If we are honest, we admit that we are in the midst of a struggle with sin day by day, hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute, that can prevent us from being fruitful. Are you aware of it? Sin seems to take hold first in our minds. There’s an obvious battle ground of opposing forces there. Paul describes this in more detail in Romans 8:5, Galatians 5:17—check these verses out.
So if we are not in an active transformation and in pursuit of a what I call mental and spiritual renewal, we are in trouble. Deep trouble.
My family just saw the Ben Stiller movie entitled, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (old story though) Go see it. The movie reveals a lot of what is going on in Walter’s “secret” thought life. Poor guy……………… we see glimpses of what his mind is thinking! He talks to himself all the time, just like we do through our subconscious and conscious mind. Have you ever noticed this about yourself? We all do it.
I remember Pastor Warren Wetherbee preaching on the topic of our thought life years ago in the “Light Side” service at Grace Church. He gave a great example: “How would you like to have your last 10,000 thoughts put up on a video screen for all to see?” Imagine if Jesus is in the audience. Pretty humbling isn’t it? You’d cringe at times wouldn’t you? Ashamed?”, he said. Thankfully, after we die, God in His mercy doesn’t see our nasty thoughts at the Bema seat because of the atoning death of Jesus on the Cross! Well let’s drill down a little more. The good news is that day to day, we can win in the battleground of the mind… if…………….we get help. In order to renew our minds, and get an edge in the fight between our “old” nature and new nature, we first need to understand how mind (subconscience and conscience), soul, and heart are related. We’ll start this discussion now and finish it next week.
When Jesus was asked by the Pharisees what the greatest commandment was to follow, His answer in Matthew 22:36-37 was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all of your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment………” God is definitive. He is obviously looking for an unadulterated commitment from His followers…you and me. But why would God differentiate heart, soul, and mind?
Again He says, “Blessed are the pure in heart”, in the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5:8) I would say that is my goal in life, isn’t it for you? To have a pure heart? In His omniscience, God looks at the heart of a person and examines it! Just like a heart surgeon. When Samuel is looking for a new king of Israel that may have the “eye appeal” of King Saul, God reminds Samuel that “The Lord doesn’t look at the things that man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7)
And He is looking for not only purity of heart….but also purity of mind. Paul reminds us of this in Romans 12:1-2 about the importance of “being transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (and as believers we have the mind of Christ- 1 Corinthians 2:16, right? )
Bottom line: God wants your WHOLE heart totally devoted to Him. When we become a Christian, we are a new creation, and He puts His spirit in our hearts to give us a moral conscience and to control our minds. But within our hearts, we have the capacity to allow part of it to be Satan’s playground. Not good. That is, if we are not careful, our emotions, attitudes, imagination, and will can all be manipulated.
Next week, we will discuss how this happens, and how to prevent it.