Thinking Godís Way (continued) - Sunday School Lesson
We are continuing our lesson on "Thinking Godís Way."
Thinking Godís way was lost in the garden of Eden when sin entered the world.
We know this for God has told us that his thoughts are higher than our thoughts, His ways higher than our ways.
God desires that we think His way so He gives a new nature at the point of salvation and a transformation by Godís hand begins to take place.
We learn of this in Romans 8:29, which tells us of Godís plan for his children and that plan includes children who think Godís thoughts:
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Predestinate is to determine beforehand, to foreordain.
Some parents have in their mind where they want their children to be in 20 years and they lay out a course to reach that place.
Some parents realize their plans but many find uncooperative children.
But when God predestinates, everything that He has determined comes about.
All of his children will be conformed to the image of His Son and that includes conformance to the mind of His Son for we are instructed to let the mind of Christ, His Son, be in you.
Jesus is in the business of washing the mind by the washing of his word and that washing results in transformation and renewal.
He is in the Romans 12:2 business:
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.
You are allowed to know the will of God with a renewed mind.
One thing you may be sure of is that Christ knew the will of God.
There was no doubt in his mind relative to what he had come to do for he had the mind of God.
The more you are conformed to Christ the more you will know the will of God for the more you are conformed to Christ the more of his mind will you have.
You have a part in how much of Christís mind you allow in for God will not force His mind upon you.
You are a co-laborer with God in this effort because He gives His Spirit to come alongside.
God could have given you a new mind instantly but he chose to allow you to partner in this process.
Your part involves a yielding though prayer and study of Godís word.
It is very clear in I Timothy 2:15 that study is the means by which God uses to purify his children.
It is His means of communication to his children which is designed to lead to His approval.
I Timothy 2:15, Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Study to show thyself approved unto God means that we are to study to get our minds on Godís track, to think like God thinks, to conclude as God concludes.
It is a continual process which is designed to lead toward purification.
Study and see where you are wrong. Repent of that wrong and think Godís way.
Study some more and see where you are wrong.
As I said last week study will always reveal that you are wrong and that God is always right.
This is the renewing of your mind, not Godís mind.
Old things are passed away for old things are your thoughts and ideas, all things become new, for you now have Godís thoughts.
This process of study to reveal flaws, the elimination of those flaws, continued study to reveal further flaws, and again further elimination will result in the renewing of your mind.
It is basically a lifetime of conversations with God.
The statue of David, a marble masterpiece by Michelangelo stands 17 feet tall and is one of the most perfect sculptures ever made.
Michelangelo was able to see in that huge block of rough marble an image of King David in his youth.
Every chiseled piece that was taken from that block was rejected by the sculptor after study of its worth.
If it did not conform to the image of David that he had formed in his mind it was taken away and thrown in the scrap heap.
Two years after beginning, King David finally emerged from that block of marble conformed perfectly to the image of his maker.
So the renewing of the mind is a constant removal of the marble of the old man to reveal the transforming mind of Christ.
Renew means to put out the old mind and to put in the new mind.
We hear much in our church about child rearing, Godís way.
But how hard it is for folks to change their thinking about this subject.
How engrained our old minds are when it comes to this subject.
We all have been reared in one way or another.
Some by parents who have understood biblical principles and have applied them to our lives.
But all of us have been reared by imperfect parents who have used various methods and we live with the results of those methods every day.
The paradigm is fixed and our culture, our upbringing, how momma raised us and grandmotherís words on this subject affect us, our education, all compete for our thoughts and how we will rear our children.
But this is the thinking of the old man.
This is not the thinking of the mind of Christ.
For we measure ourselves by ourselves and are satisfied to follow the old man.
Perhaps we quell our Christian conscience by somewhat following the word of God in ways that are not too revolutionary from the way we have been reared.
We see how others do it instead of yielding to Godís word completely and wholeheartedly.
We look at what we consider success in othersí child rearing ways and are content.
