Psalm 112:6-9 (TLB)
Such a man will not be overthrown by evil circumstances. God’s constant care of him will make a deep impression on all who see it. He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him. That is why he is not afraid but can calmly face his foes. He gives generously to those in need. His deeds will never be forgotten. He shall have influence and honor.
A friend approached me several months back about surprising our daughters with a girl’s road trip to see the pop princess, Taylor Swift. The mega star would be performing in Tampa close to home. I tossed the idea back and forth for several days until finally deciding to purchase the ridiculously priced tickets and plan our trip. When we surprised them all on our daughter’s birthday, I was glad that we had decided to do it. It has been more than four years since the girl’s and I could steal away for food, fun, shopping and girl time. All the way down, they listened to her songs and sang along in excitement as I drove the Swag Wag down I-75 south. Saturday night – everyone was decked out and exciting after 24 hours of nonstop shopping to dance the night away. What an event! She puts on an incredible show. The girls and I had a fabulous time. But now I have a problem…
I do not listen to much secular music. It is not some hard religious stance. I made the choice more than fifteen years ago to begin feeding my spirit girl with praise and worship. I only listen to Christian music. Since the girl’s weekend and concert, I cannot get the music out of my head. I only listened to it for about 48 hours yet – it is all that I hear on replay. I am absolutely floored at its influence on my mind. Remember the children’s church song, “Oh be careful little ears what you hear…there’s a Father up above looking down in tender love…so be careful little ears what you hear.” And so on… There is merit to these words. I am not saying that what is playing in the recesses of my mind contains bad lyrics but it is not what I want to hear over and over. I miss the Bethel, Jesus Culture and Lauren Daigle songs that feed my spirit and bring comfort and peace to my day in reassurance of His Love and praising Him for it. I want my mind back.
I Corinthians 2:14-16 (TLB)
But the man who isn’t a Christian can’t understand and can’t accept these thoughts from God, which the Holy Spirit teaches us. They sound foolish to him because only those who have the Holy Spirit within them can understand what the Holy Spirit means. Others just can’t take it in. But the spiritual man has insight into everything, and that bothers and baffles the man of the world, who can’t understand him at all. How could he? For certainly he has never been one to know the Lord’s thoughts, or to discuss them with him, or to move the hands of God by prayer. But, strange as it seems, we Christians actually do have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ.
Salvation gifts us with the Holy Spirit. He enters our body, mind and spirit to enable us to follow the Lord. He helps us battle and overtake our flesh fighting to regain control. Without the Holy Spirit the Word of God seems impossible to accept and implement in our life, because our human nature wants no part of it. We have been given the Mind of Christ to allow us to see past today and live for forever. We must feed and foster the Holy Spirit in our life. The Word of God creates an acceptable mind that is ready to receive clear direction as it already knows the way to use the power God has given us. The Word of God softens our heart so the Holy Spirit can mold and shape it into who the God the Father created us to be and Jesus died for us to become. The battle for our mind and thoughts are key to the development of our soul that leads to prosperity. If it doesn’t make sense and our mind does not agree then faith and confident hope will be an ongoing battle never to be won.
There is something inside of us fighting for its life which makes its plight desperate. (Romans 7:23-25) To move closer and deeper in the Presence of God is to crucify our flesh every day. It is the complete and total denial of our sinful nature as we starve it to death by feeding our spirit man instead. Day by day as we strive to honor the Lord by doing His Will and following His Way, the inner man fights for the freedom to survive. How do I know that is true? My mind has listened to praise and worship music for literally years nonstop but just two days of secular music and it is all that I hear. We are impressionable people. Freedom in Christ says that all things are permissible BUT not beneficial. (I Corinthians 10:23) We must live a conscious Christian life. Not a religious life but sensitive and aware to the influences we allow to feed out thoughts and influence our mind.
Romans 8:1-4 (TLB)
So there is now no condemnation awaiting those who belong to Christ Jesus. For the power of the life-giving Spirit—and this power is mine through Christ Jesus—has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. We aren’t saved from sin’s grasp by knowing the commandments of God because we can’t and don’t keep them, but God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours—except that ours are sinful—and destroyed sin’s control over us by giving himself as a sacrifice for our sins. So now we can obey God’s laws if we follow after the Holy Spirit and no longer obey the old evil nature within us.
