God has a plan for your life. It's a plan for you to live an abundant and significant life for His glory. Jesus said that He came so that we might have abundant life (John 10:10).
We know that's true, yet many of us settle for far less. Why? I believe the majority of our problem lies in our thought life.
The apostle Paul wrote that we are to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). I'm guessing you have thousands of thoughts per minute, just as I do. Each of those thoughts can either fix our attention on Christ or focus our attention on ourselves. As I've been thinking about that, I realize the attitudes that prevent us from living the abundant life Jesus promised generally fall into three categories:
Self-pity. Self-pity prevents us from becoming the person God calls us to be because it wraps us in chains of self-protection. Instead of rejoicing in what God's doing, we become wrapped up in a victim mentality. Thoughts of "poor me," "I've been dealt an unfair blow," or "my circumstances are worse than everyone else's" trap our thinking and prevent us from seeing the majesty of God's love and greatness. Here's the thing: Jesus never promised that life in Him was going to be easy. Instead He promises that in this life we would have trouble. But he also reminds us that He has overcome the world and that He will be with us in our trials (John 16:33). He promises that through Him, we can live bold and abundant lives.
Self–doubt. These are the doubts that torture our minds and leave us believing that we cannot be the person God has created us to be. We wonder, Can God really use me? I'm too __________________________ (damaged, distracted, dumb or whatever. ...You fill in the blank). Here's what I know: you have everything you need to become the world-changer God has created you to be. He's given you gifts and talents. He's given you His Word and His Spirit. He promises you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength (Phil. 4:13). All you need you have in Him. When you get tangled up in self-limiting beliefs, you end up doubting that God can do what He promised.
Self-righteousness. As dangerous as self-doubt can be, self-righteousness is just as bad, if not worse. A self-righteous attitude manifests itself in a judgmental spirit and refuses to listen to the ideas of others. An abundant life is supposed to include rich and fulfilling relationships. But rather than loving others as Christ loved them, the self-righteous person judges others. Satan is called the accuser (Rev. 12:10). He lives to accuse believers. What a lousy job description! Here's the thing: We are never more like Satan than when we are casting judgment on others.
How do we remove these obstacles from our lives? Here are three simple suggestions:
Praise God every day. Intentionally focus on God and His character traits every day. Praise helps us shift our focus off of ourselves and onto Him.
Create an emergency kit of the promises of God. Write out the promises on index cards and keep them in a place where you can review them. When you're having a bad day, pull out your cards and review the promises and declare them over your life.
Become a fast confessor. As soon as one of the "self" attitudes rises in your thinking, confess it to God and ask Him to uproot it. We need to be ruthless with ourselves whenever we nurture any of these attitudes. Instead, take every thought captive and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you.
Friend, just like you I have to continue to take every thought captive so that I live the abundant and victorious life Jesus wants me to live. Let's encourage each other in our journeys to be the world-changing people God has created us to be. I'd love for you to leave a comment with your favorite promise from Scripture. Your promise might just be the one someone else needs to hear!
Becky Harling, an author, certified speaker, leadership coach and trainer with the John Maxwell Team, is an energetic and motivational international speaker inspiring audiences to overcome their greatest life challenges and reach their full God-given potential. Her most recent book is How to Listen So People Will Talk. Her husband, Steve Harling, is the president of Reach Beyond, a nonprofit organization seeking to be the voice and hands of Jesus around the world.
This article originally appeared at beckyharling.com.
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