If we believe the world is out to get us, we'll be motivated by that thought and will act accordingly.
I make this statement knowing that there are people, whether because of experience or because of brain chemistry, who believe this without question.
If we believe that God is vengeful and judgmental, we'll feel at odds with Him and will live like He's the punisher.
If we've been convinced that we're ugly, we'll hate ourselves and shape our lives around a lack of self-worth.
If we've been convinced that there's no hope for us, we'll feel darkness at every turn and will act out that bitterness in our everyday world.
Our minds, influence our hearts, which move our hands.
This is why it's so important that discipleship - learning to live our lives as Jesus would if He were in our shoes - address us as a whole. Discipleship that's just about knowing new things about Jesus that never changes the way we feel or act is impotent. Discipleship that stirs our hearts but doesn't change our thinking or action won't last. Discipleship that gives us new calendar activities but doesn't change our emotions or thinking isn't bringing the kind of transformation we need.
Jesus, as the very crafty and compassionate teacher, had this in mind when He unrolled the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) and said
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:27-28, NIV)
Head - "You've heard it said..." The mind says that you shouldn't commit adultery, you've heard that commandment, it isn't new. But here's a new one - change your mind and the practices that come will come from what's going on in your heart. This is first order transformation - moving from good to great, better to best, surviving to thriving - and it all happens because the comprehensive work of following Jesus tunes our hearts and minds to the ways that we can affect our own destruction.
How aligned are your head, hands and heart today? Is it possible that the obstacle between you and the life God desires for you only is the short physical distance between the three?