“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, 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.” (Phil. 4:8-9)
“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7)
Because of my particular addiction I used to spend far too much time on the relative few verses which focused on our sin nature, and far too little on the many that focused on our position in Christ. My particular favorite became the “thorn in the flesh” of 2 Corinthians 12. The problem was, all of my focusing on my sinful nature did nothing to stop me from engaging in it. It did nothing to empower me to change, rather it gave me an excuse not to. I lived in a schizophrenic world: at one moment caught up in “third heavens” with the Lord, and the next wallowing in places far, far below that.
Transformation came when the Lord showed me it is all about perceptions. Two truths are stated about God in the Scriptures: “He is the great I AM (Exod. 3:14), and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). These verses define truth: “that which is. That which exists.” There is no changing or modifying truth, and the Truth wants our highest and best. What changes with every wind and culture is our perception [“as we think in our hearts”]. My perception of myself was far too oriented to the sinful nature within, and not the godly nature within. Paul said to dwell upon the good things, not the negative ones (Phil. 4:8-9). Since He changed my perspective of myself from sinner to saint [albeit one who is far from perfect], I now stop myself every time my mind starts to wander to my sinful thoughts, and cry out to God, “This is not who I am! Lord, show me the new man I am in Christ!” With that perspective I have found new power over my former man, and a new lease on life. If you are struggling with that persistent “thorn in the flesh” that haunts you every day, take on a new perception of both God and yourself. Stop focusing on the sinner, and ask God to reveal to you the saint He redeemed and called to righteousness!