How To Control Your Mind: Are We Too Weak Mentally?

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 Are We Too Weak Mentally?

There is a tendency for us to seek the easy way out. When faced with tough decisions we choose less difficult options. We don’t look forward to struggle, pain and suffering.

Yet: James1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

We dread hard times and have grown lax in the use of our minds. We have become loose in our thinking and allowed our minds to be like unbridled wild horses.

James 3: 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.

Lessons from breaking in a horse help us to bring our minds under control. A 5-step process is recommended.

  1. Gain trust. Develop a personal relationship with your horse before trying to train him.

Our minds have been dominated by a self-image that we hold to be true.

Spend time discovering on a daily basis who you really are. What interests you, what inspires you, what scares you, what frustrates you, what tempts you, what angers you, what embarrasses you, what prompts you to hide your true feelings?

  1. Practice Safety. You need to be careful around horses.

You are about to discipline a mind that is being influenced by external factors. Don’t get over-confident and careless during the exercise.

Eph 612 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The fact is that you have to contend with external influences in behaviour modification.

  1. Take it one step at a time. Each step has to become a habit before moving on to the next step.

Start gaining control of your mind with micro-steps. Conquer things like forcing yourself to get up to exercise when your body says sleep longer.

Those are the battles that we need to win before we can talk about major behaviour modification. We have to let our bodies know who is calling the shots now.

1Co 9:25 Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, …… 27 I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest.  (GNB)

Track down every “can’t be bothered”; “I don’t feel like it”; “It is too much trouble”; “It’s too hard”; and every “I can’t manage it”.

Take one bad habit at a time and work on it until the replacement becomes a habit. Also aspire to develop your mind in new, positive directions. Expand your horizons.

We also have to get our minds ready for the disappointments that we will face:

  • Failed relationships
  • Betrayal
  • Bereavement
  • Financial disaster
  • Major health challenges

Commit now to work on one mind building project over the next 60 days.

  1. Never get angry.

Yelling and beating the horse breaches the trust and bonding.

One huge challenge to behavioural transformation is negative self-talk. An emotional outburst actually reinforces the behaviour.

Instead of “Clumsy!” ask an empowering question: Why do I always take special care on stairs?

Getting angry also causes us to give up in frustration. Be patient. Make progress slowly but steadily.

  1. Reward successes.

Catching people doing the right thing has proven to be more effective in achieving lasting behavioural transformation than looking out for faults.

The same thing happens internally. Celebrate when you get it right. When you get it wrong, gently provide guidance to get back on track.

Tough times require tough minds.

Stop the drift towards minds that are unbridled, lacking in discipline and without direction.

Work to develop one new habit within 60 days.

Master and coach these concepts with our SHRM-accredited Certified Behavioural Coach Award and 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People programmes. Earn PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certifications.

E-mail: info@infoservonline.com.

Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People™ Academy.

The SELF Diet

The SELF Diet

 Have you ever spoken to your self? Good

Not what if I asked you to hold your cell phone high for a moment. Now, I want you to stand up and put your cell phone on the chair behind you.

Next, I want you to remain standing and put your SELF on the chair beside your cell phone.

Why is there so much confusion with that request? Read it again.

You agreed that YOU spoke to your SELF. That suggests that YOU and your self are not the same.

Why then is it so challenging to separate your SELF from YOU?

The issue is that you have been hypnotized into accepting an illusion as YOU. The fact that you and that illusory sense of identity are NOT the same has become blurred.

You have no problem in establishing that your cell phone is not YOU. Your chair is not YOU. Your dress or shirt is not YOU. Your SELF is also not YOU.

The truth is that when we say “I” we usually have in mind our SELF.

What we accept and think of as “me” and “I” is really a masterful act of deception by our SELF. This is high class identity theft that usually goes undetected.

If you do not take care to recognize SELF it will trick you into thinking that it is YOU. You will be lulled into failing to separate the two and to identify with SELF as if it is YOU.

It is critical to recognize that we are NOT the voice in our heads – the prompter. That voice in our heads is our SELF. It is actually the motivation for dysfunction that you carry around with you and indeed, appear to be YOU.

Humans in the normal state are fundamentally defective and collectively dysfunctional….. Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Sin means to “miss the mark”. There is something in us that leads us to miss the mark…. We do not quite get it.

