“The Lord has said to me in the strongest terms: ‘Do not think like everyone else does.’”
- Isaiah 8:11 NLT
When I was at a gathering some time ago, I overheard some people talking about their various ailments, and how they expected their afflictions to multiply as they got older. If I had heard this conversation years ago, I would have joined in their woeful sentiments and shouted a hearty, “Amen!” Instead, a holy fear came over me and warned me not to participate.
The reason I can't agree with attitudes like these is because my mind has been renewed by God's Word, according to the apostle Paul's command in Romans 12:2 (NASB). He writes, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The New Living Translation puts it this way: “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Because I've spent so much time studying God's Word, and because I've chosen to give its truths first place in my life, my beliefs and attitudes have dramatically changed. I won't say that I've reached perfection by any means, but I've made it my goal to “be constantly renewed in the spirit of [my] mind, having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude.” (Ephesians 4:23 AMP) So now when I hear conversations like the one I heard at the aforementioned gathering, I immediately begin meditating on the truths that have given me a whole new outlook on issues like these. One of my favorites is: “[The Lord] forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's!” (Psalm 103:3,5 NLT) Another is: “You shall live a long, good life; like standing grain, you’ll not be harvested until it’s time!” (Job 5:26 TLB)
I'm not denying the fact that we live in a fallen world, or that our bodies are aging every day. What I'm saying here is that I'd rather believe God for good things, than believe the devil for bad ones. For most of my life, I had the attitude that people just naturally get sick, and their bodies fall apart as they get older. It never occurred to me that I should make an effort to resist sickness or infirmity, or that I should ask the Lord to spare me from these things. But after almost 20 years of studying God's Word, and listening to Scripture-based preaching on the subject, I'm convinced that it's the Lord's will for us to believe Him for good health and other blessings He promises us. Just because strokes run in my family, am I to believe that I'm doomed to be a victim also? Hebrews 6:11 says that it's faith that pleases God. Wouldn't it please and glorify God more if I prayed and trusted Him to spare me from this affliction, rather than to assume that I'm to be stricken with it at some point in my life? Even Jesus prayed, “Deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:13 NASB) Since there's no question in my mind that strokes, heart attacks, and cancer are evil, I have no reservations about asking God to protect me and my loved ones from them.
I believe that we need to apply this principle, not only to health issues, but to other aspects of our earthly lives, too. If my nation's economy collapses, should my family and I naturally expect to suffer financial ruin? Or would it please God more if we believed Him to take care of us, and even to prosper us, as His Word promises? I read a famous quote once that said, “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours.” You can focus on all the negative aspects of our earthly existence and accept their impact on your health, your family, and your finances. You can even embrace them by talking about them and expecting them. You can make the devil's job real easy for him. But it's my sincerest hope that you will let God change the way you think, so you can believe Him for better and brighter things!
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for thinking “like everyone else does”. (Isaiah 8:11 NLT) I ask that You transform me into a new person by changing the way I think, and help me to do my part in the process. Teach me to devote myself to Your Word, so that my mind will be renewed by Your life-changing truths. Thank You that as I believe You for good things, I will be blessed, and You will be glorified!
- J. M. Farro