Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 29, 2010

from dominated to directed

All that surrounds us affects us. None of us would like to admit the extent to which external circumstances dominate our internal thought patterns. Whether people or events, something on the outside is always clamoring for your attention. Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius gave us a humorous, yet at the same time, resonant insight centuries ago: I am going to be meeting people today who talk too much—people who are selfish, egotistical, ungrateful. But I won’t be surprised or disturbed for I can’t imagine a world without such people.

Nor should we! Frustrating people and emotional circumstances will always surround us, but should never dominate us. Under our own power, those words are easier said than done.  But in Christ, we can live inside out.

In my personal reading recently, I was reminded of a devotional book written early in the last century. The book was written by James Allen and is entitled, As a Man Thinketh.  The inspiration for the title and the text was taken directly from Proverbs 23:7(a): For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he. It resonated with me, that so much of how we view life is driven by the controlling influences of our mind. We will always be confronted with positive and negative circumstances, but they should never control us internally. However, since everyone has daily battles within, it is important to be clear that God understands our struggle and gives guidance. We have His Spirit to direct us, His Word to teach us, and we have been given freedom to communicate with Him in Christ. Availing ourselves of what God has provided can change our view of life from the inside out, by the transforming of our minds.

So where are your thoughts, and how are they controlling your days and weeks? James Allen said: “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts will take you“. Frankly speaking, most of us have some ingrained habits of the mind that cloud our perspective. With the renewing power of the Holy Spirit, change can come. It is imperative that our lives go from being dominated by all that surrounds us to being directed by His Spirit. Any Christ follower can live with the mind of Christ. Whether our weeks (and people) are great or incredibly draining should never be the issue. The real issue should be: is my mind renewed, and are my thoughts in line with God’s perspective.

If you know Christ and are struggling from the outside in, determine to reverse that order today (to living inside out). You may have found that it is easier to be more frustrated than patient, and more overwhelmed than at peace. Having the mind of Christ takes discipline, but the results are worth it. Let this principle guide you … When I allow my life to be controlled by His Spirit, I can handle all that surrounds me, well. For an on-looking world to ever see our faith working, we must think right, because how we think determines how we live.


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