This impostor SELF has been nurtured by events in our lives. In its fully grown state, it takes control of what we perceive to be our reality. It provides the filter through which we screen everything – thoughts, events, interactions, relationships. This illusion – Your SELF – shapes how you view life and its unfolding events.

It is His appreciation of this distinction between you and your SELF that caused Christ to say to His disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matt 16:24).

Denial of SELF becomes harder when SELF is well fed and fully developed.

Today, we want to put SELF on a diet.  In order to do so, we need to identify the favourite foods of SELF.

Spending time identifying how SELF is fed is essential to achieving the transformation of our minds which is at the core of Christian living.

So as you would imagine SELF is not a healthy eater.

Its favourite is My sCream.

The SELF Menu is simple – “Me”, “Mine”, “More than”, “I want”, “I need”, “I must have”, “Not enough”.

If you want to put SELF on a diet you have to remove those items from the daily menu.

It is critical that you identify the impact of those words. Failure to do so will give them control over you and you will find yourself acting out the unconscious thoughts and actions that are tied to those words.

One fundamental problem is that SELF tends to equate HAVING with BEING. SELF grows and feels more secure the more it HAS.

The problem is that things are temporal – they are not permanent and consequently SELF inevitably experiences heartfelt dissatisfaction and a sense of incompleteness. There is a sense in which we are “not enough.”

It is important to recognize that none of the things that SELF seeks will satisfy you as long as SELF is in control. No matter what you have or get, you will not experience lasting joy. You will be constantly seeking after fulfilment.

Ecc 1:14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.

 One side effect of this feasting on My sCREAM is the constant need for comparison. We compare ourselves with others.

A spin off of that is that how they view us is how we see ourselves.

Spiritual maturity is tied to our ability to clearly see and live out the reality that what I perceive, experience, think or feel is ultimately not who I am. Who I am cannot be found in things that continuously pass away.

1 John 2: 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

 For this reason it is important to learn more about your SELF so that we can identify it in action. Once you recognize the actions of SELF, it is weakened. Recognition weakens it and its hold on you.

 SELF also feeds on NOT Me PIE.

 For the concept “I” to have significance it needs to have something as a contrast. If you place a white object on a white background it does not stand out.

Think about it. If everybody was IDENTICAL there would be no room or need for SELF to boost itself.

In order to grow SELF needs to feast on NOT Me PIE.

The more SELF can identify differences with others, the more special it becomes and a UNIQUE SELF is really special. One of a kind or rare things have increased value. SELF knows that and does everything to get the corrupted you to find ways in which you are different.

Amazingly, the difference does not have to be positive in SELF’s favour. Being really bad also makes SELF stand out and exposure has value.

So, in many instances anti-social behaviour and disobedience are really strategies for SELF to grow by getting attention from being different.

 Where are we going with this?

  •  We are looking at how we can actually go about self denial.
  •  We first sought to identify the SELF that is to be denied.
  •  We then started to look at what sustains SELF. How can we weaken it?
  •  We looked at SELF’s dietary habits…. My sCREAM and NOT Me PIE.

One effect of NOT Me PIE is the drive for “Me” to stand out. So it has to focus on finding differences with others. This actually leads to finding fault with others and complaining about them. When we put down others it makes us feel superior.

Fault finding is a core function of the impostor SELF that you so happily embrace as YOU.

Christ is alert to this deceptive plan.

Matt 7: 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?

Complaining and its emotional counterpart Resentment add energy to the false SELF. When we complain, we add emotions to it. We feel bitter, angry, aggrieved, offended. This strengthens SELF.

It has been observed that the things that you react to most strongly in others and mistakenly take as their identity tend to be the same faults that are also in you. You have just been unable or unwilling to detect them within yourself.

The key is to recognize that in your interactions with others, the actions of their SELF is not who they really are. We live in an environment in which rogue SELFs are engaging one another.

That is why conflict, competition, distrust, hate and other ills abound.

It is important to note that resentment is not limited to persons but also to situations which give the false SELF even more scope.

This capacity to look beyond and to avoid reacting to the SELF-driven actions of others is the essence of humility, longsuffering and forgiveness.

Humility takes us to the understanding that we all have imperfections and that fault finding is not a very useful activity.

