The new you… new thinking
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5 ESV)
We notice in the gospels, that everywhere Jesus went, He proclaimed the same message. And everywhere He sent His disciples, He sent them to proclaim this same message…
The message? “Repent! For the Kingdom of God is near.”
We have already established that to “repent” means to change your thinking. But why does this matter so much. Two reasons…
First, HOW we think controls our actions. We can always trace our wrong actions, our bad habits, our addictions, our outbursts of anger, back to HOW we think. If our thoughts are consumed with our selves, and about our pleasure and convenience (if at heart, the world revolves around US, personally!), we will be most concerned about how everything effects us. The Bible calls this: “the mind set on the flesh (old nature).” (see Romans 8:5-7) This status allows us to have an appearance of godliness, but has no real power to change our actions. Until we align our thinking with what God thinks – we will always struggle to live as God wants us to live. The source of our struggles to live as true Christians is identified as a self-satisfying mindset. To be the people God desires, we must change our thinking. Only changed thinking (aligned with God’s thoughts) leads to changed actions!
Second, the Kingdom of God is about the ability to DO things that are humanly impossible. Jesus said something utterly amazing: “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” (John 14:12 NLT) How many of us ever consider that Jesus’ words just might be true for our own lives?
Jesus did a lot of amazing things – yet, He is telling us plainly, that His powerful works were not limited to just Himself.
Here is an amazing reality: Jesus did not just come to show us He was God, walking among us. He came to show us what every person who walks with God can be – and do. He came not only to be our Master – but also our Model. He came to open the door to the same Kingdom that motivated and empowered His every action. He came to open that door TO us – and He came to invite us to enter in.
What Jesus is saying is that the same power, the same Spirit, and the same abilities that enabled Him to amaze the world – is also available to “anyone who believes…” Why should we not expect the same works (and even greater works) to flow from those who are in a real relationship with Him?
But it’s not just miracle power that Jesus is talking about. There are many other things that are humanly impossible – except for those who are living by the new nature. How about the ability to forgive someone/anyone… without limit. How about the ability to love your enemies (those who hate and mistreat you). How about the ability to pray blessing upon those who persecute you for your faith in God? How about the ability to be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. How about the ability to be completely humble and gentle; to rejoice always; to pray without ceasing; to turn the other cheek to those who abuse you; and on and on (there are so many more!).
None of these things can be done by human willpower or effort. All of them are impossible – except for those who have a mindset that understands just how much they are beloved by God – and that they are the chosen representatives of His enduring and infinite love.
Prayer focus: God, help me to align my thinking with what You think – especially in Your love for me.