That's not victory. That's not overcoming. The Bible says we're not just gonna have, the Bible says we're not just gonna conquered bad habits. We're gonna be more than conquerors.

Now, when a conqueror conquers a country that's one thing to be more than a conqueror, means you can live in it at peace. All this new territory that you've won through battle, you can now live in, in peace and joy and prosperity. To be more than a conqueror is to enjoy and be at peace. Shalom. So if you are just changing your behavior and you're controlling your behavior but inside it's just raging to have that. That's wrong. Here it's teaching us, you can put off that old self, even the desires. There's portion, we don't have time to get into it. But there's' portion of God's Word that teaches that when you get God's Word inside of you, you begin to will and do of God's good pleasure. Your will is to do what pleases God, not just forcing yourself even if you don't want to do it.

I was kind of that way growing up. I just kind of believed through a lot of the teachers I'd heard that you, you know, you had to do what God wants and you'll probably hate it. Preachers would come and say, "God's called you to the mission field. You're gonna hate it but do what He calls. That's the best. You'll be safer on the mission field than dying at home". I know a lot of people who go for the mission but they weren't called. I know a lot of people just, "Okay. Well, God if you call me to the South Pole. I guess I'll go. I don't wanna go and I'm not looking forward to it. Or you know, "I guess I should take one for the team and marry a really ugly person God wants me to".

I'm being funny now. But it's amazing how many people don't realize that when you put off the old self and put on the new self. You begin to desire righteousness. You begin to desire good things, healthy things. You no longer are craving the bad habits that are killing your body, your marriage, your mind, your home, your reputation. You now desire to be pure and clean. That's why when Jesus gifts us His righteousness, Romans 5:17 and on says that we are righteous, because it's given to us as a gift. But that power of Him within us begins, we begin to desire. So this is crucial. Put off the old. Put on the new. It's talking about putting on new beliefs, new teaching.

So when you go to Romans 12:1 and 2, it says there verse 2, "Do not be conformed to this world, but you be transformed by the renewing of your mind, then you're gonna prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God". So many Christians are struggling with bad habits, barely staying righteous in their own lives. Although that's not where it comes when it comes to Jesus. And they just struggle, struggle, struggle, struggle. Jesus said my yoke is easy and my burden is light. It says in Romans 8, that to be carnally minded is death, to keep your mind in your old habits, the old you, the old way of doing things. But it says to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

I want you to understand. There is an easy way to walk in victory. There's an easy way to beat habits. There's an easy way to win over all the temptation of the enemy. It's put off the old, reckon him dead. The lie of the enemy if you've given your life to Christ. Let's pick on a habit. Let's say you wanna quit smoking. You're a Christian and you realized that lung cancer, emphysema, cardiac arrest, cancer anywhere in your body can be traced back to smoking. And so you're thinking to yourself, "I'm gonna quit as a Christian".

And so you begin to try to quit smoking. And that's not the worse, I'm just using it as an example. And when you can't quit, you begin to doubt that there's the power of God inside of you to do that. And you don't realize that you're looking to your own strength, the might of your hand. That you're trying to use your will power, your self-control. And when you go there, you will be defeated not by the devil, just by your own strong habits that you've developed. But as you begin to see yourself, now this is a crucial point. See yourself as a brand-new creation. When the lie comes to you, you can't change. This is the old you. Something went wrong with you. It works for others. It's not working for you. The enemy is gonna attack you.

Mark 4 says that Satan comes immediately to steal the Word that is sown in your heart. He wants you to feel like, you can't, it's impossible, it's too hard. But you haven't yet learned, just put off the old. Putting off the old means any thinking or beliefs that will have you believing. I guess this is still got me. I guess I really am an addict. I guess I really am cancer-filled. I guess I really am a porn addict. I guess I really am a drug addict. I guess I really am an alcoholic, etcetera.

Now, as you begin to win victory. You will do so by putting off the old self, the way of thinking, the way of doing things. It says and be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Put on the new self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. This new self is in you. So the old self's being put off. The new self is in you. And as you begin to stay in God's Word and renew your mind, those truths drop in to your heart. The Bible says you establish your heart in grace, in God's truth. Then it says, "Therefore, laying aside falsehood". It doesn't say fight with lying.

See, anything that you do as a Christian that is sin. That's not you. It's a falsehood. Everything that you're not supposed to do according to God's Word that is sin. The Bible says that's now falsehood. It's not even a part of the new creation. The new creation doesn't even desire of that. You're not desiring that from your spirit, from the real you. It's just a fleshly desire. It's a habit. It's a way of thinking that you think you have to. But as you begin to get in to God's Word as you're laying aside every falsehood. And it's amazing how you begin to rise up in victory by putting off the old, just like taking off a coat. See it that way, believe that. Even if you have been horribly controlled by some sin or some addiction.

You read this portion of the Scripture over and over, Ephesians 4:20-27. Get this message. We'll send it to you and then listen to this over and over every day 'til you believe beyond a shadow of a doubt. The enemies lied to you. He's gonna make you think he's huge and powerful. But it's the Wizard of Oz lie. You know, Dorothy came in and saw that big mask. But it's a little man behind controlling it. Satan's a loser, a fallen angel. He has no power. But if he makes you believe that he does, he can keep you locked in. Just put off the old like taking off a coat and let the new you put it on.

Where is it coming from? It's coming from within your spirit. It's not coming from heaven. Because greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world. And as you read God's Word and just marinate it. This new you gets put on to your mind. It's already in your spirit. It gets put in to your mind. It gets establish in your heart and it flows out in all of your behaviors and your habits. It's effortless. It's beautiful. It's wonderful. God take these promises, sink them deep in to their hearts and give them amazing victory. In Jesus name. Amen.
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