How To Overcome A Potluck Mentality

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Have you ever been to a potluck dinner?

In North Carolina, where I was raised. . .potluck meals were often referred to as “Sunday dinner on the grounds” where everybody brought their favorite dish or dishes.  It was like a church-wide picnic.

The food was generally so good it would make your tongue slap your tonsils.  Please notice that I said generally. . .that was not always the case.

I can remember on numerous occasions where I sampled a particular dish and then prayed for the family that had to eat/endure that kind of cooking.

Bottom line. . .at potluck gatherings. . .you always dine on what others are serving. . .whether the food is nutritious, delicious or just plain awful. At least you get to choose.

Now, there’s a difference when you know the background of this dish.  It was great when you knew the cook fixed up one of the best dishes of chicken and dumplings in the entire county.  Then again, there were other dishes where you not only didn’t know who fixed it but it was a little questionable about what was in it.

Sadly, too many believers have a potluck mentality where they are willing to  feed on whatever thoughts others are serving to them.

In today’s economy, you’ve got the gloom and doomers.

These folks believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket and it’s God’s judgment upon this wicked nation and world.

By the way, if someone tells you the world is going to hell in a hand basket…tell them you’ve chosen not to go so they can go ahead and keep your ticket since they’re so excited about the journey.

This group includes:  the folks more concerned about going up in the rapture than growing up in Jesus.

Some of the group includes those who have a hidden agenda.  They’re selling stuff you should buy to protect your future against what they perceive to be the rapidly forthcoming one-world government, the demise of our currency and financial markets.

To say it as politely as I know how, these folks want to scare the hell out of you. Hell is in the Bible, right?  Some of these voices have noble, righteous intentions it’s true, but others not so much.

Add to this mixed the folks who’re just glad to be alive, have enough money to make their payments on time and get by until next month to start all over again.

Throw in a large helping of heathens on the TV news and you’ve got a mental potluck that’s not only unappetizing but will poison your mind with all the entrees of their own theories and predictions.

Would it surprise you to know that I found the word “potluck” in the Bible?

It’s found in Isaiah 65:1-7 in the Message Bible:

“[The People Who Bothered to Reach Out to God ] "I've made myself available to those who haven't bothered to ask. I'm here, ready to be found by those who haven't bothered to look. I kept saying 'I'm here, I'm right here' to a nation that ignored me. I reached out day after day to a people who turned their backs on me, People who make wrong turns, who insist on doing things their own way. They get on my nerves, are rude to my face day after day, Make up their own kitchen religion, a potluck religious stew. They spend the night in tombs to get messages from the dead, Eat forbidden foods and drink a witch's brew of potions and charms. They say, 'Keep your distance. Don't touch me. I'm holier than thou.' These people gag me. I can't stand their stench. Look at this! Their sins are all written out— I have the list before me. I'm not putting up with this any longer. I'll pay them the wages They have coming for their sins. And for the sins of their parents lumped in, a bonus." God says so. "Because they've practiced their blasphemous worship, mocking me at their hillside shrines, I'll let loose the consequences and pay them in full for their actions."

Have you been sampling “potluck religious stew?”  I can assure you it’s a creation of the enemy.

Every serious student of the Word knows the enemy wants to control and direct our thought lives.

However, there is someone else undergirding you…giving you what you need to keep you from being led astray.

Jeremiah 29:11 says:

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Now I realize you think you know this scripture but I want you to pay particular attention to what I’m about to say as this is a life-changing revelation.

The verse says God knows the “THOUGHTS” that HE “THINKS” toward you.  I find it interesting to note that He didn’t say the thoughts He thinks about you.  No, He said, “The thoughts that He thinks toward you.”

The Master of Universe is sending thoughts your way.

Did you get what I just said?  God is sending thoughts your way.

In our daily lives, we’re besieged by thoughts from every direction. . .most of them negative, I might add.

A number of studies point out that the average American is exposed to over 3,000 advertising messages a day this includes radio, TV, internet, billboards or any other medium that promotes a product, cause or lifestyle.

Assuming you sleep eight hours a day that means during the other sixteen hours a day, you are exposed to over 3 ½ advertising messages every minute of the day.  During the year you will be exposed to 1,095,000 advertising messages.

By the way, it grieves me to say that seldom is there an intelligent commercial. Most of them are geared to the base, the vain, the greedy side of human nature.

That’s why it’s so essential that you guard yourself against developing a potluck mentality.

Here’s a fact!  You can’t have a negative thought and a positive thought at the same time….your brain doesn’t work that way.

I want you to write this down.

Changing where I am in life right now requires me to change my thought life.

Where do you get your information?  Who do you listen to?  How do you handle the thoughts that come your way?

Here’s a five step process to help you understand how to deal with the potluck mentality.

1.         Receiving

Are you guarding the thoughts you receive every waking moment of your day?

What do you do if they don’t line up with God's thoughts, ideas, instructions and commandments?

Do you purposely cast them down, so they’re not detrimental to your mental and Christian growth?

With all the economic turmoil in the world, employment problems and the skyrocketing price of gas and food, millions of people are allowing fear to grip their hearts.

Is God wringing His hand in heaven wondering what to do down here?

What does the Word of God say about fear?  2 Timothy 1:7 in the Amplified Bible says: 

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.“

Purpose in your heart to only receive the right kind of thoughts. Don’t worry. Pray and God will lead you in peace.

2.         Analyzing

The second step to taking control of your thoughts is to analyze the thoughts that you’re receiving.

Have you ever had a Kamikaze thought and wondered to yourself, where did that come from?

