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Born to Be a Winner, Part 2

From the series Precious in His Sight

Chip’s wife, Theresa, shares how to develop five areas of a healthy self-concept. This message was given to an all-female audience a few years ago, but guys, there is much application for you, too - either for yourself, or for the women in your life.

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Message Transcript

I’ve given you, here, two resources for Scripture memory.

The first one – we have some at our resource table – is called the “Topical Memory System”; it’s put out by the Navigators. And it’s a wonderful tool to help you learn how to begin to do Scripture memory, on a regular basis. And it has a systematic plan to follow – for those of us who really like organization – and it will help you to make Scripture memory a part of your life. It takes you through a process of how to do this over a period of time, and how to review, so that you won’t forget the Scriptures that you’ve memorized.

The very first time I did Scripture memory was probably 20 years ago, and that’s what I started with. And I got that packet, and I memorized, whatever it was – the 60 verses in the packet. And, after that, I started writing out my own, from the Bible, just like they are on those little cards. It gives you a topic, and it tells you the verse.

And I can’t tell you what it’s done in my life. It’s changed me. I don’t respond in situations the way I used to, because His Word is there, and He reminds me, like that, and He brings it to my mind. But see, we have to put some work into it. We have to do something; we have to act upon His truth.

And another tool is a memory card handout that we’ve prepared for you, and it has two passages for each of the self-image concepts that we have in the front of your booklet, and some of the things that we’re talking about. So, it’s topical, and there are two passages each. And you could get started tomorrow! So, tonight, you’re gonna put your little cards together, and just think of what can happen. And it’s just a great thing to do. You’ll be so glad that you hid God’s Word in your heart. You’ll be so glad it’s there.

Well, the third thing (C), here, under “Renewing Your Mind,” is that we need to train our minds to think on what’s true. As I said, it doesn’t just automatically happen. We have to train our minds; we have to do something. In Philippians 4:8, it says, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” It’s a choice that we make. It’s something that we need to do.

Colossians 3:2: “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are of the earth.” What does it say? It says, “Set your mind.” It’s a choice that we make. It’s something that we need to do. It’s stopping, and making a decision not to dwell on the negative thoughts about ourselves, and to replace those thoughts with what God says is true about you. It’s to take those negative thoughts . . . See, you can’t just decide, I’m not going to think that. It doesn’t work. What you have to do is to decide, I’m not going think that. I’m going to replace it with God’s truth. This is what I am going to think.

And part of that, for me, happened as I began to study my own thinking patterns. I began to think about what I was thinking, and watch myself, and hear what I was thinking. And it was amazing to me, some of the negative thoughts that were going through my mind. And so, I had to become aware, first of all, of what I was thinking and ask, then, Why am I thinking this? Well, if I had that thought, okay, why am I thinking it? And then, I need to ask, Is this true? Is this consistent with God’s truth, or not? And if it’s not, you see, then I need to stop that thinking pattern. And I’ve given you two resources, also, for this.

The first one is to learn a healthy self-concept – you have this in your booklet. And this has five areas of a healthy self-concept, of what we need to believe about ourselves. And, if you will take these five things, and read them out loud to yourself every day, for three weeks, you will have them memorized, and you won’t even have to work at it. I guarantee you will. And it’s a good thing to think about every day.

And the other thing is to use “Stop” cards as a tool to stop negative self-talk, and replace it with God’s truth. And what I mean by using “Stop” cards is to take a 3x5 card, and when you study your thinking patterns, and you begin to become aware of some of the false beliefs, of the negative things that you believe about yourself that you know aren’t true, and they’re affecting how you’re responding, and how you’re living, in different situations, then you write that misbelief down on one side of a card - of a 3x5 card - whatever that is.
And I’ve given you examples of mine. Maybe some of you have the same ones. So, these aren’t ones for you to use unless they apply to your life, but . . . Say my misbelief, at one time, was, I need other people’s approval in order to be happy. Okay, I write that down on one side of the card. Now, I write “Stop,” real big. And so, I used this. As I would go over Scripture memory cards, I would take out these cards of these misbeliefs, and I would read them over. “I need other people’s approval in order to be happy.” Stop! That’s not true.

And then, I’d turn it over, and read the truth, and think about the truth. And the truth is, I want people’s approval of me, but I do not need it. With God’s approval, I am no longer compelled to earn love and acceptance. I am free to be me. You see, that’s who I truly am. That’s God’s truth about me, and that’s what God wants me to believe.

Another example, the third one down: “My value as a person depends on what others think of me.” Stop! That’s not true. My value as a person has already been determined by God, because of my relationship to Christ. I will not give the power to any human being to determine my value. I will not do that.

And see, in my mind, you know, I’m thinking about my Dad. It doesn’t matter what he thinks. It doesn’t matter if I please him, or not. It doesn’t matter if he ever tells me that he’s proud of me. You see, it doesn’t matter, because I have God’s approval. And that’s all I need. And I will not give him the power to determine my value. But see, I needed to learn that truth, so I could apply it to my life. And when you use these kinds of things as tools, then, after a while, you start thinking that automatically.

You see, what it is, it’s training your mind to think on what’s true. We have a book – I think –back there Telling Yourself the Truth, and it explains more in detail how to do this. And it’s really helpful. I’ve found it really helpful to me. And I just want you to know that I did these things over a period of years. I mean, it didn’t happen in two months. It’s been over a period of years that I’ve worked, and I’ve worked hard at it.

