Recently, I completed a class called “Walking in What You Have Been Taught,” which has created in me a greater awareness of my mind. This awareness has become the key to applying the Biblical and spiritual principles that I am learning through my pastor and teachers in my church, and through the Holy Spirit in my personal time with the Lord. Specifically, having a greater awareness of what is happening in my mind — that is, how my will, desires, emotions, and flesh can affect my words and actions; and how my spirit, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God are connected — gives me greater control over my thoughts, words, and actions.
Among my main “take-aways” from this class were (1) that thinking correctly means taking control over my thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5-6); (2) renewing my mind is a lifelong process, because the spirit and the flesh are contrary to each other (Romans 7); and (3) my ability to stay focused on God’s Word and His original instructions to me, without being distracted, shows God that He can indeed trust me (Nehemiah 4 – 6).
Thinking correctly means taking control over my thoughts. In my workplace, only the real “higher ups” have offices. The rest of us are resigned to cubicle life. This means that I hear everything — all types of conversations, jokes, laughter, and so on. A project manager moved two members of her team in close proximity to my cube, and the noise level rose tremendously. However, the thing that got on my nerves the most was their laughter. For the male, nothing was serious — everything was a joke, and for the female, I simply did not like the sound of her voice nor the way she laughed. In other words, her laughter got on my nerves.
A couple of weeks into my class taught me that I needed to think correctly regarding people who act contrary to how I personally believe they should behave, which is clearly immature thinking that is not guided by the testimony of God. Psalm 119:59 admonishes me to think “on my ways,” and turn my feet unto “God’s testimony.” What is God’s testimony? First and foremost is that God loves. So, where was my love, and who was I to begrudge anyone of the joy of laughter? Sure, they were “non-thinkers” (most of their conversation was ungodly and worldly), and for that cause I forsook a great deal of the subject matter. That being said, I also had to cast down the imaginations and high thing (my personal desire to have my own space the way I wanted it) and bring into captivity those thoughts of mine that were not aligned with God’s Word. Since I started thinking correctly, I believe my witness to unbelievers is greater. Instead of the lost seeing me as a disgruntled person, they see the joy of the Lord in me.
Renewing my mind is a lifelong process. Keeping my will and my spirit aligned so that my intellect, desires, emotions, and flesh stay under the Word of God means constantly pulling down strongholds and crucifying the flesh. Romans 12:2 tells us: “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.” Using the technique of “W.R.A.P.” thinking is crucial in this process. (Disregard the “W” in W.R.A.P.) I have to Recognize which of my thoughts are ungodly, and then Analyze how they line up (or do not line up) with the Word of God. Next, I have to Penalize ungodly thoughts using the Word of God, and change that line of thinking.
On Saturday morning, my husband and I were waiting for the bank to open. When we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed two or three County Police cars in the roadway and a line of mostly young people standing outside of a sports store. I waited in the car as my husband made his way to the bank, which was not yet open, so he returned to the car and told me what was going on. A sport’s shoe company was due to release the latest in a line of tennis shoes costing $263.00, and the people were in line to be the first to purchase a pair. The policemen were there in case things got out of hand. My first inclination was to judge and condemn those in line — a stronghold that I had to deal with. Emotions of Disgust and Pride threatened to enter my mind, and my Intellect perfectly described the state of this slow economy that we are in. My Desire was to preach to them of better ways to spend their resources. Then the Word of God came in with Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” and my Pastor’s statement, “We must restore this generation.” My spirit, aided by the Holy Spirit, quickened my mind, reminding me of the time when I was their age and had to have (or coveted) a leather jacket and every color of a particular then-popular brand of leather shoes — a clear result of the lust of the eye and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). I had to repent, and I say again, renewing the mind is process, and we must be patient with those who have not started or are in the beginning stages of this process.
My ability to stay focused on God’s Word and His original instructions to me, without being distracted. In the book of Nehemiah, the prophet prayed to the Lord concerning the condition of the walls surrounding Jerusalem, which had been broken down. Nehemiah was moved/led to rebuild the walls and was a wonderful example of one who stayed focused on the instructions from God. We, as Christians, should likewise stay focused on God’s original instructions by avoiding the distractions of things and people. To avoid the distraction of things, I must seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). It is how I deal with things that is one of the primary factors God uses to determine the extent He can trust me. Secondly, I must avoid the distraction of people, who can be sinners, saints, or backsliders. If how I regard things determines the extent God can trust me, it is how I deal with people that determines how much God can use me. Therefore, I must deal with people without being distracted.
The lesson of Nehemiah and his dealing with things and people recently hit close to home in my personal life. I am in the process of building a publishing business so I am able to do what God has gifted me to do. My desire is to help members of the Body of Christ publish their books, at an affordable price, for the furtherance of the Gospel. On New Year’s Day 2012, I sought the Lord about my desire to help Christians publish their books, and I believe He inspired in me the idea to have 40 publishing clients between now and 2017. I wrote a five-year plan and was on my way to fulfilling it, because last April, a young woman sought me out for my help. She was the first of my 40 clients, and we completed close to 90 percent of the process of having her book in her hand. However, in February, she changed her mind about a May deadline we had agreed upon. I said, “Okay, Lord. She is Your child, and I am Your child. What does all this mean?” The young woman’s postponing her plans meant deferred finances — or “things” — for me.
God reminded me that I had a goal and that I should stay focused on that goal. He also reminded me that in having any type of business, I would have to deal with people, and I still had to stay focused on my goal. Like the prophet Nehemiah, I have to build up my business like he built the walls around Jerusalem, not letting things or people distract me. This means staying focused on the Word of God and His instructions, fortifying myself in Him, and trusting that He will provide all that is needed. In fortifying myself, I must remain steadfast in my work for the Lord and know that God is my source. I must be sober and alert lest the adversary try to spoil my work, and remain watchful so that the influence of things and people do not discourage me from doing a good work. Finally, I must never let my guard down, because things and people are unpredictable.
The class has reinforced the knowledge that I serve the Lord with my mind; therefore, I must think correctly, renew my mind, and stay focused on the things of God. Until now, I had thought that it was all about my spirit. With my mind I serve the Lord (Romans 7:25) and with the spirit I worship Him (John 4:23). I will serve Him with my intellect and all the gifts and talents He has bestowed upon me, in helping writers and authors get started. In the process of serving him with my mind, I will constantly renew my mind with the Word of God, so that my spirit is aligned with the Holy Spirit, allowing me to worship Him in spirit and in truth.
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B. Graham Simpson
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