Those negative defining moments! Yes, they are there and most people don’t see them, but they are real and powerful. They also do a lot of damage! After 32 years of studying, counseling, and trying to help people, I believe this is a very important subject. In our churches today, there are people who are losing their children, divorce is common place, and many lives are destroyed. It is a heart issue, Ephesians, 6:6.Not with eyeservice as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. Many parents have lost their children because of a “negative defining moment”. They lose the heart of their child and never understand they have lost the heart until it is way too late. Many children tell me in counseling about a “negative moment” with their parents. When I say that, ungodly anger is usually involved on the part of the parent. Many times a child determines right then and there, as soon as I can, I will get out of here and plot my “own course”. Proverbs 16:25, There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death (destruction). It is the fallacy of going our own way. Many people follow their “own way” because of a “negative defining moment”. This moment can happen with parents, spouse, other people in the church, other people period, circumstances, work etc.
I always encourage people they can overcome these moments if they will change the way they think to spiritual thinking. I also try to encourage children; they do not have to make the Christian life a negative in their mind because of their parents or those in authority.
Many times we see people around us who need someone to come along side for various reasons. The opportunity to help people has to be focused in our desire to have the mind of Christ. Our ministry is purely on the basis of trying to help people spiritually and encourage people. When people will listen, we can help them. If they are not willing to listen, apply, and change, then we cannot help them. Most Christians struggle with the Christian life, because they have never lived it or understand how to live it. We are to “think on these things”, Philippians 4:8. The things listed in Philippians 4:8 are positive disciplines of the mind things. Who is all these things? Jesus Christ is and we are to have His mind. Most people focus on three wrong things, 1. Excessively on themselves (it is about me) 2. On things (what I want) 3. Focus on others negatively (what they do to me, and what I can do to them). Focus here means to go over something again and again in a negative selfish thinking way. There is negative focus and positive focus to life.
Therefore, they struggle with the Christian life, because they cannot discipline their mind in these areas. It leads to chaos in their lives and homes. Sadly, many people around them are affected including children and spouse. Therefore they cannot or do not have “peace”, Philippians 4:9, nor have they “learned to be content” vs 11, therefore, vs 13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”, well, that doesn’t happen because of the lack of focus of their mind. Philippians 4:9, Those things,(Philippians 4:8 list) which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me do; and the God of peace shall be with you.
Being unwilling to discipline my mind leads to a chaotic life spiritually. An undisciplined mind affects the will of God in my life and the ability to make correct spiritual choices. Instead the person makes feeling, emotion led decisions. Much of their decision making is defined by negative, immature thinking. They many times create their own “negative defining moments”. Good spiritual decision making comes from a correct thinking mind, spiritually. So, if I am leading a life with an undisciplined thought life, then do not expect to have peace and many of the other things God has promised. This is critical to parent yourself about this and your children. Instruction needs to be given to children in this most important area early and often. It needs to be reinforced constantly. Make it a serious practice of your life and work on it with your children.
An unstable devotional life and an unstable emotional life lead to an unstable chaotic life. Getting people spiritually to see that is a chore sometimes. Wrong emotional feeling led choices get made when we are not able or willing to discipline our mind at the point of spiritual impact. When someone acts in anger with you, circumstances are difficult, you have to stop, think, and submit the situation to God. James 4:7, Submit yourselves therefore to God. (at the point of impact, that moment!) Resist the devil and he will flee from you. This is the moment people have make Christ real in their life. Not as an “I am a Christian mentality”, with no discipline of the mind. A Christian like this leads a chaotic life of up and down emotions, instability, and spiritual failure. James 1:8, A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways. Most Christians never get their lack of stopping, thinking, and turning over the non-Christ like thinking in their life to God, so they lead an unstable spiritual life or sadly and unstable life period.
