Posts Tagged mind

Life and Peace

Romans 8: 6        NIV

The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

I am sure we all want life and peace. Jesus said he came to the earth to give us abundant life (John 10: 10) and I certainly do not want to frustrate his purpose in my life. I am equally convinced that you want the peace of Christ flowing through your life along with the abundant life he brings. I wish, sometimes, there was nothing I had to do to position myself for all the blessings of the Father. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

Our Father has blessed us with every blessing in the heavenly realm (Ephesians 1: 3). How, though, do we have all that blessing manifest upon us routinely? As to peace and life, Paul answers that question for us today in this verse from Romans. Our minds must dwell on the things of the Spirit rather than on the things of the body or of the world.

You’ve all heard this verse before, but I wonder how well we hear it. This makes sense, of course, but it is much easier said, and agreed upon, than actually done. The world and all its pleasures are before us daily. We live in the world and must interact with it. It can be a challenge to live in the world and yet not be part of it. It is hard to interact with the world all day and at the same time keep our minds on the Spirit. None the less, that is the way to peace and life.

One hears a great deal of talk these days about intentionality. It means to be purposeful about the minutes of our day rather than blowing about with the wind. It means to make some determined choices and let those guide our day rather than just bumping along from one stimulus to another.

If, when we awaken in the morning, we immediately turn our thoughts and hearts to the Lord, it is much easier to stay in that place with him and with the Spirit all day. You can actually stay linked with the Spirit all day, even when you have to go to work, do the shopping, pick up the kids, etc. All the tasks of life are easier when you stay connected with God’s Spirit.

Notice that the mind is governed, or ruled, either by the flesh or the Spirit. What are the things of the flesh that attract us? Well, it is all the things of the world, isn’t it and things our body wants. It could be sleep, food, television, wine, social activity and more. None of these things are bad, are they? God is not trying to deny us these things, but it can be a question of priority. Are these things which gratify the flesh the focus of our attention? Are they more important to us than the things of the Spirit? The verse says that when our minds are ruled by these things, it is death. When our minds are governed by the Spirit, we are always led to life and peace. That sounds nice. So, we need to learn the skill of focusing our minds on the things of the Spirit and then staying connected there even as we travel through the world. The Spirit will always lead us into blessing. He will always show us the way of peace and life. We have only to fix our minds on him and he will bring us love, joy, peace, life and the blessing of God. That is a good plan. So what are you thinking about today?

Love & Fear

2 Timothy 1: 7

For God, has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

If God has not given us a spirit of fear, then from where do you suppose it came? Who did give it to us? Bingo! Fear is a weapon from the enemy’s camp. God gave you a spirit of power. He gave you His love and He gave you a sound mind. A mind that is consumed with fear is not from God. Jesus came so that you could be free from such torment.

God’s love inside of you produces power and soundness of mind. It is a shield and protection. That is not to say that you will not be attacked with the weapon of fear. Satan knows well that he can really sidetrack us with fear. Fear causes you to take your mind off of Yahweh and Jesus. It causes you to meditate on the bad things that “could” happen when you should be meditating on the promises of God. You can choose God’s Word over Satan’s lies. It is not always easy but we need to grow. When you are attacked, do just what Jesus did. Confess God’s Word right out loud. If it is a Dr.’s report that is worrisome, then attack that fear with God’s Word that He, God, sent His Word and healed you (Psalm 107: 20). Or that the stripes that Jesus bore for us were for our healing and that by those stripes you are healed (1 Peter 2: 5).

Know that God is not the author of fear but rather that He has sent to you His spirit. There is power, love and a sound mind plus all the wisdom you need for every situation in God’s spirit.

Reasoned Idiocy

Ecclesiastes 7: 24 – 25

Whatever it may be, it is far off and very profound—who can fathom it? So I turned my heart to understand, to search and seek out wisdom and an explanation of things and to know the stupidity of wickedness and madness of folly.

I recently wrote a criticism on how Christians, perhaps especially clergy, seek to understand the things of God. Including myself, we often attempt to reason out God and His ways. We vainly try to comprehend spiritual matters through an application of our intellect. The bottom line may be this, we are just not that smart. We worship our great intellect, but it really is nothing when we probe the deep things of God. It’s like asking a gnat to understand our thoughts. They are just without capacity. I continue to watch us, though, attempt to reason out the great mysteries. It makes us look even more foolish and again the thought runs through my mind, “We just aren’t that smart,” and it seems the evidence is in our vanity.

