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The 3 Things You Can Control

You wake up in this new world. In the old world, if you had some time on a Saturday morning, maybe you went to your favorite coffee shop and sat there nursing a cappuccino. If you were at a mall, maybe you did some shopping. And if you had time that evening, maybe you and friend hung out in a fav…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

You wake up in this new world. In the old world, if you had some time on a Saturday morning, maybe you went to your favorite coffee shop and sat there nursing a cappuccino. If you were at a mall, maybe you did some shopping. And if you had time that evening, maybe you and friend hung out in a favorite part of town.

It has been months since I had a day like that. Instead, it feels like we’ve all been sent to our rooms. We used to be in control, but now we’re out of control. The list of things we can no longer do is long. And it can feel discouraging.

Are you feeling out of control? If so it’s important to recognize that you may actually have a lot more control over your life than you realize. You have control over what you choose to dream about, who you choose to trust, and how you spend your time. This whole Covid quarantine can be a complete downer, or you can choose your attitude. You can control your level of thankfulness and your perspective.

When you take all these things that you can control and group them, they fit into three categories:

  • Your thoughts
  • Your feelings 
  • Your actions 
You may say, “Well, that’s not true, I can’t control my thoughts – they race. Temptations come into my mind unbidden.” Or you may say the same thing about your feelings or actions. Let’s look at each.
While it’s true that you may currently have little control over your thought life, it’s also true that you can begin to, as the Bible says, “take every thought captive.” (2 Cor. 10:5)
You can begin with awareness of the thoughts flooding your mind. And from there you can “set your mind on things above.” (Col. 3:2)
We have a lot more control over our thought life than we may realize. We can choose to pray. We can choose to meditate. We can choose to memorize Scripture. We can choose not to listen to gossip. 
What about our feelings? We all feel angry or hurt from time to time. Can we really control our feelings? Here again, while we may experience a rush of emotion, we get to choose what we’re going to do next. 
Have you experienced a friend who felt like a victim when you knew that the reason they were hurting was because of a poor choice they had made? Our feelings are a function of our thoughts and actions. I love my grandchildren, but sometimes I’ll watch them wake up in a negative frame of mind. They come into the living room with a cloud hanging over them. They have chosen to feel bad.
So many young people don’t see the power they have over their feelings. They create an artificial conflict between authenticity and feelings. The practice of mindfulness allows us to begin to recognize our feelings, turn toward them, and recognize why they are there. Feelings don’t own us, we own them.
Years ago Flip Wilson, a comedian, had a line: “The devil made me do it.” And while it is technically possible to so relinquish your will to evil so that that happens, free will is a powerful thing. God invested us with choice so that we might exercise it and pursue him. 
Love may be associated with a feeling, but if you read 1 Corinthians 13, you see that it is expressed as action. Our actions begin as thoughts. Before the thought becomes an action, it has to pass through the filter of choice.
Bottom line – the circumstances of your life may be beyond your control, but how you respond to them – your thoughts, feelings and actions are a function of the choices you make. Owning that can be tremendously empowering.
You can decide to take control over the important things in your life in the next few moments. You can choose to live completely differently.
Let’s choose wisely!

Comments (9)

  • Thank you so much for all of the blogs you have written these past few months! I know the Lord is using your thoughts and perspectives to encourage so many people during this time. I was a part of the World Race Expedition Squad in 2018 and my life will never be the same! And I’m so thankful to still feel like I’m a part of the Adventures community. Praying we learn how to sanctify our thoughts, feelings, and actions during this time. If we press in now, there’s no telling how God may use us next for the Kingdom!

  • Great blog Seth. Good to hear in the time that we are in. This provokes an empowering and effective mindset. I certainly need to be reminded that my choices have great impact, always originating from the thoughts that I choose to act on and empower.

  • Your control of thought brought to mind a commentary comment I saw doing research for a sermon “God hears our thoughts.” Found it very convicting as did others who heard it.

  • Apostle Onesmus & Esther Mwanzia

    Dear Pastor Seth!

    For the last 3 days, Esther and I, and our Intercessory team have been in prayer and fasting, and during that period of prayer, God gave me this Word from His word for us and for you, your family, and your ministry team.

    “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Genesis 28:15

    “The blood of Jesus Christ is more powerful enough to secure our victory, our healing, our safety, our protection, and our authority over the devil”
    “And they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” Revelation 12:11

    The Blood of Jesus is one of the most potent weapons against spiritual wickedness in high places and to demolish every stronghold of satanic forces plans on this Corona virus demonic.

    Blessings to you all!

    Apostle Onesmus & Esther Mwanzia
    Abundant Victory Christian Church
    P.O BOX 250-90100
    Machakos, Kenya E.Africa.

  • Onesmus and Esther – thank you for praying for us and for sharing those Scriptures. We need God’s direction!

  • That’s good, John. God certainly does hear our thoughts! In Him we live and move and have our being.

  • You’re welcome, Melissa. I love the Expedition squad racers! Thanks for the prayer – you are right, there is no telling how God may use us!

  • Hi, Pastor Seth & your family!

    Thank you brother for your continues encouraging Word, Prayer and Online Bible Studies which you have been sending to us often! Truly, it will continue being of blessings to me and my wife and the Ministry team. After this closure due to COVID-19, we will continue teaching them to our Bible Studies meetings, prayer meetings and also to the Church services whereby, I know, it will be of a blessings to many in Kenya and also in our Ministry!
    His Blood gives us power over the devil. It’s only the Blood of Jesus Christ that Satan fears. “And they overcame him [Satan] by the Blood of the Lamb …”! Revelation 12:11.

    Blessings to you all!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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