Longsuffering allows us to be patient when things do not go the way that we want them to.

Forgiveness comes naturally when you recognize that the only purpose of grievance and resentment is to strengthen a false sense of SELF and to feed it more NOT Me PIE.

Whatever the behaviour that comes from SELF, the hidden driving force is always similar: Need to stand out, to be special, to be in control, to have power, to get attention, to get more. Also, the need to feel a sense of difference (I am not like that).

SELF is dysfunctional. It always has a hidden agenda. That is why Christ requires of us that we deny ourselves (that false SELF).

Why then was it so challenging to separate your SELF from YOU?

The point is that you have been lulled into accepting all that goes on within you to be YOU. The reality is that you are a victim of identity theft. An impostor has slipped in mostly unnoticed and taken up residence in you under the guise of being the real YOU.

The real problem is that the identity theft has been so slick that the vast majority of persons do not even realize that there is a false self in place. They mistakenly see this impostor as themselves. They think: “This is who I am!” They live that lie to the point where in some instances the two are undistinguishable to them.

The failure to recognize the impostor and to blow the whistle on the threat of identity theft gives the impostor more strength. The impostor thrives on the ignorance and lack of attentiveness and takes over more and more of what should be YOU.

The search for who you are is greatly assisted by knowing who you are not. We must understand that we are NOT SELF.

It is interesting to note that, who you think you are is directly linked to how you think others are treating you. That shapes how you think about yourself. If you think that others are lavishing love upon you, you think that you are loved person.

One important consideration is that whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are in fact withholding from the world!

So, if you feel that you are missing something – start giving it. If you do not think that you have it – act as if you do and it will come to you. Then you give it and in turn you will receive it.

Luke 6: 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

 A failure to starve SELF will condemn us because it moves us away from being able to observe the two great commandments – Loving God and Loving our neighbour as ourselves. Mark 12:30

Salvation can only come when you recognize SELF for what it is and take care to separate your core, true YOU from it.

Once you make the distinction, your responsiveness to the Gospel call becomes easy. The cares of the world no longer choke the Word and it bears fruit in your heart. You recognize that you are a creature of Almighty God and that you are in a sinful state. You accept the need for you to take steps to change your status and to change your ways. You are willing and ready to announce to the world your belief that Jesus is Lord. You accept and are ready to put on Christ in water baptism for the remission of your sins and to walk in the newness of life.

The untutored, unattended SELF is the advocate of the flesh.

The transformed YOU manifests the fruit of the spirit:

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Be on guard, be alert. There is an impostor taking over your identity.  Once you identify him and monitor him closely the scam is defeated and the TRUE YOU is able to present itself. This YOU is in Christ and is obedient to His will.

God bless YOU!

 

 

7 SIGNS OF A LIFE THAT C.A.R.E.S

7 SIGNS OF A LIFE THAT C.A.R.E.S

C.A.R.E. is defined as:

Being Connected to the Divine Source

Making use of the Access to the Diving Source

Being Ready to accept the blessings that are available from the Divine Source

Being Engaged in leading a life that is pleasing to the Divine Source.

 

  1. The life that CAREs has a vibrant Prayer life

The life that CAREs has a deep-seated belief that prayer is effective. Its conviction is boosted by evidence from its own life, cases from the Scriptures and from the experiences of others.

It has great confidence in approaching God passionately and frequently.

It embraces 1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

The life that CAREs prays about its personal hopes, its fears and its aspirations. It asks for relief from illness; seeks guidance with critical decisions and begs for safe-keeping.

It is note-worthy that the life that CAREs has a 360 degree approach to prayer. It prays for family, friends, colleagues, neighbours. It includes its community and takes a world view into consideration in its prayers. It asks for reconciliation with those with whom it is in conflict. It prays that God will straighten the path of those who have gone astray and that evil doers will be brought to repentance.

It invites God to intervene to make His will for our collective lives come to fruition.

 

  1. The life that CAREs is its brother’s keeper

The life that CAREs has a sensitive antenna. It is somehow aware of what is going on in the lives of others. It has an uncanny way of remembering things that are important to others.

It surprises you with a call …just when you needed it. It recognizes that your lips are turned down and not up with your usual radiant smile.

