In my devotion this morning, the story of the battle of Moses with the Amalekites was highlighted as a key text in my Bible plan: Squad Goals. In this war, the tide of the war was being controlled by the hands raised by Moses. The Israelites began to lose any time Moses showed signs of tiredness. However, they won anytime he raised his hands. Just to have a fair advantage, he made two of his friends support him, and eventually, the Israelites triumphed over the Amalekites. My attention was also drawn to a time in history when the Israelites were being chased on their way from Egypt, as they made their narrow escape from Pharaoh.
There were at a crossroads! There was no way either ahead of them, and after their encounters with God, they had decided they were not going back into slavery. Then! God showed up! He instructed the Israelites to be still and watch him be God – The Creator of the Heavens, Earth, and everything in it. He went back into his creation and carried out an edit; just for his people by carving away in the Red Sea so his people could cross to get to the Promised Land. All that it took was for Moses to win the battle in his mind before he could be used by God.
In life, we wage war. The Bible states that there is adversity who roams like a waging lion seeking who he will devour, and he would never stop until he achieves his mission. This means he is already fighting from a position of defeat. So as a Christian, bear in mind that it is easier to rise than to fall because we have the advocate; the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit being part of the Trinity is our mark of salvation till the end of our tenure on earth.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an entire discipline in modern psychology has identified the neural pathways that link our habits to our behavior. As Solomon stated in Proverbs, “As a man thinketh, so is he” We are a total of our predominant thoughts, and our lives steer in the direction of our daily thoughts which transform into our behavior and finally our character. This breakthrough in psychology has identified the solution to many problems, which range from addictions to eating disorders and eventually relationship challenges. A key way of treating these challenges is to deal with the root cause of the problem; which stems from our thinking. Paul tells us that our thoughts shape our lives in Philippians 4:8-9. This means it is expected of us to think about things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, and excellent, and put them into practice.
We can transform the train of our thoughts by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us. He is the one responsible for molding and shaping us into his required vessels for his purpose. First of all, we have to disbelieve the lies that the devil has fed our minds with and become rooted in the word of God which is truth. We can then end the vicious cycle of thoughts that are destructive to us and hamper our relationships with others.
The problem with how we attack our problems is that we go after the challenge instead of dealing with its root cause. Like the analogy of a gardener who cuts off a tree branch in an attempt to uproot a tree obstructing access to his house. This method won’t work! Changing a behavior just by removing the behavior is absurd. The neural pathway that leads me to the behavior is the problem. Thus, if you stop a behavior, it will come back.
The only way you can change a behavior is, by removing the lie at the root of the behavior and replacing the neural pathway that leads to the behavior with positive thoughts.
What I have learned from this devotion is the four-pronged principle which helps with removing toxic thoughts patterns and helps us think right.
The first is the Replacement Principle. It is expected of us to know the Bible, listen to Bible teaching, and get God’s word into our hearts so we can wield the sword of truth against the lies of the enemy.
The second is the Rewire Principle. As Christians, we have to be transformed by the constant renewal of our minds, as stated in Philippians. This principle means we have to rewire our brains. God’s word empowers us to break out of old ruts of destruction and latch onto new paths that lead to a prosperous and abundant life. By making constant declarations over your life, you dig new trenches in your life that will speak and inspire you.
The third is the Reframe Principle. Even though we cannot control what happens to us, we can control how we perceive them. We all have cognitive biases that cause us to see things in ways that do not reflect reality. But the power of cognitive reframing changes how we view the past and the future.
The last is the Rejoice Principle. This key principle changes our perspective through constant prayer and praise. Even in the storms of life, we can learn to trust in God who is the pioneer of our faith, and rejoice over troubled waters by staying mindful of his presence. Praying thus changes our brains and gives us peace by deploying angels to work in our stead.
Decide today that you will not think like the rest of the world, and let God transform your thought patterns. Let him strengthen you and empower you to do what He has called you to do. You are more than a conqueror through Christ and He is more than enough. When God changes your thought patterns, he will change your behavior and eventually change your life.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!
Eliezer Bernard Owusu Ntim