The third thing, here, is to pray, and ask God to help you think the way He wants you to. To pray. Prayer is a powerful thing. Ask God to help you. You know, I talk to lots of people, and they’re really good about praying for everybody else. But they don’t pray for themselves. And you need to pray for you, and ask God to help you.

Prayer is a vehicle whereby God displays His power toward His people. And I want this power at work in my life, and I want to depend on Him to change me, because He’s the only one who can. You know, I need to put in all the raw material for Him to work. I have my responsibility, but only God can change my life. And I need to pray, and ask Him to do that, and to seek His guidance and help. And I know He’ll be faithful to do that, because He promises that He will.

And when we pray, you know, another aspect of our prayer needs to be with thanksgiving. It needs to be with thanksgiving for the way that He has made you, flaws and all. To be thankful, to be thankful for the background that you came from, to thank Him for the kinds of parents that you had, and quit blaming other people for your struggles. We do need to understand the influence that our parents had on our lives – it’s important, but it’s important to understand – to help us to grow, you see, not to blame them.

My parents, when I was growing up – they didn’t know the Lord, and we didn’t have the Word of God as a guide in our home. And they were parenting out of the concepts that they had learned from their own backgrounds. And I love my parents, and I choose to thank God for the good things that they instilled in my life, and I’m trying to learn from the negative things.

And so, we need to be thankful for our past, and we need to thank God for His forgiveness, for what we’ve learned through our failures, and through our struggles, and thank Him that He takes everything – everything in our lives – and works it for good, no matter how difficult it is, that He will use it for good, in some way, as we trust in Him. And as we pray, we need to submit to God, the Bible says, and to yield our lives under His control, under the mighty hand of God, and yet, resist the devil. To resist – to yield to God, but resist the devil, and resist those negative thoughts. And, He says, the devil will flee from you.

You know, I don’t have to listen, when those thoughts come to my mind. I don’t have to dwell on them. I don’t have to mull, over and over in my mind, on negative thoughts, you see, because I can stop them right in their tracks, if I choose to do that. But, sometimes, I need the tools to be able to do that, and that’s what we’re talking about tonight.

In Ephesians 1:17-19 is a wonderful prayer. If you don’t know what to pray for yourself, I want you to pray this prayer for yourself, and write it down, and, when you pray, pray it to God. It says in Ephesians 1:17-19, to “ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, to please give me a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of You. I pray that the eyes of my heart may be enlightened so that I may know what is the hope of Your calling, what are the riches of the glory of Your inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of Your power towards me.” So, if you don’t know what to pray, pray that, and God will answer in a great way.

Number four, here, is to walk by faith – to walk by faith, not by sight. “Faith” is believing in, and acting on, the Word of God, even though my circumstances may look the opposite, and even though my feelings may be telling me something else. It’s to step out on the promises of God.

It’s not based on feelings. It’s acting on God’s promises, on what’s true. In Hebrews 11:6, it says, “But without faith, it’s impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek after Him.”

And in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” It’s stepping out and trusting God when we don’t see the answer, when we don’t know what the outcome is going to be. And it’s by faith, you see, that we hold on to God’s promises about us, and we refuse to listen to the lies that Satan brings into our minds, or that we have learned to hear in our minds. It’s by faith that we do that. And it takes a step of faith for us to make a commitment, even this weekend, to start filling your mind with God’s truth, on a regular basis.

Maybe there are some of you who don’t read your Bible regularly, and you don’t pray regularly – you’re not seeking God’s guidance; you’re not putting His Word deep in your heart. And you see, it takes a step of faith to say, “You know, I’m going to start this by faith. I’m going to step out.” And you’re trusting that God is going to work in your life. And He will. I promise you, He will. It’s by faith that I accept God’s forgiveness, and that I choose not to dwell on my past.

It’s a step of faith, an act of faith. And faith is stepping out, as we said, and believing God’s promises, when we haven’t seen the answer yet.

And, I guarantee you, if you take seriously some of the truths that we have talked about this weekend, and apply them to your lives, on a consistent basis, over the next year, and you come back to the retreat a year from now, you will be amazed at how God has worked in your life, and how much He’s changed you. I can guarantee you that.

And so, I just really challenge you to take a step of faith, and begin to get in His Word, begin to put His Word in your heart, begin to memorize His Word, and to pray. Pray for yourself, and ask Him for His help to change your thinking, and help you to believe what’s true.

Well, number five, here, is to get a partner, to get a partner. God has never asked us to grow alone. And I’ve seen a lot of that happening here, this weekend, at the retreat. It seems like people are really connecting very well.

In Ecclesiastes 4:9 and 10, it says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor, for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.” We need each other. We desperately need each other. God has given us each other. We need to encourage one another. We need to help each other believe what’s true, and to become all that He designed us to be.

And so, I encourage you, if you don’t already have a partner, to find someone – a friend, or get involved in a small group – someone to hold you accountable to be in God’s Word, and to grow
spiritually, and, you know, to encourage you in your faith. We need to help each other, because we can’t grow alone. We need each other.

And number six is, our words of encouragement may instill a healthy self-image in another’s life. The words that come out of our mouths are powerful. They’re powerful. And they can either build up another person, or they can tear them down. The power of an encouraging word is an amazing thing. And we know it is. We know it is. You know, when somebody encourages us in our faith, in our walk with the Lord, in who we are, it makes us feel so good, and it gives us hope.

In Ephesians 4:29, it says, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification, according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.” And what this means is that our words should be a ministry of grace to others.