Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Loving God with All Your Mind ~ Part 2

2 Corinthians 10:5 - "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."

We have a society that spends a great deal of time and money on ourselves, everything from the diet, exercise, and plastic surgery craze to outcome-based education in our schools that emphasizes "self-esteem" over basic learning. Women, in particular, are targeted daily by advertising on TV and magazines...even 'news' stories that focus on what society has been deemed the ideal woman. I have to think that the basis of this focus on self is a scheme of Satan to direct our thoughts away from our Creator and Savior. The sad fact is that most people are completely unaware of the spiritual battle that goes on around us and we become unknowing participants for the enemy when we live in this unawareness.

I myself have spent a good portion of my life worrying over what I thought others must be thinking of me. I have a tendency to talk very fast when I am nervous or uncomfortable in a situation. I suppose the reason for this is if I fill a person's mind with a barrage of words, then he or she doesn't have time to form negative thoughts of me.

Now, is this sin or just the natural response of a person with low self-worth? I have come to believe that they are one and the same for the following reasons:

  1. I am disobedient to the precept of 2 Corinthians 10:5. I am spending my time in speculations and worry.
  2. I am disobedient to Philippians 4:8. My focus is not on loving God with all my mind because I am worrying about what others might be thinking of me, instead of thinking on whatever is true. No idea that includes the word might can be true, because future happenings are not true or real at this moment-the only moment I am guaranteed to have.
  3. I am ignoring Romans 8:35-"Who will separate us from the love of Christ?" God loves me- He sent His Son to die for me. Christ loves me - He died for me. The Holy Spirit dwells within me - He speaks to my soul the love of the Father and the Son.
  4. I am ignoring that I am a daughter of the King. My attitude and self-confidence should be based in that fact alone. 'For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons (and daughters) by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"' Romans 8:15.

The Bible is full of the evidence of God's love for us. It is our responsibility to find that evidence by daily reading His word.

Elizabeth George gives these tips for training our thoughts:
"Step 1: Recognize the command - Philippians 4:8 is God's command to us to focus our thoughts on the truth of His Word and the things in life that are real.

Step 2: Respond in obedience - By definition, thoughts that are not true or real are mere "speculations." The are "lofty things raised up against the knowledge of God," and they have to be taken "captive to the obedience of Christ."

Step 3: Reap the benefits - When we acknowledge God's command and take steps to obey it, we will find ourselves enjoying greater energy and spending less time in melancholy introspection. Thinking thoughts that are true and real frees up our energy for positive and constructive uses." From LOVING GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND, Harvest House Publishers © 1994.

Here are some verses to memorize to help you focus on the truth:

  • I John 1:9 - God is faithful.
  • I Corinthians 6:20, I Peter 1:18-19 - You were bought by Christ's blood.
  • I Peter 5:7 - God cares for you.
  • John 1:12 - You are a child of God.
  • Romans 5:8 - God loved you first.
  • Ephesians 2:10 - You are His workmanship.
  • Romans 8:35 - God has always loved you.
  • 2 Timothy 1:9 - God has a plan and purpose for you.
  • Psalm 139:14 - God made you unique.
  • 1 Corinthians 12:7 - God has gifted you with spiritual gifts.

When we understand our image in God's eyes-through the covering of the precious, holy blood of Christ that washes us and makes us pure-what right do we have to fret over what humans might be thinking about us? We have a direct command to "take captive every thought" in obedience to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He deserves no less than our full obedience and complete attention. There is a beautiful chorus that states just what benefit we will get from focusing on Him: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace."

Our Most Important Goal: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength." Mark 12:30.

First printed August 2005 in The Freedom Reader, a publication of Spring Valley Freedom Bapist Church, Huntington, WV.

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