Change Your Mind, Change Your Life

canstockphoto1232185We are told that we have five senses through which we perceive the world—sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. I’m going to argue that there is a sixth sense, but I don’t mean ESP or anything like that. I’m talking about cognitive sense—thinking.

Einstein derived the theory of special relativity and the famous formula E=mc2 by thinking. He imagined a person flying in space at the speed of light (ala Superman) with his/her arm fully outstretched holding a mirror. Then he asked himself, what would they see in the mirror? Would the image be bigger or smaller than if they were stationary? Would it be distorted in any way? 

Would they see anything at all? Their face is already traveling at the speed of light, effectively making up the distance to the mirror before light could travel between the two.And what if an observer was watching all this from the ground. What would he or she see?

And I just sit around wondering if I’m too old the ever dunk a basketball again. (Yes.)

The point is that Einstein didn’t discover an important theory of physics by observing or experiencing anything with his five senses. The technology didn’t exist which could prove his theory. He just thought it out.

One could say that he sensed the truth with his mind.

The way you think powerfully influences how you live, how you experience the world, how you experience other people. Wrong thinking can lead to frustrating and even destructive living.

If you are convinced that people are selfish and only look out for themselves, then when someone does something nice for you you’ll find yourself thinking, “What does she want?”

If you are convinced that someone is doesn’t like you, an innocent look your way can be perceived as a dismissive glance.

Have you ever find yourself thinking this way? We have all drawn erroneous conclusions based on faulty thinking, and we have all probably found ourselves on the receiving end of some of those erroneous conclusions.

When Jesus told us to love our enemies, he was not just talking about the way we should treat people we fear, he was also challenging our thinking.

If you consider a person an enemy, you will treat them like an enemy, but if you think differently about that person—if you consider that they are a child of God, if you consider that a hurtful person is usually a wounded person and a wounded person is deserving of our compassion, not our scorn, then you wouldn’t want to treat them like an enemy.

Change your thinking, Jesus is saying. Refuse to think of anyone as an enemy, and learning to love them will be easier.

In Romans 12:2 Paul says that the transformation of the Christian is accomplished by the “renewing of your mind.” Change your thinking and you change your life.

But he goes on to say that by changing your thinking, you change your seeing. You begin to see things differently, and you are able to discern where God is at work.

You are able to see the good things that God sees, the good things in your life, in other people, in the world.

You will be able to see the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Elsewhere, Paul tells us to have the same mindset that was also in Jesus Christ, who did not seek power or recognition or “self-actualization” but rather sought to be obedient to God in every way, even if that led him to a cross. Therefore God placed Him at His right hand—gave him power and recognition and an actualized self.

Change your mind, change your life.

It’s not easy to do, but little of value comes easy. Changing your thinking ought to challenge you. We tend to value most those things that we have attained through great effort and sacrifice.

You must decide that you want to change your thinking, make a concerted effort to check your thinking, and even then realize that you can’t do it on your own—and that you don’t need to do it on your own. This is the very kind of thing for which God gave His Holy Spirit to us.

Trust and depend on Him, and He will lead you through it day by day.

Image by © Can Stock Photo Inc. / rolffimages

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