When I first had my children, I really felt God impress on me to live my life with Romans 12:1-2 being paramount.
In the Message version it says in Romans 12:1-2 “Place Your Life Before God – So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
These verses and meditating on them, have helped bring a peace and joy to my life and that of my family. We have tried to base our whole thinking around what is of God versus what is of our culture. The NIV writes Romans 12:2 like this: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This led us to home school our children, an uncommon thing in Australia. I realise that home schooling is not for every family, but all too often people do not even ask God what form of schooling their children should have or who should have the major role in educating and indoctrinating their children.
Several principles I have found that have helped me tremendously in renewing my mind are:
- Whatever we focus on, grows.
Thus, if we focus on negative things, they will grow. Thus, be careful what you think about. Also, be aware that what you put into your mind, or feed your mind, will also reap fruit. Deliberately focus on the good. I am constantly amazed by people who continually say negative or depressing things. There is so much good in this world to focus on instead. Thus, be intentional what you look at, read, listen to.
I challenge you to go on a media fast for a week to a fortnight. Soak instead in God’s Word and see if there is any change in your circumstances and your thought life after the media fast.
- Change your thoughts
What we believe in our hearts not only determines our behaviour but it directs our lives. Check out Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he”. Deliberately change your thoughts to positive thoughts.
The key to personal transformation is to change the way you think; to renew your mind (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 John 5:4).
2 Corinthians 10:5 talks about “take captive every thought”. Stop and capture every thought that flitters through your mind that is not of God. Immediately take it captive and get rid of it.
I like to think of a 3 colour traffic light system with my thought life. Very rarely now will I be anxious, worried, sad or depressed. I classify those emotions as the colour red in the traffic light system. I am generally very positive and upbeat – thus green traffic light. I identify, for me, some things that raise an amber warning light in the traffic light system and that prompts me to immediately go back to God to keep in the green. I immediately take them captive and get rid of them. What are your ‘amber’ warning lights?
- Meditate on Scripture. Play Christian songs with lyrics that speak life.
Speak life over yourself. Write out a declaration and speak it out over yourself on a regular basis. Speak the Bible over yourself. Pray it over your life. Bless your spirit with words from the Bible.
- Don’t second guess or keep asking.
So many times, I know people have heard from God but they don’t like the answer so they waste precious time by continually asking God for (hopefully) a different answer. This does not lead to a peaceful mind.
- Watch your words – speak life. Be careful of what you say. Are you speaking words that bring life or words that bring death? Our words have the power to create the outcome. (see blog post from June 2nd, 2018 – http://www.unlockingthegold.com/what-we-say-living-from-a-place-of-victory-part-4/)
- Memorial stones
I find that it helps me to stay focused if I am beginning something new to have reminders around the place. Just like the Israelites had the memorial stones (Joshua 4 – stones from the Jordan River that reminded them of what God had done for them), I keep reminders at home for me. Little momentoes that remind me constantly of God’s goodness, kindness and love. These momentoes encourage me to turn my thoughts to Christ, to stay positive.
7. Guard your Peace
Be aware of living in a state of total peace so that when you come against any feeling that is not from this ‘peaceful’ state, you are immediately alerted in your spirit. Guard your peace. Do whatever you have under your control to keep your spirit at peace.
Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:
The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy! Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3) and that it comes from a place of love.
1. Children / Families Activation: Go around your family/table and ask God to show you a supernatural superhero power that God has given to each family member. Encourage each person in their own superhero supernatural power.
2. Group Activation: In preparation, write an encouraging single word on a piece of paper eg fun, June, special, warm, gold, Holy, grace, laughter, September etc. Write enough different single words so that there is at least one piece of paper for each person expected to be present. During the group time, spread out the pieces of paper and ask people to choose one piece of paper each. Then ask them to find someone the word applies to prophetically and speak a prophetic word over them about that characteristic.
3. Beginner Activation: Keep track of every thought and feeling today, pulling yourself up when you start to feel, say or think anything negative. Capture those thoughts and change them to the opposite. Deliberately try to choose positive and thankfulness instead. Find someone who appears down and not cheerful and give them a sincere prophetic word.
4. Intermediate Activation: Find a house in your neighbourhood with an unkempt front yard. Walk past and spend time blessing the house, the occupants and the owners. Try and do this on a regular basis and take note of any changes.
5. Advanced Activation: Ask God how you can be part of the response to your country’s refugee situation. Prophesy over the situation, whether your country or the wider world situation for refugees.