Proverbs 23:7a, Romans 2:4d, 1 Corinthians 6:20, and John 3:16
Stinking Thinking refers to the negative thoughts that torment us especially when we are HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired) or have thoughts such as a distorted view of God and self, negative thinking, justification, fear, and anxiety. We will address each of these topics so we can discern between the lies we have believed over the years and replace them with God’s truth. Our goal is to equip you so you can have victory in these areas.
First, the Word of God says in Proverbs 23:7a, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” What we think about ourselves dictates how we see ourselves, God, and others, and how we respond to things. If we see ourselves as children of God, loved, cherished and adopted into God’s family, we will see we are truly special, set apart by God for good works. We will have a more positive view of the world. If we feel we are unlovable because of our past sins, and not a person of value, we will feel depressed, lonely, and hopeless. Can you see that what we think determines how we feel?
My first distorted view of God started when I was a very young child around 6 or 7 years old. I saw God as an angry God who was unapproachable. I was told as a child, if I did something wrong God would punish me, I was constantly waiting for the hammer to drop on my head every time I did something wrong. The church was old and had beautiful stained-glass windows, but inside it was dark, cold, and people spoke in Latin. I did not see the love of God there. All I saw were strict rules and harsh punishment for disobeying. I saw students hit with rulers on a regular basis. This kept me hiding again, like I did at home, when my father was having one of his angry outbursts.
It’s the goodness of God that leads to repentance. (Romans 2:4d) One method to modify behavior is through fear of judgement; the other is through love. God wants us to obey Him out of love and not out of fear. If you love someone and they love you, you want to spend time with this person, but when you think of someone as a harsh person, this is not someone who you feel safe and comfortable with. Do you see the difference? God is love, and His grace is undeserved. Because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, the least I can do is serve Him and obey His Word. I was bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20); the precious blood of Jesus paid the penalty for my sins and the sins of the whole world.
I did not see the love of God evident in my old church. It wasn’t until I was 34, when I attended a small Baptist church in NJ, that I heard the gospel for the first time. The building was very plain, no stained-glass windows. There was a cross in the front where the preacher stood and a piano. But one thing I did see displayed was the love of God that these people had. That’s what drew me to Jesus. It was the preaching of the Word of God through the Bible and the love of God in the words and actions and on the faces of the people who attended that small church.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son… ” He loved us so much He gave His Son to die for you and me; that is a picture of sacrificial love. Thank you, Jesus, for willingly dying on the cross for us, I know it’s your love for the world that held you on that cross.
I believe the enemy is hard at work to distort our view of God, to make us doubt that He truly loves us and cares about us. Look at Eve in the garden, the snake (Satan), the deceiver and father of lies, trying to plant seeds of doubt in Eve’s mind regarding whether God’s Word can be trusted. I can imagine she was thinking, “God is holding back something good from me, He does not really love me because if He did, He would give me everything I want.” Adam and Eve did not know what was best for them, and it’s the same with us; we do not know what’s best for us either. God told us not to have sex before marriage. Was He holding out on us? No, actually He was protecting us, especially those of us who would abort our babies. He was trying to protect us and our babies.
I realized that it was out of love that God did not want me to have sex outside of marriage, because He wanted to protect me. If only I had trusted God and invited Him into my decision-making process and believed that He would provide for my baby and I, then perhaps I would have had courage to choose life for my baby. Instead my distorted view of God made me fearful to approach Him with my needs, which was the enemy’s plan. If the enemy can cause us to panic and not seek God’s wisdom, provision, and protection, then he has won the battle.
What were your distorted views of God when you were younger?
How do you see Him now?