Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mastering the Mind

It can be very difficult to master our thoughts. There is very little accountability for what takes place in our brain, at least not until someone invents "thought billboards" conveniently showing our daydreams to the world. Certainly we would be more cautious about what passed through our minds if it was broadcast so clearly to the world!

Fortunately, that hasn't happened yet, and hopefully it never will. However, we are still given the responsibility to govern our thoughts and align them with God's principles. Fortunately, Paul gives us some insight into what God expects in our minds.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8

God wants your thoughts to be focused on things that are true, right, and decent. Your mind isn't to be used as the storehouse for all of the hateful things you wish you could say but don't, nor is it to be used to conspire against others or to drool over the attractive person close to you. (Unless its your spouse....then by all means drool away!)

No, our thoughts are to be positive and pleasing to God. We shouldn't think about all of the negative potential of people and situations; that isn't helpful and it pollutes our minds. Instead of filling your mind with thoughts that are negative and unproductive, fill your mind with the goodness that comes from God. Pay careful attention the things you read, listen to, and watch on TV. These probably have a bigger impact on your thoughts than you realize.

Let your thoughts reflect the transformation in your heart and mind that only comes from God.

But God has given us his Spirit. That's why we don't think the same way that the people of this world think. 1 Corinthians 2:12

Your Identity Unlocks Freedom

Have you ever been discouraged when following God? Sometimes it can seem impossible to stay on the right path consistently. Life is too good at throwing obstacles in our path that bog us down and keep us from becoming the person we want to be.

God understands our struggle and he realizes how inconsistent we can be. Instead of simply condemning us and leaving us to fend for ourselves, he made a way for all of us to be given a new identity. Jesus lived so we can be fully alive in God. Too often we forget this identity and slide back into the old habits that defined our old selves.

That old identity is gone forever, replaced by the newness of God through Jesus. Don't live your life trying to earn what God offers to you freely. The secret is in simply accepting what Jesus did in your heart already. The more you realize who you are in Jesus, the more you will desire to act like one of his brothers or sisters. It won't be something you have to earn, it becomes an expression and realization of who you already are.

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

One day God is going to write his law on our hearts and minds. Following him will just be.....natural. The way it was intended to be. Until then, we continue living our lives the best we can, making the most of the days we have been given, celebrating our identity. Never forget who you are. Don't let anyone tell you that you are less than what God describes you as being.

Live in freedom. Live for him.

Pastor Zac