There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. We are free to live life as we choose thanks to Jesus. We have been given abundant grace, mercy and love by the Lord. If we decide to do certain things or live a certain way, that is our choice and Christ does not condemn us. However, the consequences associated with those decisions are not eliminated because we love the Lord. How we live directly impacts the outcomes in our life. My treasure is in Heaven. My heart’s desires and thoughts should remain there because that is my goal in life. I am striving to make my heart, mind, body and spirit align fully with the Word of God and Way of Christ as a personal choice which means that I must filter my life accordingly. There is no condemnation for anyone who chooses to live differently. Religion implements condemnation. Jesus only gives us more grace.
Romans 8:5-9 (TLB)
Those who let themselves be controlled by their lower natures live only to please themselves, but those who follow after the Holy Spirit find themselves doing those things that please God. Following after the Holy Spirit leads to life and peace, but following after the old nature leads to death because the old sinful nature within us is against God. It never did obey God’s laws and it never will. That’s why those who are still under the control of their old sinful selves, bent on following their old evil desires, can never please God. But you are not like that. You are controlled by your new nature if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that if anyone doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ living in him, he is not a Christian at all.)
Bearing that in mind, we make the decision every single day who will be the master of our life in the choices we make and what we allow to influence us. If we want to be faithful and obedient Children of the Living God, it will require daily denying of our flesh with all its whims and whining and follow the Holy Spirit who leads us from glory to glory. It is a hard fought battle. The world will always tempt you with the thought that you are a good person, way better than before, and that grace will cover your little white lies and subtle indiscretions. You are. It will. But what do you want out of life? Do you want good times or all of His Goodness and Glory? I must work in conjunction and support of my new nature to live in agreement with the Holy Spirit.
Philippians 4:6-8 (TLB)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.
The Mind of Christ has been given to us and His Spirit lives in us. We have the potential to live in the Presence of God in perfect peace. Have you ever experienced the Peace of God? It is intoxicating and addictive. Daily our flesh fights to live on taking the slightest access to our heart and mind wreaking havoc on our faith with fear, anxiety and worry. All of these fuel doubt that God really loves us or is working on our behalf. The world seems so inviting and accepting. To live in complete alignment and total agreement with the Word of God would probably require a cave in the wilderness with no one else around, but we would still find a way to sin against God. Sin will be a battle to the death for every man and woman. We will never end the battle for our mind until we breathe our last breath. The closer to Jesus we walk the more powerful the fight to survive. The enemy does need an open door just a tiny foothold to make it in. We must guard our hearts and mind by surrendering them to Christ alone.
Every person reading this today is in a different place with the Lord. Our walk with Jesus is personal and individual. He knows the battle we fight and the Holy Spirit is ready to fall the next giant even those rising up in our mind. We must assist in this effort by fixing our thoughts on what is true, good and right. To think about pure and lovely not perverse and violent. To see the good things in others and dwell upon them praying for them as we see fit rather than murdering them in our mind. To think about all that is praiseworthy in my life. God has been good to me. There is so much to be thankful for and praise Him about. These things make me smile. The playlist in my mind is contradictory to my new nature which is to sing praises to God throughout the day rather than “Shake It Off”, “Welcome to New York” and, Lord help me, “Bad Blood”. Lord, cleanse my mind today and fix all my thoughts on you again. I want to sing your praises all day long and hear them as I sleep. When my mouth opens to utter a verse, let it be one that thanks you and exalts Your Great Name rather than anything else. Thank you for the peace that I have in you. Thank you that you help me overcome the battle for my mind. Thank you for guarding my heart and pointing out those things not of you! You’re the Best Thing that ever happened to me. I want the world to know.
I am impressionable. You are, too. We are all impressionable people. The enemy wants our mind. He wants to break our heart. He wants to steal our peace. He wants to pull us back from the Lord today. He is desperate and resorts to the lowest tactics. Be on guard. Be aware. Slam shut the door to your mind. Deny him access to your thoughts. Decide to starve your old nature to death by feeding your new man with all the Fruits of God’s Spirit being cultivated in you today. God’s Word is the Bread and Water of champions. It produces faith and trust in us. Thank you God for the reclaiming of my mind and sealing it with His Perfect Peace all over again.
Mark 7:20-23 (TLB)
And then he added, “It is the thought-life that pollutes. For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts of lust, theft, murder, adultery, wanting what belongs to others, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, pride, and all other folly. All these vile things come from within; they are what pollute you and make you unfit for God.”
Psalm 51:10 (TLB)
Create in me a new, clean heart, O God, filled with clean thoughts and right desires.