In this two part series Paul reveals the importance of agreeing with God and aligning our thought life with Him. Isaiah 55 says God thoughts and ways are higher than ours. Paul shows how the believer is set free through the power of the Holy Spirit and how the believer is to live the overcoming abundant life by renewing the mind and thinking God’s thoughts. Paul says, “It’s one thing to be set free, and another thing to LIVE FREE!” You will be encouraged and motivated by this two part series.
Joseph is one of my heroes. He could have drowned in the despair of that pit his brothers threw him into, but he determined not to allow it to overtake him. Even though he was in a pit, he didn’t let the pit get him. He didn’t develop a pit mentality. No, Joseph put his trust in God and that is when his dreams came to pass.
The way to avoid a life of pit living is to take control of every negative thought that would try and keep you bound and feeling sorry for yourself. When a negative thought comes, make a deliberate choice to stop and deal with that thought immediately. First, decide that you will not dwell on that negative thought for one more minute. Instead, replace that negative thought with one of God’s powerful thoughts about you. This is the key. Begin to fill your mind with hopeful, positive, faith-filled thoughts from God’s Word.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I will make it because God’s grace is sufficient for me today.
God has a good and positive future for me! I believe what God says about me.
When you say these words, you may not feel like you have a bright future, but you choose to live by the truth instead of your emotions. Emotions are fickle, but God’s Word remains true. As you choose to believe God’s Word about you, hopelessness and negative thoughts are defeated.
This takes intentional choice, self-control, and warfare. Negative “pit” thoughts can only be overcome by scripture. As you choose to believe God’s Word about you, thoughts of hopelessness and lies are defeated one thought at a time.
The Bible says the person who trusts in the Lord will never be disappointed. Refuse to live in a pit of self-pity and hopelessness one more day. Lift your eyes to the hills where your help comes from. The pit is not what God made you for-He did not design you to live in the dark. Every night is followed by morning, and every valley is flanked by hilltops and mountain peaks!
I want to dispel a myth. Character is not essential to leadership. Hitler was a very evil leader with many leadership qualities. There have been many leaders that came up way short on the character scale. So it is possible to lead without character. But character is what makes you a leader worth following. Your gifts, talents, and abilities may have great potential, but it is your character that will determine your legacy. It is extremely important to give great attention to who you are on the inside.
We have a couple of different summer camps and a college-age internship that we operate out of our ministry each year. I am heavily involved in some of these. One that I am particularly passionate about is our internship called Applied Life Leaders Academy. The interns live in dorms on our campus and for 9 months we immerse them in the things of God in an attempt to help mature and prepare them for the road of adulthood. This program involves much teaching in the classroom and a lot of mentoring. At the end of the program each year is graduation and the interns are given an opportunity to share and appreciate God for what has happened in their lives. It’s funny, even though our classes and lectures are amazing and powerful, you rarely hear interns mention them. What you hear interns talk about is the influence of their leaders. They specifically mention the character and lifestyle of their leaders.
I wanted to point this out for a reason. Too often we put importance on the wrong things. We put our attention on people’s ability, giftedness, talent, and intelligence. To be a leader worth following requires one area that must take precedence over these all. CHARACTER! Character is the will to do what’s right even when it’s hard. Character is about will because it requires a willingness to make tough decisions-decisions that sometimes run contrary to emotion, popularity, and current trends. Having the will to do what’s right requires that you determine what’s right before the struggle to do what’s right ensues. Leading with character requires a series of predecisions. A leader worth following must determine ahead of time what is nonnegotiable as it relates to right and wrong. Wrong is always wrong and right will always be right!
I want to motivate you to be a leader that leaves a legacy worth following. In other words, you are practicing what you preach. If you want to really influence your generation, don’t get caught up in all the hype and glitter. Not all that glitters is gold. What is underneath is what truly matters.