Monday, April 15, 2013

With All Your Mind

Now we have not received the spirit [that belongs to] the world, but the [Holy] Spirit Who is from God, [given to us] that we might realize and comprehend and appreciate the gifts [of divine favor and blessing so freely and lavishly] bestowed on us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:12

Your mind has been highly trained, programed in fact.
Maybe you didn't know that, but it's true. From the day you were born, you have been taught how to live. Your family, your culture, and your own exploration have given you plenty of ideas about who you are, how your world works, and what your God is like. The problem is that you've grown up with a limited mind in an almost unlimited corrupt world.

According to the Bible, we all begin with a darkened understanding. Despite the best intentions of our families and friends, our culture, and our own senses, we have distorted perspectives. Our understanding is only as good as the influences that have shaped it. And, in most cases, that's not good enough. What's the solution? Paul says to "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). That means that once we've embraced God's truth in Christ, we're to embrace His truth about everything. HIS Truth about Family, Finances, Social issues. We are to reject our old perspectives and live by the Spirit of truth.

Living the gospel, of course, is not simply a matter of the intellect. If it were, brilliant people would have it made, and the mentally handicapped would be far from God's blessing. But we know that isn't the case. We know that when God talks about obtaining wisdom from Him, it's about perspective and wise living. It's about knowing what to do with the circumstances, the gifts, and the relationships He has given us.

Do you know what to do with God's resources? Do you know how to spend your life? Knowing such things requires a lot of time in His presence, His Word, and the community of faith He has placed us in. The only way to retrain a mind is by immersion. What you repeatedly hear you WILL eventually believe. Old thought patterns are simply too deep; they can't be redirected without considerable trauma. Let the Spirit of God, the Word of God, and the people of God immerse you in His grace. Let your mind love Him in every way.

Better Thinking = Better Living

Here are four unique ways to love the Lord with our minds.

1. Reason…. Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:”

To reason is to think, understand and form judgments by a process of logic. I believe that part of loving God with our entire mind is loving him logically. For guys like me this is a relief. I enjoy strategic thinking and order. I must note though, that reason should never trump revelation. The mind is the learner not the leader. The heart is the leader. Many times the heart receives from the Lord first and the mind cannot make sense of it, at least initially. Eventually the mind catches up with what the heart received. When we prize reason over revelation we have a God made in our own image and likeness. Faith in many ways goes beyond reason. It looks to the impossible and trusts in the All-Knowing God.

Yet reason is powerful. We can systematically and logically look at the ways God has intersected our lives and give Him praise.

2. Knowledge… Heb. 10:16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

To love God with all our mind involves taking time to fill our mind with God’s Word and to rightly agree with who He is. When we grow in truth we gain knowledge.

Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

When we come into agreement with God it awakens love in us. Love itself includes great depths of knowledge. Loving God is continually refueled when the mind encounters truth over and over. Knowing truth and loving God are deeply connected. Jesus is the Truth. As our mind grows in the knowledge of Jesus we are liberated to love Him more.

3. Memory…. Isaiah 63:7 “I will tell of the kindnesses of the LORD, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the LORD has done for us.”

The Bible is filled with commands to remember. Memories lead to gratefulness and worship. When we use our minds to remember His kindness, faithfulness, patience, peace etc. we build a foundation of faith, hope and love. We are loving God with our remembrance.

For some, we cannot forget the negative events of the past because the past has a voice. We must triumph over it with truth. Don’t allow your past to freeze you but rather lead you into the depths of God’s love. Our thinking about the past can affect us positively by remembering the truth about God’s goodness toward us in forgiving, delivering and providing for us.

4. Imagination…. Psalm 8:3 “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;”

Isaiah 55:8 “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

God has given the mind the power to imagine. Some call it dreaming big dreams. Some say get a “picture” of your future. While others say if you can see it, you can be it. Imagination sees, creates and thinks outside the box.

In our imagination heavens thoughts can come to us and be captured. With our imagination we actually can extend our knowledge to explore the possibilities we have in God in all areas of our lives. This releases love which is anchored in faith.

We have the mind of Christ. Let’s love Him with it!

Philippians 4:8 “And now, dear brothers and sisters, let me say one more thing as I close this letter. Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

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