There’s fewer things that make my day like a well-worded, well-timed, encouraging text.
You might say, “Well that’s just one of your love languages. I don’t care about getting texts, mehhh…” or something like that, but I think you’re full of baloney. EVERYONE loves feeling loved, and to know that another human being cares enough about you to tell you that they care about you in specific ways… well, that’s just the best. If you haven’t had that happen in a while (or ever), shoot me your number and I’ll help you out. Or just keep reading, cause this is about to get awesome.
I think the reason they’re so powerful is because someone else is agreeing with and making known, the wonderful things that you already believe are true about you.
The trouble though, is that there are a million things in this life that are vying to suck us dry of our self-confidence. More than that, we’ve lost hope in the honest belief that we’re cool, interesting, attractive, admirable, kind, lovely, or even worthwhile because someone said otherwise, or because we know someone who is better “qualified” in those ways. We’ve been made to believe that we’ve gotta earn those sorts of badges, and that being called something like “adventurous” or “loving” comes solely from action. But really, those qualities are wholly conceived in belief, and only are made manifest by the actions. Let me explain what I mean.
You’ve probably heard that verse in Romans before, “Do not conform to the ways of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” That first part sounds real nice and dandy, doesn’t it. “Stick it to the man (the world), and be different! Do what’s right! Don’t party, don’t sleep around, and get good grades!” Nailed it. But that second part? *Patrick Star voice* “Yeah, well, it just means to think good thoughts and stuff…” But really though, what does that mean and why does it matter?
DO —> SAY —> THINK
That’s how things work, we’ve been told. We do cool things that somehow merit somebody saying nice things about us, which only then puts us in a place of thinking well of ourselves. It’s the way that we’ve been raised, especially in school. If we perform well, then we’re told that we performed well, therefore we believe that we’ve performed well. It seems nice, especially to my fellow Type-A, hyper-productivity obsessed friends. Like, if we can do a whole bunch of awesome things, we’re not only gonna receive praise for our work, but we’ll believe ourselves to be in a healthy place in life because we honestly believe that those merits are true. That if we do those things, we’ll be the person we wanna be. But this is so contradictory to the way that we’re made, and even more so, the way that we’re intended to live in Christ.
I would like to submit to you that the way that you think is just as important as the things you do. That nifty little illustration should look something like this, instead:
THINK —> SAY —> DO
But as we’ve already talked about, we don’t think very highly of ourselves! You’ve been told to be less loud, that your dreams are stupid, that people don’t like you, that your hair is funny, that you’re not nice, that you’re not “the adventurous type”, that the things you love don’t matter, that you don’t matter… and those things couldn’t be any further from the truth, but… you already believe them. So, everything that you say reflects that, and then what you do even more loudly exemplifies that. Does that kinda sting? Cause I cringe even as I type this, thinking about the things in my own life that I’ve whole-heartedly accepted as true, though they are utterly false in every regard.
But here’s the most wonderful news: IT’S YOUR CHOICE.
The Word of God has got quite a few things to say about you… and I guarantee that they’re true, because every word that God speaks is true. But you’ve got to choose to believe them in order for them to matter! If God says you are beautiful, but you’re still disgusted with the way you look, the fault goes to YOU, not God! If you’re timid beyond belief, that’s because you’ve chosen to ignore His voice in saying that you are strong and fearless. If you feel like your career is going nowhere and that your grand dreams are hopeless, be reminded that He has plans to prosper you, and in ways that you cannot even imagine. Y’see what I’m saying here? Be honest with yourself, really delve into what you believe to be true about yourself, and see how much of that you’ve simply adopted, and how much you’re choosing from the Word. Philippians 4:8 is another really great example of the kinds of thoughts you must be thinking. If you wanna be transformed, you first must be renewed in your mind by the power and the truth that’s in Christ Jesus.
How can you effectively change the world in a way that you’re not even willing to believe about yourself?
