Changing The Way We Think

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Now I need to say right from the get go that this is not a promo for positive thinking or positive confession, the old ‘name it and claim it’ rubbish that was preached ardently throughout the 70’s and 80’s.

What I feel motivated to write has nothing to do with worldly wealth, gain, prestige, human endeavour or anything of the like.

In actual fact if you listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit you are more likely to loose what you have and gain something extraordinary instead. You are likely to gain something of greater wealth than anything this world could ever give you.

That extraordinary something is actually Christ Himself.

Let me explain:

Our main text today is from Romans. Lets have a look at Chapter 12 verses 1+2, in particular the portion “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

As I sat here and pondered this I had the distinct impression that the Holy Spirit was saying to me that the way forward for us as believers is to be being transformed and that this takes place through the changing of our minds ie changing the way we think.

Consider the following scriptures.

Colossians 3:2 says: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

Philippians 2:5 says: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus..”

1 Corinthians 2:16 says: “For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ“.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says: “casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,…”

So, these few verses speak very clearly to us about our thoughts and our minds being fixed on Jesus. I think it right to quote Paul again here when he says:

Hebrews 12:1-2 “…let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…..”

Other translations put ‘looking to Jesus’ like this; in the NASB and the NIV it reads ‘fixing our eyes on Jesus’ and in the ISV it reads ‘fixing our attention on Jesus’.

Now I am sure that the writer to the Hebrews was not talking about our physical eyes. Here he was speaking about our spiritual eyes and our minds. There is so much spoken of in the New Testament regarding this issue. It is I think important that we grasp what is written about on this topic as it will change the way we do and see everything.

Let us now look at why we need our thinking changed.

Firstly, the Cause:

Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

So much of what we think, do and say was dictated to us by parents, the TV, the teachers we had in our school years and for some, many years of looking into all sorts of alternative religions etc before being found by Christ. Other influences can be the teaching and doctrine in churches that were full of deception and I am not just talking about cults, I am also referring to the many churches, some referred to as traditional, out there today that in some way are presenting other gospels promoted by seducing spirits and doctrinal demons. I included godly parents in the above breakdown, which is not exhaustive by any stretch of imagination because I know for myself that like me there are parents out there who though walking with the Lord have made many mistakes in the way they trained up their children. There is not a person in all of history, save Jesus Christ, who has not been affected in some way by the above.

To sum up the cause, all we really need say is, All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.

Philippians 3:18-19 says: “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.”

Galatians 5:17 says: “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another….”

Romans 8:6 says: “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

There is also clear evidence from scripture that the opposition we receive in relation to walking in the Spirit comes at us from the world, the flesh and the devil.

1 John 2:15-16 says: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”

Ephesians 2:1-3 says: “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

Our carnal or natural minds work hard against us to confuse, distort and cloud out that of the Spirit. Our minds need to be renewed.

Secondly, the Solution,

I quoted earlier the following:

Colossians 3:2 says: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

Philippians 2:5 says: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus..”

When Paul wrote to the Colossians he made it very clear what their role and ours is in this. He said that we are to SET OUR MINDS ON THINGS ABOVE. We are to actually do something. We are to make a conscious choice and in so doing change what we are thinking about and how we think.

Also, we see in Proverbs 22:6 that training was used when we were children to instruct us in a certain way of living. For many this was not a christian way or lifestyle.  Because of this it is important that we realise the need for change, for retraining.

In so many ways we all have been tainted by the thinking and philosophies of the generations who went before us, those who laid down the framework for what and who we are today.

So, in varying degrees we all need to be retrained. We all need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

What should we do to have our minds renewed?

What is the process and what should we feed our minds with?

What should we be focusing on?

In Ephesians Paul says:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:25-27

And also,

Titus 3:4-6 says: “But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior……”

In both of these verses Paul speaks clearly about washing and cleansing and sanctification, regeneration and renewing.

And this is done by and through the WORD.

The washing of the water of the WORD.

Having grown up in an ungodly household, been trained by ungodly parents, been fed much through the ungodly content on the TV, been taught at school by ungodly teachers and so on, there is much flowing around in my mind that still needs to be cleansed.

The environment that I grew up in formed who I am. As the old saying goes,’The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’
I still need to be retrained in so many things because this world has had such a massive influence on my life all these years.
This will happen as I continue to dig into God’s Word and feed on what He says is the right way to live, in word and action, the right way to think and so on.

The Holy Spirit is my teacher, John 14:26 and ‘He will teach me all things and bring to remembrance all things…..’

If the Holy Spirit is going to bring all things to my remembrance, firstly He needs to teach me ‘all things’, so that He can remind me of these things.

It is so important for us to feed on God’s Word as this is the tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit to cleanse and sanctify, to wash and renew.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8

In my next post we will look at these things that Paul encourages us to meditate on.



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