Did you know that a beautiful picture of radical transformation is seen in an addict (or any sinner) who repents?
It is interesting to note what happens the first time a person experiments by using alcohol, prescription medications, or recreational drugs to excess, they say to themselves, “Wow, this is the best thing ever; I have never felt so good! I should have tried this sooner.” Their eyes are open to the sin and there is no going back.
A similar thing happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden right after they ate the forbidden fruit. In Genesis 3:7, it says,
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew they were naked.”
Just like Adam and Eve is the person who abuses a substance to the extreme for the very first time; there eyes are opened to the experience of the sin. They now know what the sin feels like and what it can do for them.
The thing is there is no going back to the day when they had never experienced what the “drug” feels like, just as Adam and Eve could not go back into the Garden of Eden after just one sin. Genesis 3:23-24 says,
Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
Do you think Adam and Eve regretted their decision to sin and wanted to return to the days when they knew no sin?
Have you ever wished you had not tried something so you would not know what it feels like for you? Now you love the feeling, and how it relieves your pain, what it does for you temporarily.
How Sin Turns to Shame. . .Then to Radical Transformation
It has been my experience that former addicts who have been born again by the Holy Spirit make excellent transformed Christians. Their radical transformation displays how much they know they have been forgiven by how much they now are able to love. We see this expressed in Scripture when we read Luke 7:44-47. This woman was forgiven much and in return she loves and serves Jesus in an extreme manner.
Can we turn all of the shame of sin around and put it in reverse with a radical transformation of serving God and watching Him change a selfish self-serving nature into one that worships the Lord with abandon?
The person enslaved to something believes their life is a waste and that they have been dealt a bad hand in the card game of life. They are discontent and pessimistic because they chose to focus on the problems that have occurred in life rather than the blessings. They continue to live for self and are never completely satisfied so they despair.
As you can see self-pity is at the root of this “stinking thinking” mentality. Self-pity is the energy force that fuels the engine of this defeatist mentality. Self-pity is really a manifestation of pride. It is not the typical form that pride takes. You may think of a prideful person as someone who is bold, loud, confident, and arrogant. Self-pity is the prideful idea that “I am not getting what I deserve, I deserve better.”
Pride drives a person full of self-pity because the person is overly focused upon self and has unrealistic expectations of how life should be treating them. The person full of self-pity thinks they know better than God what they need. They think God is not giving them what they deserve so they are discontent.
Get Out of the Spin Cycle
There is a strong cyclical relationship between thoughts, emotions, and actions. Thoughts produce emotions which produce actions which produce more thoughts and emotions. You are not designed to feel emotions apart from your thinking. God created you to think first and then to feel emotions. The system of beliefs in this country is so feelings-oriented that we tend to focus on feelings before focusing upon thoughts. This is backwards. Feelings are important, but they are not primary. Both your thoughts and emotions are internal processes in your spiritual heart. From your thinking and emotions you act.
If you act rightly, then your thoughts and emotions will be positive. The cyclical process in the thoughts and emotions of your heart lead to your actions, which produce more thoughts and emotions.
- Your mind is where it all begins, and that is why it is crucial that your mind be transformed by God’s truth.
- You must begin to think like God, meaning you must live your life under the principles found in Scripture.
- Then you will experience godly feelings and exhibit godly actions, all as a result of thinking biblically.
When you begin with God’s way of thinking, it leads you to have godly emotions and actions.
Join the Conversation
What kinds of things are prone to keep you in your stinking thinking? I would love to hear your comments.