We always have a choice
What we think or how we act upon our thoughts is up to us. We do not have to be a victim to our emotions or our judgments. Rather, what we choose to put our attention to is our way forward…
Emotion is powerful, and sometimes deceptive. When we recognise a pattern in our behaviour, where our emotional reaction to powerful feelings of anger, fear or annoyance tipping into judgementalism — either against ourselves or someone else which brings about chaos, we need to break the cycle. We need to address the emotion; but we do so with consideration and care. It is not by reacting or even responding (which tends to be a more gentle way of taking action than a knee-jerk reaction), but by making a conscious choice to pray, contemplate, meditate, reflect… anything but react to our emotions. For whatever circumstances may come our way, it is our emotional response which is of our own making and of our own choice. Never do we have no choice, never.
How can I say “never”?
I am coming on pretty strongly… How can I say “never respond by feeling”? What about love, passion, enthusiasm? Ah, I am not saying we must avoid all feeling but I am saying it is important we are not driven by our feelings. Feelings are intense and momentary. We can enjoy feeling. But they are often lacking in the fruit of the Spirit — acting in competition to it in fact.
We always have a choice
Choice comes when we allow our Father Yehovah to renew our minds.
This morning I was thinking about my husband who died just four months ago. I was going down a line of “What if we’d made different medical choices?” and I realised quickly the futility of that line of thought.
I am not avoiding reality by doing so, but rather choosing what I allow my mind to dwell on. I can catch myself thinking life-giving thoughts or catch myself thinking hopelessness and despair. I catch and release by conscious choice, not by the power of emotion.
When I dwell on the Lord, and dwell on his presence, my spirit soars and I am able to handle whatever circumstances may come. This is how I got through my husband’s illness and death; I will not abandon a good and proven strategy to be overtaken by negativity, futility and frustration.
I can choose how I spend my day, my life. I can choose joy and peace — and I do. I allow the Lord to draw me to His truths, and as I do, He shows me the pathway of clarity, peace and discovery. Sometimes these discoveries will be exciting and sometimes they will be painful. But when I dwell in His presence, and choose to abide in thoughts of hope and life, those areas which are painful will come in due course, but with the covering of His timing and the presence of His Spirit.
That is choosing life. And it is the Way I encourage us all to take.
Scriptures to dwell upon
Philippians 2:9-11 says, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
When we think about Jesus, our minds are taken to a wide open place full of goodness and away from the narrow view of ourselves.
Jesus brings reality and he brings life, all the more abundantly when we abide in Him and allow our thoughts to reflect the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faith, patience and self control…. “Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Finally, we can make our thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and tear down that death-inciting force which attempts to poison our lives by poisoning our thoughts. In principle, we can take any thought, pinpoint it and literally peg it down, tell it to stay and turn our backs on it, leaving it forever.
Of course the bedrock of all of this comment is Romans 12:1-2. We must be surrendered and allow the LORD to renew our minds if we are to overcome, to grow, and to be the persons GOD has created us to be. How we think leads to how we behave. Let us be filled with the Spirit, with renewed minds of Jesus.
Let us all walk on water
Dwell, abide, be still… These words surround us, draw us toward the presence of GOD. His presence allows us to be above the storm and to walk on water rather than be swamped by it. It is our choice. It is our responsibility. It is our hope.
…. forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, [we] press on… (Philippians 3:13) This is perhaps my favourite scripture, because it allows me to move forward in Him, regardless of what has already gone before.