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Actually the thought is the difference between the law and grace. The way of thinking is important under grace, because that is what gives us access, or not, to what God has given us.
Few Christians have considered this point.
If you want to change permanently, these are the thoughts that need to change in first place, then everything else will also change, not under the influence of things but under the influence of the thought. The image is this: as a sportsman who wishes to do a somersault, he begins by simply turning his head in the direction where he wants to go, and the body will follow this impulse.
Without this impetus the body cannot turn in the air.
Jesus said that if someone wants to follow Him, which is to be His disciple, the first thing is to renounce oneself.
Matthew 16:24 then Jesus said to his disciples: If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
It is the first thing to do, otherwise it is impossible to benefit from what God has given us.
Jesus did not say either "Ask God to help you to renounce your own self". He said that we had to do it ourselves, because nobody can do it in our place, it is a personal decision.
Often, renouncing oneself is an action wrongly perceived by people. They believe that we need to put themselves down, to belittle themselves, to live in humiliation. But to renounce oneself has nothing to do with it. If you want to radically change and be able to enjoy all aspects of your new birth, you must first decide to renounce the person you were so far. In practice, this means agreeing to give up who you are, make him die.
There is a second element which sometimes blocks our transformation. We are often unaware of it, but everyone must deal with this problem sooner or later. Jesus said that those who wish to follow Him must first renounce themselves. Without a self-denial everything is blocked, or it will only occur a surface change that will not last in time.
Which means that there may be situations where we have a strong desire to change for the better, so we spend time studying, digging, looking how to get to our goal: change.
This information is essential, because we come up against it in many situations where people want change but cannot make it happen, or don’t see as much fruit as they wish.
Our 'self' is at the center of everything, because it is what we are humanly.
We need because it is our person, what we are. It must simply be emptied, die, then be filled.
The 'self' has this power to wish changes and keep them from happening at the same time.
This is why Jesus said that the first thing, the one above all things, is to die to self, to renounce to what made us so far, if we want to follow Him, and have access to all what God has setup in His plan for us.
The ‘self’ can say: ' I want things to change, but I don't want to change’ . Which make us feel that on one hand we can get an impression of desire for growth, and on the other hand we do not see the expected results. Then people say: "But why can't I make it? "Things seem to start off, and run out after a while".
Totally renouncing oneself will produce this effect when a person wants to perform a somersault for example.
The same dynamic takes place for an athlete when he wants to turn like a spinning top, he will start by turning the head, follow then the shoulders, the torso, and legs will follow the same direction. The renunciation, i.e. accepting that everything about my personality is dead and buried at the cross with Christ, will open and make every part of my way of thinking available to change.
It's a like as if I was to change the content of a bottle. I have to first empty it all of its content, and thereby make it capable of receiving a new content (a way of thinking according to God).
Often Christians want to change their content (their thoughts), without emptying their own thoughts first. It is important for a total success to tell God something like: " Father, I just emptied myself of everything, I don't have any opinion on anything, I don't think any more with such or such influence, I got rid of everything which I think is good or bad, I'm in a position of neutral thought. Now Holy Spirit you can start unpacking in the shelves of my thought, what God says, what God thinks, so I will think like him, and I will also speak like him ».
This is what will help you to move forward…
Bye for now.