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What Makes You Who You Are

Have you ever wondered about what makes you "you"? About why you see the world as you do or perhaps what has most shaped your values, character and choices in life? Some would say that genetics, social environment and relationships are key in determining what makes you who you are today. In fact there are sciences such as psychology and sociology built around those exact notions. However, all of those things, while obviously important in one's life, are not the ultimate determinants of who you are.

"Well, Dawn, if all those things don't make me who I am, then what does?" I'm glad you asked, because God's Word gives us the answer to that very important question. And once you receive and embrace this truth, your life will take on a whole new meaning.

The Truth of the Matter

According to God, the utmost Authority of all time, you are the sum total of the thoughts and imaginations that fill your heart. Proverbs 23:7 says it this way: "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." What a powerful revelation! Maybe up until this very moment in your life, you never really understood why things are the way they are in your life. As for me, I'd read and heard and even quoted this scripture many times before, however it wasn't until I was facing a difficult situation in my life that God begin to make it come alive in my life. You see He was showing me how and why I was dealing with the situation that I was facing, but as importantly, He was also showing me how I could turn things around and get them going in my favor.

That revelation was so welcomed and necessary, as it caused me to begin to truly examine my life-my thoughts and those things I was pondering and imagining in my heart concerning that situation. Sure enough, as I did, the light of God begin to expose the lies and deception of the enemy, and I saw that who I was and what I was experiencing in that area of my life came from the thoughts that had penetrated my heart.

The Target for Attacks

Your mind is the battlefield of faith. It is the arena that the enemy always targets in an attempt to control or influence you and your circumstances. It began that way in the Garden of Eden and, as any old dog, Satan hasn't changed his tricks throughout time. In the Garden he caused Adam and Eve to lose the consciousness of who they really were and ultimately lose their destiny in God by challenging what God had said to them and causing them to doubt. Notice Satan didn't bite them or physically threaten them, instead he simply caused Adam and Eve to replace God's Word in their hearts with his words. From there his mission was accomplished because he understood what so many Christians today must understand--whatever enters and takes root in your heart will determine the course and outcome of your life.

There is an intricate connection between your heart and your mind. The mind is a part of a man's soul, which is also made up of one's will and emotions. God shows us this connection by telling us that as we think in our heart, so are we. There's no disputing it: what you think and the thoughts you nurse are ultimately what you become--there's no getting around it.

As Goes the Heart...So Goes the Life

We can more clearly see this thought-heart-life connection in Proverbs 4:23:

"Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard for out of it flow the springs [or issues] of life.” (The Amplified Bible)

In this passage, God is calling our attention to the heart. It's your heart--and the thoughts, ideas, and suggestions that fill your heart--that you should be most concerned about. You know it's sad to say but most people nowadays are more concerned about guarding their homes and cars when they're away than they are with guarding their hearts. But that doesn't change the fact that God says we should guard our hearts ABOVE ALL that we guard or protect.

Why would God call us to be so diligent and focused about this? Because as we've learned. whatever is in your heart is what you'll be or what you'll have in your life. In fact, the very boundaries of your life come out of your heart. That's right! How far you will go in life, how much money you'll have, how good or bad your marriage is, how successful you become, etc., all comes out of your heart. That's one of the meanings God gave when He said "...for out of your heart flow the issues of life." Those "issues" constitute boundaries. So no longer can we make excuses for why we are where we are and why we don't have this or have that, because God says it's all determined by what you allow to enter and take root in your heart.

Jesus further proved this point in Matthew 12:35.

There He says, "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure of the heart bringeth forth evil things."

A treasure is generally something that is hidden or stored away. And much like a treasure chest filled with precious jewels, we store treasure--good or bad--in our hearts. Some of the "treasure" we store can be in the form of God's Word, positive faith-filled thoughts, anointed teachings and uplifting music that glorifies God. On the other hand there can also be "treasure" such as dirty movies, gossip, pornography, and lewd music, to name a few. All these things have the potential to enter into our hearts and affect our lives (remember Adam and Eve?), so we must make up our minds to become selective about to what we will give our thoughts and attention. In our lives, the problems aren't outside of us, they're inside. Did you get that?! You see the mindset and inner image you form colors the way you see life, and therefore instead of seeing things and situations as they really are, you see them as you are-based on what you've put in your heart.