…However, here’s another verse you may have heard, “…From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) Once you’ve chosen to believe the truths about you that are found in the Word of God, you must make them known by speaking it. If the Lord Himself needed to speak in order to create the universe, how much more do we need to be speaking out the truths that have been planted in us for them to come to fruition?! The words you say matter so very much, and when you put them into existence, the same power that birthed stars is at work… if you say you’re tired, it’s no wonder that you continue to be tired.
It sounds so silly, I know, but… a good friend of mine used to insist that by simply saying that he was “alive and full of energy!” in the early mornings, that he actually became so! I never believed him, until I tried it… and I kid you not, it works. What you think about yourself will influence the things you say, which will directly influence the existence around you. That’s why encouragement is so desperately important in our lives. The word literally means, “to put courage into”… that’s not a passive activity. There’s such power in speaking the right things to the right person at the right time — that only happens if you know what’s true, and allow those true things to be evident in your words. Being in person to encourage is ideal, but sometimes, a text is all you can do… so do it! Don’t just think about saying nice things to people, actually do it! I promise you, it’s one of the most rewarding things in this life, to call the best out of people and make them believe in themselves.
I wanna try something. It’s gonna be kinda weird, not gonna lie… but it’ll be worth it. To practice this idea of speaking truth, I’d like for you to read this OUT LOUD, three times — each time, changing the beginning of the phrase with, “I…”, “Other people think I…”, and “God thinks I…” Let it be weird, let it be awkward! …But I bet you’ll also feel really great after you’re finished. That’s the power of life-giving words, especially from these three perspectives. Here we go…
“______ am a kind and loving person. ______ am worthy of love. ______ am interesting, attractive, passionate, and admirable. ______ am a good friend, and trustworthy. ______ am creative, desirable, breathtaking, and deeply caring to everyone I meet. ______ am worth knowing, and worth being close with. ______ have a great sense of style, communication skills, and personality. ______ am a whole person, and truly lacking in nothing. ______ am the kind of person who goes the extra mile. ______ am driven, focused, and set on what I’m made to do in this life. ______ am loved.”
Lastly, there’s the “DO” part of this whole thing. “Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything?” (James 2:14) This part can seem so daunting, since we’re so used to starting with this step and relying so heavily on the outcome. But by starting with thinking right thoughts, then speaking right words, our actions will also be right, sheerly by response to that foundation. To simply act can almost be fickle or empty… but to act out of a passion that’s been birthed in truth, and then confirmed in speech? There's nothing quite like it. That’s how people serve the church for their whole life without feeling like they’re losing steam — their belief is so strong that their words cannot deny the calling on their lives, and their consistent actions are simply an outpouring of that life-giving truth.
The most beautiful part of it all is that our actions, no matter where they’re based, are simply a response to what Christ has done for us. Our kindness isn’t required, but it’s an opportunity, afforded to us by the kindness of Christ. Our willingness to serve isn’t a necessary part of Christianity, but by understanding the truth of the cross, one cannot help but serve as Christ did. It’s really quite amazing. Once one has the revelation of the true free nature of following Jesus, doing the things that He said to do suddenly becomes so much less of a burden and more of a joy.
BIG IDEA: THINK —> SAY —> DO
I pray that in this day, you’ll truly be transformed by the renewal, refreshment, and reinvigoration of your mind. You are so much more than you think you are… and it’s time for you to realize that. Let the false words that others have spoken over you fall off of you like a heavy weight, and allow the words that Christ has spoken over your life to be what drive your words and actions. You’ve been held back long enough, and it’s time for you to be at your best. But that starts with the way that you believe. Your belief is everything, and if you’ll allow yourself to be weak before the Lord, He will always be faithful to make you stronger than you ever were before. You’re wonderful, you’re beautiful, and you’re so worth knowing. Go about your day, aware that the King of all, died so that you could have this opportunity… don’t let the transformation of your mind that you need slip away, because you’re afraid, unwilling, or lazy. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is alive in you — act like it. I love you, and I’m glad that you’re on this planet right now. Keep moving forward, friend.