Saturday, September 18, 2010

Christians looking like Christians - The Solution

But I say, walk by the Spirit,

and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit,

and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh,

for these are opposed to each other, to keep you

from doing the things you want to do.

(Gal 5:16~17 - ESV)

As Christians we have two ways we can live.

We can live in the flesh and short-circuit the power of God in our lives.

Or we can live in the spirit and experience it fully.

As I said last week, living in the flesh is the default. If we chose nothing, we get that.

Assuming the serious Christian will want to have the power of God in his life, the challenge then becomes exactly how to choose the spirit and continuously live in it.

The conclusion I've come to (or, maybe I should say, the best answer I've yet found in over 20 years of following Christ) is this: The problem and the solution are all in your mind.


That's not to say they aren't real. They are real. They are very real. In fact, they are likely much more real than you've ever realized.

But they're in your mind.

That's where they exist. Your mind is the battlefield for the way you live your life.

For those who live according to the flesh
set their minds on the things of the flesh,
but those who live according to the Spirit,
the things of the Spirit. (Rom 8:5 - NKJ)

I've come to understand that without exception, what I think about is what I become.

Do not be conformed to this world,
but be transformed by the renewal
of your mind (Rom 12:2 - ESV)

I've come to realize that I have control of how much like Christ I am in each and every moment.

It's all in the mind, but it is not a "positive thinking" kind thing.

It's more like this.
Imagine we're creatures that have to eat constantly for energy. We have zero reserve.
Whatever we eat at 12:00 will determine our energy at 12:01.
And whatever we eat at 12:01 will affect us at 12:02. Etc.

We must chose every minute on the minute what to eat, and can change it every 60 seconds if we want.
Every moment we eat well, we'll be strong and vibrant.
Every moment we eat badly, we'll be sluggish and lathargic.
Every moment we don't eat at all, we'll be weak and exhausted.

When I stopped to think about it, I realized this little scenario very accurately describes how I experience my spiritual life.

When I choose to read the Bible I am peaceful, joyful, and strong.
When I choose to read People magazine I begin to think like a normal person.

When I listen to the sound of mouse clicks at work I find so many things irritating.
When I listen to praise music at work I keep a more godly perspective.

When I interpret the things that happen around me based on my feelings about them, I stress and fear and agonize.
When I interpret them based on God's Word (that is, when I walk by faith and not be sight) my mind and spirit are quiet and confident.

I was thinking I'd move on next week, but now I think instead I'd like to share some practical examples of ways I've been keeping my mind on spiritual things lately.