40 Days of Joy - Our Thinking Determines Who We Become - Day 36

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice."  Philippians 4:4

Begin your time with God in prayer:

Praise God for who He is. Confess any sin so that nothing blocks your fellowship with Him. Ask God to use the Spirit and the Word to transform your life. Yield your will to God’s will.

Let God’s Word penetrate your head and your heart: 

Most of us struggle with thoughts, emotions and behaviors that aren’t godly and which rob us of our joy. We try hard to change; but it seems impossible. We don’t gain victory because we don’t address the root cause of our ungodly behavior. Our ungodly thinking leads to our unhealthy emotions and sinful behavior.

Acts 14:2But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren.

What caused the Gentiles to be embittered?

Mark 7:21-23 - 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23 All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”

Where do ungodly thoughts and actions come from according to Mark 7:21-22?

What happens to the evil thoughts (vs. 23)?

Our thinking determines how we feel and act. Therefore, if we want lasting change and joy, we need to change how we think. This is not easy. Our wrong thinking is often rooted in our own self-centeredness, or in what we constantly allow into our minds. If we watch comedians who are crude, it’s easy to think crude thoughts and then say crude things. If we think that we can’t help a certain behavior, we give ourselves permission to continue with that wrong behavior. If all we think about is our failures, we will be discouraged. The good news is that God’s Spirit can transform our minds with the Word of God, producing joyful thoughts and godliness.

Apply God’s Word to your life:

  • Think of a situation in the last week when you weren’t joyful. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the wrong thinking that robbed you of joy.
  • What were you feeling?
  • What thoughts caused those feelings?
  • When you figure it out, confess it as sin. (This is not an easy exercise, so don’t give up.)

Father, thank you for the hope of joy and change. I confess that my thoughts are often not Your thoughts. Search my heart and show me what ungodly thoughts are robbing me of Your joy and leading me to sin. As You reveal them to me, help me to admit them to myself, confess them to You and yield them to Your will. Amen.

Related verses to meditate on:

II Corinthians 11:3 - But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

Matthew 16:23 - But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Ephesians 4:18-19 - So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart.

Proverbs 4:23 - For as he thinks within himself, so he is.

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