The life that CAREs is in the know in respect of what is happening in the lives of others. It shares updates and is able to rally support when needed.

The life that CAREs embraces the call of Galatians 6:2 – Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

It manifests Eph 4: 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another……..

It shows concern for others and wants the best for them even to the extent of making personal sacrifices:

Phil 2: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

 

 

  1. The life that CAREs is generous

The life that CAREs relishes the opportunity to assist others. It looks outward. It has palms that are more often turned down in giving that up in receiving.

It gives freely of its time and resources. It accepts 2 Cor 9 to be real to it and acts accordingly in its generosity.

2 Cor 9: 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

 

The life that CAREs is sensitive to the needs of those that are challenged by their circumstances.

Matt 25: 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

The generosity of spirit goes beyond the material giving of resources. The life that CAREs has a forgiving heart. It is long-suffering. It is not so smart as to find hidden insults and disrespects in everything that others say and do.

1 Cor 3: 18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”[a];

 

  1. The life that CAREs allows joy to be manifest in it

The life that CAREs is not spared life challenges. It is not immune to illness, conflict, financial and other woes.

However, the life that CAREs fiercely protects its JOY. It refuses to let any of life’s problems to steal its Joy.

Phil 4: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

That inner peace that is the blessing that those who are in Christ receive is the secret to joyfulness and being able to rejoice in the face of adversity.

The life that CAREs is a model of calm assurance when the storms of life assail.

 

  1. The life that CAREs trains the “prompter” in its head

The life that CAREs relates to the fact its thoughts, words and deeds are inspired by the equivalent of a teleprompter in its head.

The teleprompter presents words that it might say. It can opt not to say those words. It realizes that the teleprompter develops prompts that it thinks reflects what the life that CAREs would want to say.

The teleprompter is not infallible and will produce prompts that are not in keeping with what the life wants. The life that CAREs spends time training its teleprompter.

It conducts the training through deep meditation and constant affirmation of what it wants to express. By constantly working to renew its mind, it trains its teleprompter and gradually eliminates undesirable prompts. The process also encourages the presentation of prompts that are aligned to its principles.

The danger with an untrained teleprompter is that an undesirable prompt might be used in a moment of distraction. This reflected in those “I feel like biting my tongue” moments.

James 3: We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.

The ability to bring its teleprompter under increasing control is a hallmark of a life that CAREs.

James highlights the magnitude of the task of getting your teleprompter to produce the prompts that ought to reflect your life in Christ. The teleprompter is actually caught up in a battle for your mid. It receives contradictory instructions based on the remnant of self that is still alive.

James 3: All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

But there is hope:

James 1: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

There is a distinction between man-made, earthly wisdom and the wisdom that comes from heaven. The life that CAREs educates its teleprompter with respect to the differences.

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

 

  1. The life that CAREs is willing to share its faith

The life that CAREs is not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. It is not shy in identifying its commitment to living a life that is obedient to God and His commands. This intention to serve God is expressed in word and in deed in the family, at school, in the workplace among friends and indeed, among any one with whom the life that CAREs makes contact.

1 Peter 3: 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

The life that CAREs is evangelical. It has the message of salvation to share and does it. The life that CAREs is conscious that all of mankind have sinned. It knows that there is a price for sin – the second death. It knows that unless it presents the sacrifice of Christ as the only cure for sin many souls will be lost.

It is deeply aware that many well-meaning souls are being lost daily because of ignorance, procrastination and false doctrine. The life that CAREs sets about sharing the truth to family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours and those with whom it comes in contact.

 

  1. The life that CAREs makes its calling and election sure

The life that CAREs understands that this present life is a way station. We are here for a little while. It is concerned about ensuring that the next phase in its journey goes well. It prepares itself for its existence in this life and the next.

2 Peter 1: His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,[a] make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

Remember, the life that CAREs is first of all connected to the Divine Source. In order achieve that you must access Him through Jesus Christ. The access through Christ involves believing that we are under the sentence of death because of our sins.

We must accept that Christ paid the price for our sins when He died on the cross and was resurrected from the dead. The price He paid is applied to our debt when we confess Him as Lord and decide to pursue a life that follows the principles laid out in the Bible, including being immersed in watery baptism for the removal of our sins.