"What we think determines how we act, and how we act determines how we feel. I was operating on the belief that I needed to feel differently before I could think differently. But the formula is reversed: Our thinking changes first, our actions come next and our feelings follow. Instead of waiting for my feelings to change so I could act in a forgiving way, I needed to change my thoughts. Instead of rehearsing the argument, I needed to rehearse God's Word in my mind. Once my thoughts were back on track and in harmony with God's instructions, I could make the right choices whether I felt like it or not. Rick has said many times, "You can't feel your way into an action, but you can act your way into a feeling."
This paragraph really stood out to me, because it's so full of rich truth about how to overcome much in this life. I don't know about you, but many days I don't feel like facing the days challenges. I don't feel like doing my work, or helping Lilli with her skates. Other times, I don't feel like making up with my husband over that disagreement. In the mornings, I don't feel like reading my Bible. There are many days that I am in pain, and not only do I not feel like I can make it through the day physically, emotionally I am sorrowful because of it. Do you find that so many of the commands in God's Word simply go against what we feel like doing? I sure do!
Paul realized his struggle to do the right thing (Romans 7:14, 15)
"We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."
Can we all agree? I should help Lilli with her skates. I should read my Bible, and make up with my husband quickly. I should get up and tackle the day with JOY. I should walk in God's peace and joy despite my pain. But how do we end this vicious cycle of doing what we don't want to do, and knowing full well what we should do? I think Kay hit the nail on the head. We have to adjust our thinking pattern... quickly to stop the pain and the rebellion.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
The Bible tells us to think about these things. Does thinking really matter? No one else sees our thoughts except God. Oh but it does matter! Thinking on these things, the good things, and what the Bible says we should do, will in turn be shown in our actions and attitude.
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.
Again here in Romans, our mind must be transformed first, and following/doing the will of God will follow. Think! So it will be. Learn God's Word and think it, so you may do it, and then you will feel joy and peace. Feelings are the last thing that follows. We think we don't have a choice in the way we feel. And this way of thinking will always trip us up if we follow how we feel all the time. Command God's word in your heart, and God will give you the power to overcome any situation to do the right thing. Happiness is a feeling, but joy is a choice. So how do you choose joy? Think on the God's Word in every situation, no matter how hard it is, and joy and peace will follow even in the most dire of circumstances.
2 Corinthians 9:6
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
Bountifully sow God's Word into your thinking pattern and you will reap a life FULL of JOY!