Closet Clean Out

Psalms 139:23-24 (AMP) Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

Our hearts are the most important muscle in our bodies. We often focus on our outward appearance and our outward change that we lose focus on the most important things that need t be dealt with…our issues of the heart. The personal things we hide deep in our hearts.

Ephesians 4:22-25 (AMP) That, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation]. Therefore, rejecting all falsehood [whether lying, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, any such as these], speak truth each one with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one another [and we are all parts of the body of Christ].

So many of us put our faith in Christ as our Savior…but fail to allow Him to be redeemer, our healer, our restorer. Christ has done everything He needs to be done to be One with us. God lives in me, He sees me, He hears, me, He loves me and He understands me. People may not always understand you, but Jesus will always understand you.

When the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt, there were promised a new land, a new life…the land of mile and honey! But along the way it was evident that even though they were physically delivered from the bondage of slavery…their hearts were still being held captive! Almost every time that things did not go the way they thought it should have they reverted back to Egypt, “we would have been better off back there.”

One of the enemies best weapons to stop your spiritual growth is to get you “back there.” Back to the place of regret, back to the place of hurt, back to the place where sins of the flesh ruled you. We will never live in a land of promise wishing you were “back there.”

This sounds a lot like the closets we keep in our homes. I have a size ten dress that I am very much trying to get back into. I succeeded a few years ago, then put the pounds on again. I did not get back to the size twenty I started with, but I did creep up a bit. That does not mean I have let that dress go. The closet, attic, garage are usually the places we hold everything from our past. We keep it there just in case. What are we holding onto that needs to go?

Realize this, we are in a process of progress! Daily we have to allow God to come in and deal with the issues we have in our heart.

Philippians 3:12-13 (AMP) Not that I have already obtained it [this goal of being Christ like] or have already been made perfect, but I actively press on so that I may take hold of that [perfection] for which Christ Jesus took hold of me and made me His own. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead… Paul is saying that he has not “arrived” yet. He has more to work on, there are areas he needs to decrease in so that God can increase. One thing he says for sure the he had to get a hold on…Forgetting the Past! You cannot live in the past and have a future. Stay focused on what lies ahead, and leave what was behind. Verses 14-16 (AMP),  I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature [pursuing spiritual perfection] should have this attitude. And if in any respect you have a different attitude, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us stay true to what we have already attained.

Keep on keeping on! You may have been put down. You may have been counted out. You may have been bruised. You may have been falsely accused. You may have been let down, trampled on, talked about and left to fend for yourself…but remember that you have been made a new creation. Old things have been passed away, behold all things have been made NEW!!! Each day you put on the renewed mind set, clean up the intimate areas we allow God to reside in, take out the trash and keep on going!!

The things that have been hidden away… the hurts and the let down that we try to keep to ourselves, the beat down that my mind tries to do to me daily… NO LONGER will I put up with it! That is not who I am any more. I am a child of God, made in His image, for HIS purpose. Get into our closets, get rid of the junk and live a new life in Christ!

Changing Our Mindset

Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

One of the joys I have in ministry life is leading youth. I have been doing it for a few years now. My favorite part is see that spark ignite, that “AHA” moment that this Jesus stuff is so real no body can take it away from them. For the past few years we ask our youth to write down topics that they would like for us to discuss. One such topic was about negative thoughts.

Years before leading youth I ran a child development center, also known as a day care. Parents would come to me frustrated at their child’s behavior. I had to encourage them to praise the behavior they liked, not just react to the behavior they did not like. We all crave attention. Unfortunately, as a world, the negative gets our most attention.

We all crave attention. Unfortunately, as a world, the negative gets our most attention.

So here I am researching the view point of negative thinking from a teenager. The way they have grown up is vastly different from how I did. When I was growing up, the internet did not become accessible to our homes until I was out of high school. Game systems did not, well mine did not, save your progress. If your mom turned it off you had to start from the beginning. I am raising two teenage boys. I am still very strict about them having social media, but it is really hard to control what videos pop up on their screens…and they have a lot of them!

I typed in “Where do automatic negative thoughts come from,” in my google search, and I came across an article from M.Farouk RadwanMSc. Did you notice I used the word “automatic?” Why would I choose that word?

Romans 12:2 (NKJV) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Part of putting on the armor of God includes: Ephesians 6:17 (NKJV) And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

He writes:” In order to help you answer these questions I have to first ask you another one. Do you know why some people can’t live without their phones? Because their minds are already full of negative thoughts and they always need some kind of distraction to push the negative thoughts away.”

“Do you know why some people feel really bad when they are alone? It’s because they fall prey to their own negative thoughts and that’s why they always seek distraction in order to escape from these thoughts.”

“Where do negative thoughts come from? Let us suppose that a plate which had rotten food was spoiling the smell of your room, what would be the best way to get rid of the smell? Should you buy a Fan or get rid of the plate? While the second choice is obviously the one that will be chosen by most rational people still most people do the opposite when dealing with negative thoughts.”

“When trying to deal with negative thoughts most people will do their best to get rid of the smell instead of the food. Most people try to get rid of the negative thoughts directly using the different distracting methods without realizing that the only way to end negative thoughts is to change the beliefs that caused them in the first place.”

“‘I am sure they didn’t like me'” That’s a popular negative thought but did you ever try to find out what caused it? Most probably this thought is a symptom of a limiting belief such as ‘I am not an interesting person.’Now what do you think would happen if the person who got that negative thought distracted himself using their phone to watch youtube videos? The negative thought will always remain there and this person will get it again as soon as the distraction ends.”

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (NKJV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.  Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,  that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 

Reconciled- to restore the relationship that mankind had in the garden.

Once we accept Christ we have been reconciled.  Which means we have the same relationship with God as Adam did in the garden.  So when those thoughts enter our head then we have the tools necessary to change them.

How do we go in with the right mindset?  M.Farouk Radwan, MSc and his theory in psychology had a lot of insight but it was the core beliefs part he did not give a lot of insight in.  You know where I found it?  It is found in the Word of God and my relationship with Him.

How do you know when I have the right mindset?  It is because I am no longer concerned about being alone, my own success, but in wanting to see others succeed in Him.  2 Corinthians 5:20 tells us that we will be ambassadors (a representative) of the one who reconciled us. I recently watched “Soul” with my son on Disney Plus. In the movie the souls were thought to being sent to earth when they had discovered their purpose. Spoiler alert: It was when they had a desire to live. My desire to live is linked to my desire to know Him more. There are things that are going to distract me, that are going to make me want to live in the negative.

Please let me know how I can be praying for you. Email me at amanda@desiringformore.org.