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  • Writer's pictureJim Hays

Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?

The title of this blog is also the title of a song.

The lyric says,

Did you ever have to make up your mind,

And pick up on one and leave the other behind? It's not often easy and not often kind. Did you ever have to make up your mind?

Scripture seems to put the onus on us when it comes to thinking well. “Set your mind on things above!” “Prepare your minds for action!” Romans 8:6 says, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

Ah, peace. Peace is our goal in anxious, worrisome times. We want to rest from the worries of life because they do weigh us down. In Philippians 2, Paul encourages the church to “have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” In other words, think like Jesus. Wow. That doesn’t even sound easy.

We often say that whatever God commands us to do, He will also empower us to do. Our heaven-sent Helper is the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Spirit helps us in our weakness. When faced with temptations, the Spirit helps us think like Jesus.

“You have the mind of Christ,” Paul tells the church in 1 Corinthians 2:16.

Now, we can always refuse the Spirit’s help. The Spirit tells the alcoholic, “Don’t drink that. It will destroy your family. In the end, it will kill you.” But the Spirit will not force the alcoholic to comply. He has free will to choose.

The mind is a battleground where spiritual battles are fought. Satan keeps people from seeing the work of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, The god of this world (the devil) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.

But it’s not just unbelievers. Seven chapters later, Paul writes to church members, “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). One chapter earlier, Paul tells the church that this battle is not fought with conventional weaponry upon conventional targets. “Even though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Cor. 10:3ff).

Satan lies to us about God. He repeats the lies often over a long period of time until a stronghold is formed—a mindset. We don’t even know Satan is doing this! His operation is covert. For example, for the last 80 years, our education system lied to us (at the behest of Satan) by telling us that humankind is a cosmic mistake. We are no more than highly evolved pond scum—a paramecium that successfully navigated the primordial ooze and over billions of years of evolution became “human”.

We were also told that when this life is over… that’s it! There is no more. So, live it up while you can! Snort it, shoot it, smoke it, and have sex with it. Yeah, it might cut your life short by a few years, but who cares? At least you’ll go out with guns blazing!

Church family, that’s a mindset that must be destroyed—a mental stronghold that must be demolished. And there are so many others. But what can destroy something that has been ingrained in people their entire lives? What can demolish this system of entrenched lies?

Only one thing—the truth of Jesus Christ.

The truth of Jesus demolishes mental strongholds. But it replaces that old way of thinking with a new and better way of thinking. Paul calls it mind renewal in Romans 12. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).

Renewal is the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit, given to us as a gift at baptism. God gives us His Spirit, who immediately goes to work removing the lies and transforming the mind.

Again, we can fight the Spirit, and many do. But those who submit to the will of the Spirit will grow to think like Jesus. They come to have the mind of Christ.

Part of our surrender to the work of the Spirit involves our choice to think about good things—to meditate on the things of God. This is why Paul writes in Philippians 4, “Brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Let’s occupy our minds with godly things—not worldly things. Let’s submit to the Spirit who transforms us to think like Jesus.

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