Therefore, it's no longer okay to leave the "guard duty" of your mind and heart and still expect to experience the good life. There's a price to pay if you're planning to take the limits off of your life and become all God has created you to be. I'm up for this task like never before because I plan on fulfilling my destiny in God, and I hope you are, too.

Basic Training

In order to gain the necessary control of our thoughts and hearts, we must be prepared to enter into a regimen of judging and measuring everything we think and feed upon according to God's Word. So you guessed it--there is work involved! And if you'll talk to anyone who has achieved a measure of success and fulfillment in life, they'll tell you that it didn't come without some good ole' fashion work. The good news here is that God has given us a regimen for success so that we can gain the necessary control and victory over our thoughts and ultimately our lives. A key instruction is found in 2 Corinthians 10. There God informs us that we don't use carnal or "fleshy, worldly" weapons to gain victory, but instead He's made available to us mighty weapons through Him that are able to pull down strong holds. Strong holds. A stronghold represents a fortress of thoughts that have taken root in your mind. They are thoughts that have become deeply entrenched and rooted into your thinking and thus into your heart and life. But, glory to God, He's given us mighty weapons to pull them down! The main and most essential weapon in your arsenal is the Word of God. You must feed upon the Word so that you will know it and be equipped to take control.

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (II Corinthians 10:5)

Your obedience to feed on God's Word coupled with your obedience to cast down vain imaginations and every reasoning, argument, philosophy and theory that tries to exalt itself against God and what you know to be true about God, added to your obedience to bring every thought into the obedience of Christ, will ensure your total and complete control and success.

I can't tell you enough how vital it is that we on purpose judge every thought in line with this instruction from God. I can honestly say that I am daily casting down vain imaginations and lies and deceptions from the world and Satan that try to exalt themselves against the knowledge of God. You see I know God is a good God, so if a thought that is contrary to goodness comes to my mind, I take authority over it with the words of my mouth, and I say "I cast down vain imaginations in the name of Jesus…” From there, I then lead it into captivity into the obedience of Christ by declaring the truth of God's Word over the subject or area. This can go on sometimes for several minutes or even throughout an entire day, week, etc., but the Word of God promises that as we submit ourselves to God and resist the devil, he will flee! If you don't quit, you will eventually run off the devil and gain victory in that area of your thought life. This is a necessary activity to stay in control of your thoughts and to uproot any strong holds that have settled in your mind. God wants us free, but remember I told you that it requires work. The weapon of God's Word is so very powerful and so much so, in fact, that it will literally divide between the soul and spirit so you can clearly see the mind and heart of God on a matter. (Hebrews 4:12.) As you are faithful to study and obey God's Word, you will become renewed in your mind and begin to prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God for your life. Glory to God!

A New Mind Set

Get started right away renewing your thinking--your heart--and your life. Determine to "set" your mind for victory, success, peace, joy, and all the blessings of God, just as you might "set" an alarm clock to sound and awaken you. When you set the clock for a specific time, you get that result, so how much more can you gain the results you desire in life by determining to "set" your mind and exercise control over it. Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things). You should be looking up! You should be looking at the Word! That's where your mindset is to be.

Philippians 4:8 makes it even clearer: "... whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. (The Amplified Bible)

So there you have it--a God-ordained check-list by which to measure every thought and imagination. Now just do it! We must will to think only righteous thoughts and stand against negative thoughts. Sinful and negative thoughts disrupt peace, but keeping your mind stayed, fixed, set and focused on God and His Word will guarantee a life of peace. (Isaiah 26:3.) And instead of wondering how you became who you are, you'll be on your way to becoming what you've always dreamed of being--a true success!

Scriptures for Additional Study and Meditation:
Romans 12: 1, 2
Psalm 19:7
Ephesians 4: 17-24
Psalm 119: 9, 11, 105
1 Corinthians 2:16

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