The three changes we must make deal with the mind, will, and emotions. Or, Mental, Physical and Emotional. Today we will discuss the mental aspect of endurance.
Romans 12:2 tells us:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (English Standard Version).
Our minds are not naturally geared toward running, though our bodies have the “fight or flight” mentality. You may be hard-pressed to find someone who thoroughly enjoys running from the very beginning. Just as our minds aren’t naturally geared toward running, our minds are not of God. Our minds must be transformed by the Holy Spirit to become of God. So, how do we make our minds of God?
Change the way we think.
One thing that has really helped in the area of endurance for me is deciding from the very beginning that quitting is not an option. In every situation my husband and I have faced spiritually, quitting has not been a thought we would ever entertain. We may get tired, but we continue to push through until breakthrough happens.
Another area is allowing the revelation that our walk with God is a marathon, not a sprint, to settle into our hearts. The times when I am the most exhausted are when I forget this important truth. Naturally, my body is not built like a sprinter. Spiritually, our bodies are built for endurance, but we must train to endure. You can’t keep up the sprint needed to win a 100 meter dash when the mileage is high.
I shared with you last week that I had to change my mentality as I was running, and when I did that, my body followed. It is the same way spiritually.
Proverbs 23:7 says “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” (NASB) Whatever we think, that is what we are. If we tell ourselves to quit when the going gets tough, that’s exactly what we will do. If we tell ourselves we are stupid, and talk down about ourselves, that is what we will carry out naturally.
Romans 12:2 tells us “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
The word “transformed” in the Greek is the word “metamorphoo,” which comes from the word “meta” means “change after being with,” and the word “morphoo” means “changing form in keeping with inner reality.” When it’s translated in it’s completion, it literally means “transformed after being with.” It makes me think of when Moses spent time on Mount Sinai with God, his face shone like a radiant light. It was evidence of being in the presence of God, and people recognized it. We should be transformed after being with God.
What it boils down to is that our thinking is our responsibility. When we accept Christ as our Savior, He doesn’t take over our minds to tell us what we should think. He gives us His word so that as we spend time with Him, the Holy Spirit transforms our thinking because we are transforming the way we see things by the revelation of God’s Word.
Mind renewal is a battle. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that we do not war against flesh and blood, but against rulers, authorities, powers of this present darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. We have a very real enemy who is FOR our destruction. He has come to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He is hell-bent on our failure and does not want us growing and becoming more like Christ.
I believe the enemy’s favorite game to play is with our minds. He loves to shoot his fiery darts of doubts, lies, fears, and worries and then sit back and watch us take off with the rest. It has happened so often to me that you would think I would have his number by now in this area. However, because I’ve acted in the flesh enough after thoughts of doubt, fear, worries and lies, he knows that this is my weak area.
Let me pause here and say that the enemy CANNOT read your mind. He is not omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent. He only shoots fiery darts and we choose whether or not they will stay. He can influence our thoughts, but he is not capable of reading our minds. It is up to us whether or not we allow him to influence our thoughts. This is the importance of renewing our minds. As we renew our minds with the word of God and spending time with God, we are transformed and we know that the lies we hear is the enemy attempting to influence our thoughts. We can then stand against them and speak God’s word over the situation and go on with our day.
Having a negative mindset was nothing new for me–I had a negative view of myself and therefore just about everything around me. Anyway, as I began to grow, the middle of the nights were the hardest for me. I would wake up in the middle of the night, and it never failed that’s when the thoughts of doubt and fear about stepping out and trusting God would bombard my mind. It would be one fiery dart after another reminded me of the situation we were in at that time, and I’d take it from there like a kid takes halloween candy. It was relentless. I used to try and hide under the pillow with the squeezed hard against my ears to try and stop the thoughts. I graduated to praying about the situation, slowly trusting God. Finally, I began to confess the word of God over the situation. I’d either whisper vehemently, or I’d go to the bathroom and yell quietly so I didn’t wake my husband.
When I would wake up the next morning after entertaining those thoughts, I was in a terrible mood. My actions and my words would reflect my worries, and the lies that I had heard that night. But as I graduated up, as I mentioned earlier, my attitude began to change. As I transformed my mind throughout the day and fortified it in the word of God, I began to see that what God said is true and there is no false thing. I also began to see that as I applied His word to my situation by speaking it, things began to change. The nights quit becoming an issue because I knew exactly what to do with it.
Philippians 4:8 tells us “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)
The truth is that our minds will always be bombarded by worldly things. There will always be worries, there will always be fears and concerns. What matters is what we do with those thoughts. Are we going to dwell on those things? Or are we going to take them captive like 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to? It is vital that we meditate on the word of God, because when we meditate on the word of God, when we dwell on what His word says, we will naturally choose the truth of God’s word instead of the worries or fears.