Philippians 2:5, Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Isaiah 26:3, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
In 2009 after many years of study, we published the book, Rearing Spiritual Children To Serve the Savior. Why? Because we wanted to have compassion for those who were failing in their lives in the principles above and with their home and children. The book was more than 25 years of study of the Scripture on the subject of the home, children, and marriage. The failure to follow Scripture in the home, marriage, and child rearing is appalling today. Most of the failure starts with not understanding how to submit your thinking to God as a believer. This was not a book, based on our children, and how we dealt with them, although I am thankful for our children and their desire to walk with God, and that they have a servant’s heart. This book was written because of the huge failure we have seen in the lives of people who do not follow spiritual principles in their lives. It is a book of compassion in trying to help people who really want help and are willing to make an effort to change their thinking and their life to spiritual principles and thinking. Quite frankly, I wish I did know what I know today when my children were home! All of us, every believer has nothing better to do than improve ourselves spiritually. We know the Bible teaches we are not to deal with people in anger, Ephesians 4:29-32 or humiliate them. (Talk about creating negative defining moments!) This kind of behavior is a seriously wrong and a prideful way of thinking and living. However, many churches practice this approach today. James 4:6, But he giveth more grace, Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace (divine help) to the humble. Much of the failure today is a lack of humility and using prideful principles. Ungodly anger is a pride principle, James 1:20, For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Proverbs 21:24, Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath. Proverbs 22:8, He that soweth iniquity shall reap vainity: and the rod of his anger shall fail. Our pride has to be brought under control as well in our submitting of our mind to God. Sadly, many people are motivated by pride in their life, which leads to a number of different spiritual problems. Pride has “many masks” and is centered in our desire to promote ourselves. It causes people to have negative defining moments and causes the parent to lose the heart of their child. Negative defining moments are moments that shape the thinking and the person. In essence, the person reacts in the flesh to a moment and they determine a wrong course in their life because of it rather than learning the principles we have outlined about “thinking” above. A heart wanders and gets lost and much damage takes place. Many times years of damage takes place and is a great hindrance to the lives of others around them. As an example a “root of bitterness” develops in a person’s life because of incorrect thinking and “many are defiled”. Hebrews 12:15, Looking diligently (at yourself) lest any man fail (fails to submit their thinking) of the grace (divine help) of God; lest any root (goes deep in your life) of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many are defiled. Lack of correct spiritual thinking by disciplining your mind will result in you defiling others’ lives as well as your own.
You can overcome negative moments! It takes understanding how to deal with the negative moments spiritually and not letting them determine the course of your life. Think about it! How much of your life has been determined by a “negative defining moment” and non-submitted thinking to God? How much damage has been done? Or how much damage have you done to others?
Many adults who have made a chaotic mess out of their lives have told me about the “negative defining moment” which shaped the tragedy of their lives. No teaching at all about how to deal with these at church. Certainly, no understanding of God’s divine help in the matter. Proverbs 13:13, Whoso despiseth the word (does not give proper attention to) shall be destroyed; but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded. Serious attention needs to be given to the principles of God’s Word, but it all starts in the discipline and of the submitting of the mind to God.
Philippians is the book that shows us the level that every believer should be living at, but sadly most are not. We are to, “Rejoice in the Lord always”, Philippians 4:4. Ask yourself is that the practice of your life? Or is your mind fretting, wandering, and undisciplined? The concept of, “rejoicing in the Lord always” is foreign to most Christians because they wallow in negative non-spiritual thinking and this thinking becomes defining moments of their lives.
Philippians 4:8, Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Don’t let your non-spiritual thinking define the course of your life! Make Jesus Christ real in your life today! When evil, negative, selfish thoughts enter your mind, make sure at that moment you stop, think, discipline your mind, and turn the issue (submit it) over to God. “Lord, I want to turn this thought over to you.” James 4; 7, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you! Do not give Satan a place in your mind, because it will lead to a place in your heart, home, family and will ultimately determine your destiny. The destruction of most Christians starts with the undisciplined mind.