It’s important to understand where unrighteous, unwholesome and negative thoughts come from.

Once you identify the source of unscriptural thoughts, then you can eliminate, expose and/or reduce the impact of that particular source in your life.

2 Corinthians 10:5 in the Amplified Bible says:

“[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ…”

In order to be successful in everyday life, we MUST take captive (make our prisoner) every thought that comes to our minds and analyze it.  We compare its obedience (or lack of obedience) to God’s will in our life, before we reject or accept it.

3.         Accepting or Rejecting

If you entertain a negative or sinful thought, you begin to accept it allowing it a place to lodge in your mental hard drive.

Remember, when it comes to thoughts. . .you must either accept or reject them.

One of the hardest things for believers to understand is that some of the thoughts, ideas and suggestions are from some very well meaning family members and friends who may not realize what they are saying is wrong.

If you ever begin to entertain any of bad/evil/negative thoughts, ideas and suggestions,  then you’re allowing them to build the wrong type of stronghold in your life.

2 Corinthians 10:4 in the Amplified Bible says:

“For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,

Strongholds are a collection/grouping of thoughts, ideas and suggestions. If your stronghold is not based in the Word, it will cause you to act on information that is wrong.”

When you analyze and reject negative and/or sinful thoughts. . .the enemy will be defeated.

Jeremiah 48:41 in the New Living Translation says:

“Its cities will fall, and its strongholds will be seized. Even the mightiest warriors will be in anguish like a woman in labor.

The scripture says that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty for the pulling down of strongholds or anything that does NOT line up with God’s Word.

Every believer has the authority to use God’s word to pull down thoughts and ideas the enemy wants to use against you.

4.         Replacing

It’s not enough to cast down imaginations. You must begin to replace those negative thoughts that you’ve previously had (notice I said previously) with truth from the Word of God.

The void must be filled and He’s waiting for your response.

1 Chronicles 28:9 says:

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.” 

His desire is for the right kind of thoughts to be in your mind. Right thoughts allow God to manifest good things in your life. 

5.         Renewing

Romans 12:2 in the Amplified Bible says:

 “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].

In the NLT it says, “. . . let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

If you want God to transform you, then you need to change the way you think.  How do you accomplish this task?

Philippians 4:8 in the Message Bible provides a powerful insight:

“Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

The bottom line and this should be no surprise . . . you change your life by casting down imaginations and focusing on the Word of God.

Psalm 40:17 in The Living Bible says:

I am poor and weak, yet the Lord is thinking about me right now!”

Not only is He thinking about you but He knows what you’re thinking as well.  That’s why I’m giving you seven ways to change your thought life and avoid the potluck mentality.

1.         God knows what you’re thinking regardless of your geographical or spiritual location.

Psalm 139:2 in the New Living Translation says:

“You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.”

Matthew 9:4 in the New Living Translation says:

“Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, ‘Why do you have such evil thoughts in your hearts?’”

2.         God even knows what unbelievers are thinking but your Heavenly Father is giving them a way out.

Matthew 6:32 in the New Living Translation says:

“These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.”

3.         You cannot continue putting positive thoughts and negative thoughts into the same environment and expect success. 

If you’re putting the Word of God into your mental thought process but you’re also mentally entertaining negative, ungodly thoughts, then you might survive, but it will be difficult for you to thrive.

The last part of James 1:8 says:

“…. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

Luke 11:17 in the New Living Translation says:

“He knew their thoughts, so he said, ‘Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart.’”

James 3:12 says:

“Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.”

4.         You must refocus your thinking on God, His Word and His solutions to every problem you’re facing.  You’ve got to trust God to be God. . .doing what His Word says.

Romans 12:2 in the New Living Translation says:

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

Isaiah 26:3 also in the New Living Translation says:

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

5.         Make sure your thoughts are well-pleasing to Him.

Psalm 104:34 in the New Living Translation says:

“May all my thoughts be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.”

Psalm 19:14 says:

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”

6.         The only effective way to change your life is by changing your thoughts and attitudes.

Isaiah 28:9,10 says:

“Whom shall he teach knowledge? …. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”

Ephesians 4:23 in the New Living Translation says:

“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

7.         Let His thoughts be your thoughts.

Psalm 49:3 in the New Living Translation says:

“For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight.”

Psalm 51:10 says:

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”

Joshua 1:8 gives us the key to a successful thought life and is the only time in the King James Version where the word ‘success’ is used:

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

The Word says that we have the mind of Christ . . . so it’s time to let His thoughts become our thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8,9 is often misinterpreted as a scripture that says we can never know God’s thoughts, but let’s look at it more closely:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

God is making a declaration that He is not only above but far above our thought process.  However, we cannot distinguish that God’s thought will not be our natural thoughts. 

God would not be constantly reaching out for man if He did not want us to come up to His way of thinking.  Understand this exactly how I said it.  God is saying His thoughts are above ours.  Too often Christians want to bring God’s thoughts down to where we are. 

God wants to bring out thought life up to His level.

In 2 Corinthians 3:8, the scripture says we can achieve much more than we think of ourselves:

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

And 1 Corinthians 2:16 declares:

“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? but we have the mind of Christ.”

The best way to rid yourself of a potluck mentality is to spend your time with the One who provides permanent solutions to the problems you’re facing.  And He not only knows your name. . .He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb.

I want to finish up by sharing Jeremiah 29:11 in New International Reader’s Version which says:

“I know the plans I have for you,” announces the Lord. “I want you to enjoy success. I do not plan to harm you. I will give you hope for the years to come.”