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Friday, August 1, 2014

A Transformed Mind

Photo by: patpitchaya

This world is lousy. There are wars on several continents, ebola and other sicknesses without cures, trash, open sins everywhere, sorrows, death . . . and some even believe the climate is permanently changing.

With missiles flying over Israel and Gaza, bombs and fighting in Ukraine, and conflicts in African nations, it would be easy to think about these events every day. It would be easy to throw up our hands in helpless dismay.

Can you imagine what it’s like for the people who live there?

Daily, I’m asked to pray for sick children, sick parents, and sick spouses. Some don’t even know what is wrong with them, but they have symptoms, and they’re trying to find out. “God, please help the doctors have wisdom.” “Lord, please help this child doing chemo.” “Dear Father, help this lady who’s dealing with pain today.”

Personal problems abound. Sometimes it’s amazing how un-Christian Christians can act towards the ones they most love. Sniping, griping, squawking, and sharing gossip in the form of “prayer requests.”

Addictions threaten to take over lives and bodies. For some, willpower comes easily. For others, they struggle.

This world is a lousy place.

But . . .

Maybe we’re concentrating on the wrong side of the picture. The world’s side is indeed nasty. The Bible says, Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-25).

After reading these verses, it’s clear that all we see around us—all the bad stuff—is evidence that people are not Holy Spirit led. Why? Many don’t even know Jesus. And then, there are those who are born-again Christians but aren’t walking in the Spirit. They’re influenced by the world.

As Christians, we’re to train our minds to dwell on the other side of things, on God’s side. In the Galatians 5 passage above, these God-influenced concepts are called the fruit of the Spirit. They are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.

In Philippians 4:8, the Bible says we’re to think on those things that are: true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praise-worthy.

Romans 12: 2 says, And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

How can we renew our minds? How can we prove (discern) the will of God?

There’s only one way: get into the Bible.

When we’re familiar with God’s Word, we get to know Him better. We become familiar with His thoughts and what He desires for us. We understand His rules for living and how He wants us to interact with others. As we get into the Bible, we become different. It may seem like a subtle change to us, but our friends will see radical transformation as we grow in Spirit-controlled behavior. There’s a sweetness in the life of someone who walks with God.

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified (Acts 20:32).

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:16).

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

Substitute God's thoughts for dwelling on this world’s negativity. Look for beauty, purity, and truth. Get transformed by the power of God’s Holy Word. See how your perspective changes from an earthly, worldly, fleshly outlook to enjoying eternal things.

I will delight myself in thy statutes:
I will not forget thy word.
Deal bountifully with thy servant,
that I may live, and keep thy word.
(Psalm 119:16-17)

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