I am very excited today. I have a friend who just published her first book called "Unexpected Love" which talks about Jesus' relationship with women throughout the Gospels. Her name is Julie Coleman and the reason I'm so thrilled is that I asked her a week or so ago to consider writing a guest blog post for my blog and very graciously she has consented to do so. Today I got her article in my email and it is one that I know it is one from which you will get a lot of good stuff. Julie is a very gifted writer and an equally gifted Bible teacher and speaker. Please visit her blog. The link to it is posted at the end of this article.
A sign in my daughter’s psychologist’s office warns: “Don’t believe everything you think.” This is true wisdom for anyone dealing with mental illness…and especially appropriate for the Christian.
Part of my husband Steve’s recovery from clinical depression involved the development of a careful discernment in his thought life. At the height of his illness, he struggled with discouraging messages on a daily basis: You are worthless, no good to anyone. You will fail. His therapy involved learning to examine each thought against what he knew to be truth from the Word of God. Worthless? God didn’t think so. He paid an exorbitant price to ransom Steve’s soul. Inevitable failure? Not hardly. Philippians 4:13 promised the ability to do anything when operating in Christ’s strength. One by one, Steve compared his destructive thoughts with God’s truth. And as he did, he methodically slayed his dragons.
Paul gives the same antidote for the lies that scream at us on a daily basis. “Whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things,” he advised his Philippian readers. In order to sift through the conflicting noise of today’s world, we need an unshakable standard.
Learning to think correctly is also the key to our spiritual transformation. For the Christian, permanent change begins in the mind: “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2) Even the idea of repentance is linked to this. The original Greek word conveys the idea of a change of mind, or an internal, intellectual replacement of one idea of judgment by another. The action of repentance is not an outward behavior. It is a decision to think differently about something.
Paul gave the Philippians the key to an appropriate mind-set. “Our citizenship is in heaven,” he told them. Stop thinking in terms of the temporary. Begin thinking in terms of eternity. It would make all the difference for them as they struggled to live in unity under growing persecution from the outside.
It will make all the difference for us as well. Rather than circumstances overwhelming us, we will view difficulty as “momentary, light affliction producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.” Instead of putting our hope in this temporary world, we will hope in “an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.” We will be enabled to get off the treadmill of performance and rest in the fact God has already “seated us in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Choosing to trust in the truth of God allows us to stop striving and rest in the security he has given us in Christ.
It all starts in the mind.
“Practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
Author and speaker Julie Coleman dedicates herself to helping others understand and know an unexpected God. Her new book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed in Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was recently released by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Julie and her husband live in Annapolis, MD. You can find her blog at unexpectedgod.com.