See what this verse says in contrast. In order to understand the profound, we must turn our “hearts” to understand. Boy, that sounds soft, doesn’t it? I always hated that ooey gooey stuff at church, which might explain why I floundered so long at the pool of rationality and why I enjoyed philosophy and logic in college. Now, I have traveled this great distance just to find that all the answers were in the one who lives in my heart if I should be so bold and daring to search my heart.

I am not alone. Our entire culture has raised reasoning above God. If a thing cannot be understood through our intellectual prowess, then it lacks genuine credibility. Want proof of how we have enthroned intellect above seeking God with our heart? Here is this same verse from the NASB version, my preferred version, “I directed my mind to know, to investigate and to seek wisdom and an explanation.” It’s not until you go to the footnotes that you discover that the editors couldn’t swallow the word “heart” so they replaced it with “mind.” How do you like that?

We will never find truth by seeking it with our minds. That is just the reality, like it or not. I wish spirituality and divine truth were a function of reasoning, but they are not, and really, it is for the best because, once again, “we just aren’t that smart,” we think we are but, that is fallacy on top of fantasy.

All of the great mysteries of the world and beyond are yours to know. God has saved up all His knowledge and wisdom for us. We must go down into our hearts and seek Him and His wisdom. He is more than willing to reveal His truths to us, but we must first connect with Him, and He does not live in our brains. To get to the “heart” of a matter, you must search with your heart. All truth lies within reach if we will learn to seek our Father humbly and diligently with our hearts. It’s all there for you if you can get out of your head.

Mind Exchange

Romans 12: 2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

I realize this is a familiar scripture to you but I want you to think about it again. Okay, we understand that Father is telling us that we are not supposed to be like the people in the world. I think we get that part but perhaps we even need a bigger revelation of this first phrase. Do you ever think that we fit in a bit too well? I know I struggled with this. I didn’t want to be different. I wanted to be cool. Now I don’t care so much but it was a challenge. I wanted to fit in. The truth is, we are not going to be giants in God and fit in with everyone else. He has called us to be unique, peculiar. He wants us moving in the power of His Kingdom but it does not operate by secular rules so we really have to be transformed. Our thinking needs a 180 degree revolution. How are we going to accomplish that? What are we doing to transform our minds and our thinking?

Have you ever really posed these questions to yourself? What can we do, what did God intend we do when He told us to renew our minds? Our thought life is going to determine the outcomes in the rest of our lives. As a person thinks in her heart, so she shall be (Proverb 23: 7). So, what are we thinking about? How are we thinking, like the world thinks? The bigger question, though, is, what are we going to do to facilitate this renewal of our minds. Clearly God is of the opinion that our minds need renewal. How is that accomplished?

One thing I have discovered is that the more time I spend with the Word, the more good ideas I get. Another tool that is so overlooked but incredibly valuable is reading books by Christian authors. There are fiction and non-fiction titles out there. I personally enjoy the non-fiction because they really stimulate my thinking and my conversation with God. Another great tool is Christian music. If you only listen to secular music, do yourself a favor and pepper your play list with some popular praise music. Just go to your Christian bookstore and ask what’s popular or turn on the Christian radio station. You are going to blessed. And, one of the best things you can do is to socialize with other Christians and talk about God and the Bible; talk about the things you have been thinking about. Listen to what God has been speaking to other Christians. A really great idea is to buy a Christian book and then get together with your friends weekly and discuss it. Go to your favorite coffee shop and have a great time over the Word. You will find this practice life changing. Is it transformative? Absolutely yes!

I humbly recommend using the Journey Through the Bible. It is perfect for discussion groups and book groups. You will have a very fun time while growing spiritually and also helping your friends grow in their insights.

Be transformed! It can only be accomplished through the renewal of your mind.

Divine Design

Romans 12: 2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
We looked quite a bit last week at what God has to say about acceptance and in a nutshell it is that you are accepted in His sight. He said, Himself, that He has not rejected you. That is such an important truth for us to receive. Truly, we cannot give away what we have yet to receive. So, if you see a person who is critical and judgmental it may just be that they have yet to receive the acceptance and love of God for themselves.

There is a commercial running on television right now from Time-Warner cable where a motivational speaker challenges people about change. He tells them that they can change and asks if they want to, to which everyone resoundingly replies, “Yes!” Well, as I listened to the commercial I heard another message come right up out of my spirit. What I heard is that God has not called us to change. First of all, He loves you without you changing. Second, what He has given us is transformation. 

