30 Days of Encouragement - Day 14
Good Morning! Or Not!
How did you start this day? Were you happy? Reluctant? Were you depressed? What was on your mind when you opened your eyes? Were the concerns of yesterday or the worries of tomorrow in your thinking? Were you still angry about the argument you had last night or, were you anxious about today's staff meeting?
God designed us to awaken in peace, no worries, no concerns, and no issues. That is how it should be, but it is rarely the way it is. If you are over a certain age or a person with great responsibility, this is especially true.
Why Does It Matter?
It matters because you are important and because other people have to deal with you. If you are grouchy or grumpy, be sure most folk will avoid you. Maybe you like it that way, but in case you don't, please read on.
Starting your day well dictates your approach to the day's challenges. It also determines how you handle the situations you will encounter. Think about it. When you are stress-free, and happy your day is better. Things don't bother you as much. When you are stressed, everything is difficult to handle.
Science and the Holy Ghost
Our thoughts, our feelings, and our behavior affect one another. Science describes this relationship between the three as the Cognitive Triangle.
"The way we behave in response to something is because our thoughts persuade us it is the best decision to make at that time. ... They provoke our emotions, as well as, our behavioral responses. Our views and perceptions alter how we will feel and thus how we will respond to a situation."
In the Bible, God tells us,
"For as he thinks in his heart, so is he in behavior" [Proverbs 23:7, Amplified Version].
Linked Together Forever
What great news! What it means both scientifically and spiritually is that if I have some control over my thinking, feeling, and behaving. If I learn something about how to think, I may have better days. It also means that I can make a choice. Thank God for free will!
Of course, acting on the Word of God costs us something. It requires consistency and discipline. You can't expect consistent results if your effort is not consistent.
So, What Should I Think About?
The world tells us to practice positive thinking. And, the Bible tells us what positive thinking is.
Philippians 4: 8 instructs us:
"Finally, brethern whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are lovely whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things."
What About My Feelings?
We all experience negative feelings. It's not a question of not ever having negative feelings. It is a question of battling them until we can overcome them. They don't have to control us! We do not have to stay stuck to them. We can do something about them. Even when chemical imbalances are involved, we can still fight towards gaining our victory.
God in His goodness gave us weapons, tools to use to overcome negative feelings and, He will guide us to the help that we need.
…And My Behavior?
I don't know about you, but my flesh has a mind of its own. Practicing the Word of God irritates my flesh. It's like an arm-wrestling contest. One arm represents my spirit, the other arm, my flesh.
There is a battle every day. Sometimes several times daily. What my flesh wants to do is very familiar, get mad, act out, plot revenge, etc. What my spirit wants is to do is forgive, walk in love, overlook transgressions.
I know which response glorifies God and, I know which response satisfies my flesh. I want to glorify God. It is not easy. Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don't
What helps me is remembering His Word and making a conscious effort to obey.
Not Easy, But, Also Not Impossible
Nothing comes without a cost. We are in constant spiritual warfare. We may not always have to lash out at the devil. But we will always have to fight if we are to maintain the territory we have gained.
The Bible tells us three things that help us:
1. In the presence of the Lord is the fullness of joy [Psalm 16:11]
- Commit time for personal worship and praise. God wants to hear from you. Be consistent, and let God move in you.
2. Happy is the man whose God is the Lord [Psalm 146:5]
- . Remember, you belong to the one who created everything. If He created everything, and He is your God. There is no way you can be held down.
3. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. [Ephesians 4:31]
- . Get your attitude adjusted. Discipline your flesh, walk in love, and the Holy Spirit will not be grieved.
Worship upon Waking!
Psalm 116:11 tells us that in the presence of the Lord is the fullness of joy. If I get into the presence of the Lord, I will be full of joy. If I am full of joy, my approach to my day will be its best.
When you are full of joy, you see differently. Mountains level out, valleys are filled, and crooked paths are made straight.
My new commitment! Brighter days, stronger faith, deeper revelation, better understanding, and a new attitude. It's great!
A little time of personal worship and thanksgiving when open your eyes will empower you to handle whatever your day may hold. Be Blessed [Psalm 34:1]