5 Things to Quit… Or Replace?
Every day, we are bombarded with messages from our current culture. Some of these are out-and-out lies, and we recognize those, but often the sentiment is just a little more subtle. There is a truth to what is being said and it sounds good, but it must be balanced with the Word of God.
I’ve thought of this often when I scroll through Facebook, and I see those pretty little memes that people like to share. So often, we will like the way that something is worded, or it will strike a chord in our heart, and we can just “share” that image without delving into what it is really saying. And too often, we can spend so much time thoughtlessly ingesting such messages, without really examining their truth, that we start to adopt them in our own life. We can find that they color the way we make decisions, and we can even find ourselves parroting that advice to friends!
Recently, I saw something that was shared by a “Christian” acquaintance of mine, and it looked like such a perfect example of this! Here is what it said:
5 Things to Quit:
1. Trying to please everyone
2. Fearing change
3. Living in the past
4. Putting yourself down
On the surface, this list sounds good and in certain contexts, may even be applicable! But I think that these things, if implemented just like this, can turn someone to selfishness. Let’s delve into each one individually, and I’ll show you what I mean.
Quit trying to please everyone.
There is a lot of truth to this! The fact is that you can’t please everyone all of the time. There will always be someone disappointed in what you do. That is just the nature of life! The problem with this statement is that most people come to the conclusion, “I can’t please everyone, so I’m going to do what feels good to me.” That is not the perspective that a Christian should have! The TRUTH is that we should be striving to please the Lord above everyone else, including ourselves. We should be taking the time to ask the Lord what He wants us to do, in every situation big and small, not just picking and choosing who we want to please in the moment.
“We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29
Quit fearing change.
It is a normal human reaction to resist change in our lives. Some are more prone to this in their personality than others, but the fact remains that when we are happy and comfortable, we have a hard time going into something that we know will be uncomfortable! Yet that is exactly what is required for us to grow. Once again, this sentiment without the parameters of Biblical context could turn someone to self-sufficiency. The sentiment that I hear behind this is, “I am enough. I can make my own happiness. I know what is best for me and what makes me feel good, so I can enact and embrace the change in my life.” A subtle difference, but it is important! The TRUTH is, “I don’t have to fear change, because I know that every change that comes into my life comes from the hand of my Heavenly Father, Who has designed this growing experience just for me. He knows what is best for me and what will make me most like Him.”
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11
Quit living in the past.
There are a lot of people in our world that are haunted by their past. Things done to them, and things they have done themselves, can become stumbling-blocks to moving on. The TRUTH is that there is a lot of value to examining our past, learning from it, and then leaving it with the Lord. Knowing that you have been forgiven by the King of Heaven goes a long way to moving away from your past, and knowing that you can forgive others because of how the Lord forgave you, can help to heal those scars. Just mentally telling yourself to quit living in the past doesn’t address the real problem!
“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified…” 1 Corinthians 6:11
Quit putting yourself down.
This is another one that can just ring of selfishness. The idea that I am someone special – just because I am – is a sentiment that has to be rooted in pride and constantly preened. The TRUTH is that I do have value and worth, and I am someone special – but it is not because of me, but because God loved me! Anyone who has been saved knows what they are really like, and has been confronted with the depravity of their sin nature. And yet, that person has also realized just how much God loves them, and that He would have come to the cross if they were the only person in the world. That is where true value and worth are established.
“But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke 12:7
I am convinced that “overthinking” is simply not thinking about something Biblically. Just like a pebble in your shoe that you keep rolling around but don’t actually dump out, it keeps bothering you and causing greater problems, the longer it is there. If there is something unresolved in our life, it irritates our mind and we keep wanting to come back to that thing and examine and understand it. We can have feelings of guilt, unforgiveness, bitterness, and worry that take up a tremendous amount of mental space. If we take the time to capture those thoughts, apply them to Scripture and deal with them Biblically (that is, make sure that we are doing what we are responsible to do, and leaving the rest for God to deal with in other people), then those thoughts simply stop coming up so often. The TRUTH is that if something keeps coming up in your thought life, it is fruitless to tell yourself to just stop thinking about it. It must be addressed and replaced with a Biblical truth. Then every time that thought comes back, you need to think about the truth that the Lord showed you, and you will find that wrong thought disappearing.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
I think the bottom line with this list is that all of these things are good to a degree, but only if couched with Biblical truth. If you just try to remove these things from your life (focusing on the negative and what you shouldn’t be doing), you will have little success, or just turn to more selfishness in your life. However, if you take these things and replace them with something good (focusing on the positive), you will find yourself building good spiritual habits in your life! Rather than quitting, let’s focus on replacing!
Do you see how deceptive it can be? Things that sound so good on the surface can be very dangerous if applied incorrectly. We need to take the time to examine advice that we receive and give to others!