A New Pattern of Thought

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 (NIV)

It’s usually very subtle. I’ll think about something I want to do or sense God calling me to, and a feeling of uncertainty comes over me. Doubt whispers You can’t do that. You’re not good enough. Out of the blue, I’ll get that awful, insecure feeling.

Too many times in the past I’ve gone along. Without realizing it, I agreed with my insecurities.

For years, I didn’t tell anyone about my doubts. I figured if they knew the reasons I doubted myself, they’d notice flaws I had worked hard to hide. Honestly, I thought I was the only one who struggled with doubt.

However, I didn’t call it doubt. Maybe you don’t either. Sometimes I called it worryworry that I was going to disappoint someone, worry that I might make a mistake and get criticized for it, worry that I might start something but not be able to finish.

Other times I’d call it fearfear of not measuring up, fear of rejection, fear of looking prideful by thinking I could do something special for God.

What I’ve realized over the years is that these feelings may end up as fear or worry, but their source is self-doubt. Looking back, I see there was a pattern in my thinking that led to the pattern of my doubting.

As a child I thought I wasn’t worth keeping. My insecurity kept me from riding the carousel at an amusement park because I doubted my dad would wait for me. In school, I thought I wasn’t smart enough. I avoided great opportunities because they came with the risk of failure.

The apostle Paul challenges us in Romans 12:2 to not let our minds be conformed by the patterns of this world. This means we need to take our patterns of thought into consideration because they affect what we believe about ourselves and what we believe about God’s view of us and others.

The world’s patterns of thought tell us our worth is measured by our weight or bank account, our job or spouse, by the number of our friends, or if we are able to have children. And if we do have children, the world tells us we’re only good parents if our children behave ‘just so.’

Have any of these thoughts ever convinced you you’re not enough or don’t have what it takes to do all God’s calling you to do?

Just this week, doubt tried to convince me I couldn’t handle my life. I had a sick teenager, a huge deadline to meet, several therapy appointments for my daughter and very concerning health problems with my mom.

Remembering the wisdom in today’s key verse, I paused to consider the pattern of my thoughts and knew they didn’t line up with God’s thoughts. For instance, in Philippians 4:13 God tells me, “… I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (NLT).

I claimed God’s promise by weaving it into my thoughts, knowing I could do it all if I depended on the strength God promises to give. And when I did, God transformed my heart by renewing my mind with His peace and confidence.

It takes time to replace our patterns of thought with God’s thoughts. The ways of the worldfear and worry are powerful forces. But God’s Word trumps them, always. Today, let’s be intentional to lay down self-doubts and replace them with truth, remembering “… he who began a good work in [us] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:16 ESV).

Lord, I want to have a confident heart in Christ and persevere in Your truth so that when I have done Your will, I will receive what You have promised. When doubt tells me I can’t do something, I’ll remember all things are possible to her who believes. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Reflect and Respond:
What motivates you the most to be free from self-doubt?

What would you do differently if you were free from worry and fear, and fully trusted God? Let go of unforgiveness? Volunteer more? Travel? Start a new hobby or look for a new job? Ask the Lord to help you replace self-doubt with His confidence and what your first step of freedom should be.

Power Verse:
Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (NLT)

Consider The Source

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 (NIV)

Do you want to make Jesus smile today? I do.

I want to untangle the thoughts of me and mine and what I have going on and think of someone else. A friend. A neighbor. A stranger.

I want to give her the gift of my words. Words formed because I thought of her. And those thoughts culminated into a compelling reason to show love to her.

But, I’m not talking about someone who is easy to love.

I’m saying I’ll give this gift to someone who has hurt me, judged me, wronged me, or flat out offended me. Yes, that’s the one to whom the gift should go.

To do so, we must dare ourselves to get intentional with this command from Scripture. “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse” (Romans 12:14 NIV). And to pray.

Pray for an authentic heart while seeking to love this person. Not that we welcome that person into our inner circle and do daily life with her. But, offering love to those who hurt us, when most would scorn or ignore them, is beautiful and rare.

Dare to pray for an overwhelming sense of love. Not love for the difficult or hurtful situation that has arisen with this person, but love for the soul God created within them. She is His. He loves her. He treasures her even when He doesn’t approve of her actions.

He treasures us even when He doesn’t approve of our actions.

In the midst of giving what we might perceive as an undeserved gift of love to them, I wonder if our eyes might be opened to a different perspective. If we might see something we desperately need to see. About her. About ourselves. About our Jesus.

When someone says something ugly about me I need to consider the source. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a person receiving an undeserved gift of love from me, considered the source? And saw not me, but Jesus that reigns inside of me.

“When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were ordinary, unschooled men, they were astonished and took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13 NIV).

Oh, let it be so noted with my life … my words … my love for those who love me … and even more, my love for those who don’t. I have been with Jesus. I love like He loves. Because He is the source of all love.

And I do believe He smiles about that.

Dear Lord, You are worthy to be praised! I pray today that You will give me a heart that seeks to bless others, even if they have wronged me. Help me to genuinely forgive them, for You have extended so much grace to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:
Who could you give the gift of love to today?

Come to the Lord in prayer and ask for an overwhelming love of that person’s soul. Be prepared for a perspective change as God shows you more about your own heart in this situation.

Power Verses:
Luke 6:27-31, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (NIV)

Romans 12:14, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse,” (NIV)



God Becomes Visible in the Battle

Weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5Watch the videoThis is hard for me to address: battles that have beat God’s children down. The mother’s heart inside me breaks every time a woman, man, or child has been bused or treated unjustly. I would love to have the power to come to you personally and wipe out your memory of every horrible thing you’ve had to witness or experience in this sinful world.

I am truly sorry for whatever you have been forced to walk through because of someone else’s actions. I know how heavy chains of rejection and abuse can feel–I’ve felt plenty of that myself.

There is a power stronger than those who have hurt you, and that power is from God. He can–and He will–unlock your chains if you will lift your hands to heaven and cry out to Him. Our Lord is knocking at the door of your heart, asking you to let Him set you free. I encourage you today to let Him deal with those who have made you feel like you’re in prison. He is a just God and will not tolerate those who attack and abuse His own.

My prayer for you right now is that, as you watch this video and read the scriptural love letter below, you will find renewed faith to trust your Heavenly Daddy and let him fight for you and deal with those who have hurt you so He can unlock your life and set you free, once and for all!

His Love Letter to You

I believe if your heavenly Father wrote you a personal love letter for today, it would read like this:

Beloved Child,

I know there are those who commit what seems like unforgivable sin. Sometimes such a person has hurt you. But I am a just God, and I will deal with those who have hurt My child. I want to set you free from this deep, dark pain inside your soul, so I am asking you to unlock the prison door that holds your heart hostage from receiving My blessings. If you refuse to forgive, you are not only hurting those who have caused you pain, you are hurting yourself. Now take the key to freedom I offer today and release yourself by releasing the person who caused you pain. It’s time to be free.

Your Father and Redeemer

Treasure of Truth

No one can cancel the call of God on your life. You are His!

by Sheri Rose Shepherd