Another great devotional from my friends at Proverbs 31. I'm reminded of the Chuck Swindoll quote, "Life is10% what happens to you, and 90% your response to it." A good reminder as I head out for another (hopefully much less eventful) trip this weekend.
July 7, 2005
"Living in the Fast Lane and Looking for an Exit!" - Part 2
Director of Outreach, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member
Romans 12:2, "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 the perfect will of God." (NKJ)
Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over. The problems began when Chippie's owner decided to clean his cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. That’s when the phone rang. The bird owner turned to pick up the phone and barely said "hello" when "s-s-s-s-lurp" … Chippie got sucked in.
The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie – still alive, but stunned. The bird was covered with dust and soot. The owner grabbed him, raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was now soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air. Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A few days after the trauma, the reporter who had initially written about the event contacted Chippie's owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn't sing much anymore. He just sits and stares." It's hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over is enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.
Like Chippie, life in the fast lane can make us feel sucked in, washed up and blown over, too. Especially when we have to take a detour for which we hadn’t planned. While detours seem to make life more hectic, I have good news. A few extra bumps in the road doesn’t have to mean more stress in our lives. We can find peace and balance even on a detour. The secret is to trust God, enjoy the scenery, and change the way we think about the detour.
It’s not your circumstance that gets you down. It’s what you think about your circumstance – and we can choose what we think about. No one can make us think ugly thoughts toward someone who has hurt us. No one can make us think jealously about what our neighbor owns compared to what we have. And no one can make us think lustful thoughts about our co-worker … not even the enemy. He may plant those thoughts, but it is us who waters them, coddles them, and causes them to grow. What is the result? Strongholds.
When we allow wrong thinking to guide us, eventually strongholds such as anger, bitterness, pride, arrogance, and unforgiveness will take root and choke out our peace, contentment and joy.
This is why Paul challenges us to “transform our minds” from worldly thinking to Godly thinking. How do we do that? By developing the mind of Christ through studying and memorizing His Word. Once God’s Word is in our minds, it works like a sword and cuts off our old way of thinking. Then, we no longer have to ask, “What would Jesus do?” We can KNOW exactly what Jesus would do in any situation, once we take the time to develop the “mind of Christ.”
Thinking the way God intended is the antidote to wrong thinking. Once you’re in His Word, the scales will fall from your eyes and they will become wide open! Then you will be able to see truth that sets you free from all that binds you. Once again, you’ll find yourself back on the right road that leads to a life of peace and contentment.Author John Maxwell in his book, Thinking for a Change, writes:
Change the way you think and it will change your beliefs.
Change your beliefs and you'll change your expectation.
Change your expectation and you'll change your attitude.
Change your attitude and you'll change your behavior.
Change your behavior and you'll change your life.
God has not taken His hands off the wheel of your life. You have not escaped His attention. He knows where you are on this detour. Though He may seem a million miles away, God is there. He is your ever-present help. You can trust Him in the desert detour. You are not there by accident. It is in the barren land that God is working to break the chains that bind you and restore the song in your heart. So, don’t believe the lies. Instead, accept His divine detour, embrace His plan, and trust His heart. It’s the only way to think.
My Prayer for Today:
Dear Lord, I don’t want to believe lies about you or my situation any more. Help me to trust you while on this detour. Help me to see that you are guiding my life and I’m not alone. Help me to learn what you are tying to teach me so I can be more like Christ. Amen.
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