I don’t advocate the philosophy of this world that says, “If you can conceive it and believe it, you’ll receive it.” It’s much more than just claiming everything you see. However, the Lord certainly wants us to use all the mental powers He gave us by contemplating His Word in our minds daily. Our minds are an amazing bit of God’s creative genius. They process thought, but they also visualize and imagine. I have known many people who have said that they got in trouble for their imagination when they were a child. I think that teachers and parents do our children a disservice when they squelch the imagination of our children and then expect them to pick it up again when they become mature. Daydreams and fantasies that are driven by lust and greed are harmful; but there’s tremendous power in the sanctified use of imagination and visualization.
Look what Scripture says about practicing spiritual contemplation:
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The simplest way to put this into practice is by printing God’s Word on the walls of our mind. As you begin to memorize, you begin to picture the scenes and hear the words as if they are spoken directly to you. It is the most powerful tool in changing our habits of thought and feeding our mental health.
Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, wrote a book entitled, “Learning Optimism.” He suggests that depression is primarily the result of wrong thinking. He writes, Depression . . . is caused by conscious negative thoughts. There is no deep underlying disorder to be rooted out: not unresolved childhood conflicts, not our unconscious anger, and not even our brain chemistry. Emotion comes directly from what we think: Think ‘I am in danger’ and you feel anxiety. Think ‘I am being trespassed against’ and you feel anger. Think ‘Loss’ and you feel sadness. . . . If we change these habits of thought, we will cure depression.”
So why not join me in Scripture memory. Internalize the Words of God and mainstream God’s thoughts into your internal being? I guarantee that what you find yourself dwelling on each and every day determines the state of your mind and heart as you lay your head on your pillow to get much needed rest.
I am looking forward to continuing our series, “Embracing Exile” this Sunday. As we looked at on Sunday, you need to separate yourself from negative thinking, be filled with God’s Word, and watch not only your life be blessed but others as well. Invite someone to come with you and pray for transformation to be contagious as they experience the God of all comfort.
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene