By Joyce Meyer
Everyday Life Articles “how to really change” page 1940, from “The Everyday Life Bible” (AMP); Ephesians.
Ephesians 4:22-24 teaches us about the connection between our thoughts and our actions. Verse 22 says we should strip ourselves of our former natures and discard our old unrenewed selves. Verse 24 continues the thought and tells us to put on the new nature created in God’s image “in true righteousness and holiness”.
So we see that verse 22 basically tells us to stop acting improperly, and verse 24 tells us to begin acting properly. But verse 23 is what I call “the bridge scripture”. It tells us how to get from verse 22 (wrong actions) to verse 24 (right actions): “And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude]”.
It is impossible to get from wrong behaviour to right behaviour without first changing our thoughts. A passive person may want to do the right thing, but he never will do so unless he purposely activates his mind and lines it up with God’s Word and His will.
An example that comes to mind involves a man who once got into the prayer line at one of my seminars. He had a problem with lust. He really loved his wife and did not want their marriage to be destroyed, but his problem needed a solution or he would surely ruin his marriage.
“Joyce”, he said, “I just cannot seem to stay away from other women. Will you pray for my deliverance? I have been prayed for many times, but I never seem to make any progress”.
This is what the Holy Spirit prompted me to tell him, “Yes, I will pray for you, but you must be accountable for what you are allowing to show on the picture screen of your mind. You cannot visualize pornographic pictures in your thinking, or imagine yourself with these other women, if you ever want to enjoy freedom”.
Like this man, others realize why they are not experiencing a breakthrough even though they want to be free: they want to change their behaviour – but not their thinking. If you desire to act differently, you will have to start by thinking differently because your behaviour starts with your thoughts. Wrong thoughts lead to wrong actions, but right thoughts lead to right actions”.
Amplified Bible copyright 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by the Lockman Foundation. The Everyday Life Bible is taken from The Amplified Bible (AMP) and is used by permission of the Lockman Foundation. Additional text copyright 2006 by Joyce Meyer.