A Leader's Thought Life

I am reading <em>Good to Great in God’s Eyes,</em> a great book by Chip Ingram. His book highlights the disciplines of leaders who have accomplished much in their lives, leaders like Martin Luther, D. L. Moody, Hudson Taylor, along with many biblical leaders like Paul, Abraham and so many others. Each of them had a dream and each was disciplined enough to follow through on their dream. Great leaders think great thoughts.I am reading <em>Good to Great in God’s Eyes,</em> a great book by Chip Ingram. His book highlights the disciplines of leaders who have accomplished much in their lives, leaders like Martin Luther, D. L. Moody, Hudson Taylor, along with many biblical leaders like Paul, Abraham and so many others. Each of them had a dream and each was disciplined enough to follow through on their dream. Great leaders think great thoughts.
What is your dream for your life, family, and ministry? What is God speaking to you about that keeps you awake at night? What are you willing to sacrifice to see this dream become a reality? What will keep you from your dream? Who is keeping you from your dream? Do you have a dream?
I want to address just one thing in this newsletter that will keep you from your dream. There are many distractions, challenges, and issues that all leaders face when attempting to accomplish anything. But, one of the greatest challenges is managing our thought life. How we think about God, His greatness, His ability and desire to help us is the first hurdle. We have to come to a belief that God is with us and He loves us.
A leader who accomplishes their dream has to settle it in their mind that God loves them and that He intends good for each of us. We cannot earn His favor and we will never deserve His love and grace. We know He loves us and we accept that He is with us and wants the best in our lives–no matter how challenging the road ahead is for us. He loves us. Do you believe that? Are you living your life feeling loved by God or are you living with the thought that you can never measure up? Do you question your ability to be loved? These thoughts must be managed with scripture. The Bible is clear about God’s love for those who believe.
The second challenge is how we think of ourselves. How we perceive our own weaknesses, our insecurities, our inadequacies and our inabilities. If we wake up each day and focus on every problem, every shortfall and focus on our fears and worries, we will cripple our effectiveness. We cannot move forward without addressing these thoughts and feelings.
William Arthur Ward said, “Nothing limits achievement like small thinking; nothing expands possibilities like unleashed thinking.” WOW! Our small thinking will impact our results and our daily actions.
<strong>Remember our thoughts impact our beliefs, our beliefs impact our actions, and our actions impact our consequences.</strong>
I must confess that I, too, have seasons when I have to battle doubts about my ability to lead. At times I feel inadequate at the role that I believe God has tasked me with. I know that I am called, I know God has put a vision in my heart to put hope within reach of every addict. But, those doubts, those negative thoughts want to slip in and steal my faith and joy. The one way I contend with this is: First, I get up. I don’t stay down, stay home and give up. I get up and go to prayer and the Word. Second, I go to work and I do not share all of those thoughts with others.
In <em>Good to Great in God’s Eyes,</em> Ingram sites Dr. Jack Haskins, a professor at the University of Tennessee who spent twelve years researching the effects of media on how people think. One of his studies attempted to determine the impact of a five-minute radio program that was filled with negative news stories: seventeen children blown up on a bus, an earthquake that killed thousands, riots in the streets of a large city, and so on. One group listened to negative programs like this daily, while another control group listened to more positive and uplifting news.
After evaluating the listeners who were daily exposed to five minutes of bad news, Haskins discovered four discernible effects on them: 1) They were more depressed than before; 2) They believed the world was a negative place; 3) They were less likely to help others; and, 4) They began to believe that what they heard would soon happen to them.
These participants were deeply impacted in a negative way by listening to the negative news on a consistent basis. Consider the impact of all of our current news agencies reporting to the average listener. We are overcome with negative reporting every day. It seems that all there is to report are riots, leadership slamming, severe weather, terrorism, and racism. It is no wonder people are down, discouraged and disappointed with life.
We, as leaders are also impacted when we focus on the negative. Keeping positive and keeping our minds on good things is one of the great challenges for a leader.
The Bible speaks to us about how we think. In Proverbs 23:7 we read, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” What we think about ourselves and what we feed into our thinking impacts us.
Paul wrote in Philippians 4 about the thought life of a believer. He is encouraging us to think on certain things. Paul said to think about things that are:<ul>  <li><em>True</em> – What we are putting in our minds, are they true? What are we filling our minds with? What communication tool has the majority of our time and attention in a day? Is it our phone or the TV? Can we trust those to bring truth into our lives? Put truth into your thoughts every day.</li>  <li><em>Honorable</em> – Chip Ingram wrote that this word means “grave” or “worthy of respect.” Everything we do as leaders need to pass the honorable test. Will this honor God and others?</li>  <li><em>Right</em> – I believe we all know that God has established in his Word the principles of and the difference between right and wrong. The character of Jesus is our role model of what is right. In our thinking, are we thinking of things in the right way? Will our thoughts pass the test of being right?</li>  <li><em>Pure</em> – is our thinking holy? Are we staying pure in our motives and living with integrity? Are we thinking of things from a holy, pure perspective?</li>  <li><em>Lovely</em> – Are our thoughts attractive, winsome or beautiful? Are we putting lovely things into our minds? Are we exposing ourselves to God’s beauty and His best? Music, videos, and teachings all have the ability to be lovely for our minds.</li>  <li><em>Of Good Report – </em>Are we living admirably? Are we fair in all we do? Do our actions leave a good report for others to share about us? What do we say about others? Are people happy to be around us because we bring a good report when we come? Do we lift others up when we are with them?</li>  <li><em>Anything of excellence and worthy of praise</em> – This speaks of moral excellence and causing praise. When we live and do everything in excellence it will always result in praise. Let’s let our thoughts be ones that always lead us to praise.</li></ul>We have a choice. We can either live our lives filling our minds with all the reasons for not seeing our dreams become realities or we can spend our lives filling our minds with thoughts of good things.
Thinking good thoughts require discipline. Memorizing scripture, listening to the right kind of music, staying away from those who always discourage or tempt us and keeping our mind filled with truth will always be challenging. But, it is possible. It is a choice.
Thinking great thoughts is just the beginning to becoming a great leader. Reading great books, pursuing great people, praying great prayers and many other disciplines matter on our journey of being a leader with no regrets.
I want to challenge you today to work on your thought life. If you are focusing on the bad things around you, stop it. If you are saying negative things in your home and at the center, stop it. Begin to speak God’s word over yourself, your family and your ministry and you will quickly see a difference in how your day goes.
Get a copy of Chip Ingram’s book if you can. I truly believe it will help you as you desire to see your dreams become reality.
Putting Hope Within Reach,
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Jerry Nance
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1 Comment

  1. Angie Appenheimer on February 1, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Great article Jerry! I am inspired and challenged to focus intentionally on these great points! Good to great is the direction I want personally and professionally. Dreams to reality!

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