Transformation is not something we do; it is something we allow God to do within us by cooperating with His Spirit. We are transformed by God and the Holy Spirit through the renewal of our minds. We are not asked to change from who we are to someone else. No, we are only being transformed into the fullness of who we are in Christ. This transformation is more akin to the metamorphoses of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The essence of the butterfly was always in the caterpillar. He doesn’t have try not to be himself. He just grows up into the fullness of who he was always destined to be. 

Like the caterpillar, in every one of us is a butterfly. We have only to enter our chrysalis and allow the butterfly to emerge. This is the transformational process which our beloved Father has given us. We are not the authors of change, we are not transformational engineers. God has already put butterfly DNA in the caterpillar. He has created and put in the caterpillar the process for fulfilling its destiny. Truly, we are more important to Him that a butterfly. He wouldn’t abandon us and task us with the responsibility of change when He has so carefully designed the butterfly and it’s growth phases.

God has given us a chrysalis into which we can cocoon ourselves too. He has prepared a process by which He brings us into the fullness of our Divine Design. Through the renewal of our minds, we are transformed into the very likeness of Jesus. You will be the version of you which is so apparently a sibling to Jesus himself. I like to call this fulfilled you the Jesus you. So you may be Jesus Scott or Jesus Mary. You are of the same DNA as Jesus. When you took on the New Birth which is wrought in his blood and his glory, you became genetically tied to Jesus. There is a glorified you. This is who God sees every time He looks at you. Now, in order for you to live the fulfillment of who you are in Christ you must renew your mind to the Word of God. When you do, you will find that you think like God. You will begin to feel the things God feels and you will even react to events the way God does. The renewal of your mind washes out the worldly way of thinking that we were all indoctrinated in and replaces it with God thoughts and yes, you really can think the way God thinks. It is amazing and glorious and you were meant to live this way – to live an anointed life.

So, here is your part. Renew your mind by reading God’s Word. It really is that easy. Meditate on what you read. Let it seep into your own thoughts and consciousness. Allow God’s Word and God’s thoughts to become integrated with your own. You will find that as you do this you will begin to develop wings. You will emerge from your own chrysalis a glorified, emancipated child of the Most High with wings as eagles. Go soak in the glory of God’s Word, let Him pour his DNA into every cell of your being and then spread your wings and soar. You are His beautiful child, created in His image. Don’t try to change just be transformed, by the renewing of your mind.

A Full Life

3 John 2

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
This passage of scripture portrays the image of a victorious Christian. This is the picture of who we are all destined to be because of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. First of all, our souls are to prosper. That encompasses our emotional life, social life, and our intellectual life. It is the transformation of the human soul through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this is best thought of as the intangibles. It is all of the things that make a life full. It is part of what Jesus meant when he said that he came into the world to give us abundant life (John 10: 10).

As we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our spirits, setting us free from every sort of bondage, we are supposed to also evidence physical well-being and financial prosperity. You see, to God and to Jesus, it is a package deal. We are supposed to have it all, not just one little portion. You are supposed to be well in your body and well in your finances. Your soul is supposed to be healed from any emotional scars and you are to be free. Jesus said that he was anointed to set the captives free (Luke 4: 18). So, his ministry and his word do free us from our former bondage so that we might live in abundance of every sort and pass that blessing on to others. 

It starts in your spirit and manifests in every part of your life. Do not let the devil steal any part of it from you because Jesus came to set you free.

Heart Talk

Psalm 27: 8

When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.”

The whole Bible; the law and the prophets are contained in this little verse so how shall we speak about it? There is one word which jumped out at me from this passage. It is the word “heart”. David received the Word of the Lord with his heart and responded from his heart. I wonder if this revealed “heart response” is the reason that God called David a man after his own heart (1 Samuel 13: 14).

You see, my first instinct would have been to receive God’s instruction with my mind. Then I would probably analyze it for a week or two and then I would get around to actually doing what He said. As it turns out, though, God is not asking us to seek Him with our minds. He wants us to seek Him with our hearts. It just amazes me that David’s heart answered God instead of his mind. I didn’t even realize our hearts had a voice. I wonder what it sounded like when David’s heart answered God. No doubt God heard him.

So, what is my heart saying to God today? What is yours saying? Our culture validates brain activity but does very little to honor works of the heart, much less the voice of the heart. But God isn’t speaking to our minds. He doesn’t live in our brains. He is a heart God and we must learn to open our hearts to His voice. And then we must learn to speak to Him out of our hearts. There is where the real communication takes place and it is always where relationships are forged. I have heard of getting a check-up from the neck up. Perhaps it is time we got a heart physical.