Let’s go back to the questions asked at the beginning of this study. But this time, we’ll be looking inward on how we communicate, as though we were in the position to make these statements, and not necessarily having them made to us.
- You get it right most of the time.
- You mess it up every once in a while.
In life, we have to make decisions as to what we want to be like, and how we want to communicate. Do you want to be a good communicator or a bad one? Remember something; communication really is the expression of your personality. How would you want to see things; this would be dependent on what results you want to get.
Let’s take an example here: you have a guy who has been doing whatever he’s been doing for a while, no matter how long that has been, and then he makes a mistake and probably makes this mistake every once in a while. Now, I can see it this way – he makes this mistake every once in a while; meaning, just once in a while, he blows it. Therefore, I can decide to say to him, every once in a while you mess things up. If I decide to say this, I am turning his attention, as well as my attention, on the failure. The failure has been magnified and glorified, meanwhile it’s just once in a while he gets it wrong, and not all the time. If you say he messes it up once in a while, then this immediately lets us know that he probably gets it right most of the time. That’s what it sounds like, so why not give him the credit for getting it right most times, rather than glorify the failures that happen only once in a while.
When you choose to focus on the negatives this way, it says something about your personality, more than it does, the one you are speaking to. It shows you are not going to be a happy person because your communication reveals your inner processes – the images and thoughts that you process within you. Your mind works on the failures of others more than their successes and that’s going to affect your success. Even if you had been very successful, you’ll begin to bring some retardation to your speed of success; something is going to go wrong if it’s not already gone wrong. So you need to stop in your tracks and say: ‘I’ve got control over the processes of my mind, and over my future. I want to take control; I want to make a change, and determine the quality of my personality.’ You’ll have to process something different in your mind. See how important but simple this is.
Our next point is Attitude. Remember that this is coming from the definition of the mind, which we already discussed. Let’s recap on what we said about the mind with respect to attitudes. In our definition of the mind, we said, “The mind is the faculty of a man’s reasoning and thoughts; it holds the power of recognition, imagination and appreciation; it is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes”. We already talked about the processing of feelings and emotions, but what about ‘the result in attitudes’?
First, it’s important for us to recognize that we are responsible for our attitudes; but what is attitude? Attitude is the disposition to act in ways determined by the mental processes of our feelings, emotions, beliefs or reasoning. This means the processes of our feelings, mind, emotions, beliefs, and our reasoning, determine our attitudes. What we process inside our minds come out in our attitudes, therefore we are responsible for our attitudes. We are responsible for the way we act and why we respond the way we do: these are all attitudes.
The mind is the information-processing centre of the human person. Recall our definition of the brain and its similarities to this, but this is different because the mind is spiritual. The mind being the information-processing centre of the human person, collects and processes all the information received through the nervous system of the outward man, and through the spiritual senses of the inward man – the human spirit. The interpretation and eventual dissemination of information from the mind determines human behaviour and attitude. The mind collects and processes information, and then disseminates information. This information goes through your nervous system, and through your body into action.
What do you want to get out of what you have in your mind? You make a choice daily. The exciting reality of the mind is that its content and processes can be managed. This means the content and processes of the mind can be reorganized and reprogrammed. One who’s born again is born after God and has the life and nature of God. Your spirit has received the very nature of its creator, and it means you have an excellent spirit. However, this doesn’t mean you will walk in that excellence; you have to make the choice to do so.
The best things of our spirit are expressed through the mind. The Bible says in Nehemiah 8:10 10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared. Isn’t this wonderful; in effect, he says, enjoy the day and help others enjoy the day. That’s exactly what this means. Then he says, ‘… for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ Note that the Scripture says, ‘’’neither be sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. The expression, ‘neither be ye sorry’ is not properly rendered in English; the Hebrew is ‘âtsab’, and it means to make or process. So what the Word is saying here is, don’t make or process pain, grief, displeasure or worry. Atsab also means to carve or fabricate. So don’t carve out or fabricate pain. Don’t process pain or grief because the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Be strong and not weak; prosper and don’t be a failure; don’t manufacture or carve out pain or displeasure. Don’t let it happen because it will destroy you. The Joy of the Lord is your strength, and God wants you to be strong otherwise He won’t use you. Remember what He said to Joshua: ‘one thing I desire of you, be strong and very courageous’ (Joshua 1:9). And now Nehemiah tells us that this strength is in the Joy of the Lord. So if Satan wants to make sure you displease God, he’ll go after your joy; he’ll stop you from being joyful and you’ll begin to blame everyone around you for your feelings and your emotions. You’ll have an attitude, and when you go on with this attitude, you’ll get weaker spiritually. The reason for your weakness is that you’ve let go of your joy, and the joy of the Lord is your strength. Refusing to process pain and grief does not mean you are denying their existence, it just means you don’t let them have dominion over you or take a hold of you.
God said to Joshua, I am with you, wherever you go, and I will not fail you. Glory to God! He said, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you, and no man shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life (Joshua 1:5). Then He said, just one thing I require of you: be strong and very courageous. How was he going to be strong? – The joy of the Lord is your strength.
The Joy of the Lord is expressed in singing, laughter, and through expressing words of praise to God. It’s expressed in that loving harmony that you have with your brothers and sisters in Christ, speaking positive, encouraging and stirring words to them. That’s the joy of the Lord! Refuse to dwell on pain, displeasure, or worry; refuse all the negatives. The Bible says in Philippians 4:6: Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
We already established that the best things of our spirits are expressed through the mind. Proverbs 4:23 says, 23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. It means guard your heart with all diligence. The NIV says, 23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. This means you’ve got to guard your heart with everything you’ve got because it is the wellspring of life.
Remember, your mind is the doorway to your human spirit, so if you are going to guard your heart, where are you going to stand? At your mind. Therefore, mount guard over your mind; guard your thoughts and your thinking. That’s what the Word says. Verse 24- 25 of the same chapter says, 24 Keep your mouth free from perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. 25 Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. This means don’t deviate. Let your eyes look straight on.
God has spoken to your life, maybe about your work, or your family; it could be about your marriage, children, or finances; no matter what it is, don’t lose what God has given to you. Speak God’s Word and look straight ahead as the Word says. Refuse deviation and don’t speak perversity; don’t say the wrong things, which are outside of what God has said concerning you.