How’s your thought life? Entering the right data will produce the right results.
“The computer made a mistake!” Have you ever said that? Most of the time, you eventually had to admit the truth: The computer didn’t make the mistake—you did.
Entering bad data into a computer produces bad output. Faulty assumptions deliver flawed conclusions. Our minds work exactly like computers do. The quality of what we feed our minds produces the quality of the results we achieve.
Input controls choice. Choice drives actions. Actions determine results. Garbage in, garbage out.
Your mind is a storehouse of facts, figures, images, beliefs and opinions. The supply in your storehouse has been collected since childhood, added to by parents, siblings, teachers, neighbors, friends and acquaintances. Your storehouse is further supplied by what you read, what you watch and what you experience.
What you have stored in your mind creates the assumptions that drive the decisions you make and the actions you take.
So how do you know you have the right stuff in the storehouse? How do you know the right data has been entered? If thoughts produce results, how do you know you have the right thoughts to create the right results?
GARBAGE CHECK One way to know is to do a garbage check. Ask yourself: Do I have areas of repeated failure in my life? Am I:
- Always broke, existing from paycheck to paycheck?
- Constantly entering or leaving a painful relationship?
- Continually worried about my weight?
- Dependent on alcohol, food, cigarettes, work or drugs to give me momentary relief from that gnawing feeling inside?
If the answer is yes to any or all of these, then the voice in your head—which I call the High Priestess of Guilt and Condemnation—has set up a community in your head and populated it with thugs assigned to enforce wrong ideas. The High Priestess and her little friends strive to focus your energy on taking action, knowing that focusing on actions produces defeat.
The answer isn’t in the actions; that’s the end of the pipeline. The answer is in the assumptions that create the actions—the beginning of the pipeline.
I Needed Drano
I used to work 60 hours a week, convinced that work gave me my identity. I smoked cigarettes until my office looked as if a dragon worked there. I was overdrawn at the bank and in debt up to my ears.
I thought the next promotion would be the answer, the next diet would be the ticket, the next raise would get me out of debt, the next cigarette would be my last. Yeah, and the tooth fairy pays off in hundred-dollar bills.
My life was filled with promises to myself that always ended in failure, followed by shame, frustration and a solemn promise to try again. I figured God was trying to teach me something to build my character.
Here is a news flash: God is a good God. He wants only the best for us. He doesn’t put us through turmoil to teach us something.
God loves us more than we love even our own children (Luke 11:11-13). His Word is a manual for life. The problem is that most of us were never given the owner’s manual. It sure missed my mailbox.
God doesn’t create an obstacle course for us to see how well we perform. Want some proof? Look at James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no change or shadow of turning” (MEV).
Does that sound like somebody who’s putting you through trials to teach you something? No way. So where does the bad stuff come from? Simple—check out John 10:10. We enter into error because we don’t do what our Maker tells us in the owner’s manual.
Here’s the Deal
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2). That’s the bottom line.
The patterns of this world are driven and reinforced by you-know-who in your head. She’ll point you to the world for answers, but the world doesn’t have the answers. In fact, the Bible tells us not to be conformed to the patterns of this world. Instead, we must be transformed through the renewing of our minds by the Word of God.