We may pattern ourselves by others who appear to be doing a good job.
But that is not to be the way we are to do things.
That is not the mind of Christ, that is the mind of others.
We are not to measure ourselves by ourselves or other selves but we are to measure ourselves by the word of God if we are to have the mind of Christ.
As Paul wrote to the Corinthians in II Corinthians 10:12:
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
So what is wise? It is the comparing ourselves to the word of God, and not to others.
It is letting of the master sculptor do His work.
Michelangelo had no other statue of David with which to compare his work but only what his mind imagined.
In the Christian there must be a daily repentance of our wrong thoughts so that Godís word can replace our patterns, our paradigms and new paradigms be installed in our hearts.
Only then, when we reject our past and the errors of our past thinking and realize whole hearted acceptance of God and his word, will we be able to think clearly about any issue.
We ought to daily repent of our wrong thinking and study to feed the new mind that Christ desires in us.
In showing ourselves approved unto God we are not to study others, we are to study Christ.
Studying others and patterning our lives by others is simply a form of worship of others.
Studying the word of God is worship of Christ.
That is who our minds are to be conformed to and not others.
Rear your children in the light of the word of God and not in the light of others.
How easy it is to be satisfied with our ways if we simply reach the level of others.
But how demanding it is to study and to be conformed to the image of Christ as God desires.
What is the first commandment? It has to do with loving God.
As Jesus said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
We are to love God with our heart, with our soul, and with our mind.
How do you love the Lord with your mind?
In order to love the Lord with your mind it must be the mind of Christ; it must be a mind that thinks like Christ!
Old things are passed away, all things are become new, and that includes the thinking patterns of your mind.
In order to please God your mind must be captured by the word of God and that is done by study and by prayer.
Only though close communion with God can God comb the wrinkles out of your mind and conform you to His Son.
God wants the best for his children and that includes a mind that thinks right and the loving God that He is He makes arrangements for that to happen.
Isaiah tells us that the man or women who keeps that close communion with God by study and prayer will be kept in perfect peace.
Isaiah 26:3, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Notice the key words of this verse. Perfect peace, mind, stayed, trust.
This is about healthy minds.
This is about how to have and keep a healthy mind for a healthy mind is a mind in union with God.
So many, especially in our day are living disoriented and confused lives because they do not keep a steadfast mind.
A steadfast mind is a mind that is stayed on God.
This does not mean that this mind is always thinking about God but it is a mind that is anchored to God, it is stayed on God.
A stay is exactly what it says.
A stay stays put and is therefore not subject to change.
A steadfast mind is firmly fixed in place, it does not waiver.
The mind of Christ does not change, it is fixed, it is steadfast for it is perfect.
The mind that is stayed, the mind that is steadfast, is firm in its belief.
It is not double minded, does not waver like the wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
There is no reason to be double minded, nor to waver for this stayed mind is fixed on the word of God.
It is a mind that has let in the mind of Christ and with this mind there is no confusion.
Isaiah continues with his admonition by giving you the reason why you need a steadfast mind and that is that God will keep you in perfect peace.
Having perfect peace is what you should strive for.
It means regardless of what comes your way, you're settled and even-tempered.
Nothing can upset, bother, or destroy you.
You're at rest with things and you operate in total confidence.
When you learn to trust in God you are stayed upon God and the result is perfect peace.
James talks about those of two minds who cannot have perfect peace for they have not let in the mind of Christ which gets rid of the old mind.
The old mind causes discord.
The old mind causes hesitation, uncertainty, and a reluctance to wholeheartedly follow God.
In this double minded condition it is impossible to function in Godís perfect peace.
For the double mind brings instability in every single area of oneís life.
The steadfast mind is stable for it is a mind founded upon the rock of Jesus Christ, but the double mind has one foot upon the rock and one foot upon the sand where in the end the sand will govern.
We all want perfect peace.
All of Godís children will have perfect peace in Heaven, but God wants you to begin that journey in this life by keeping your mind stayed on Him and His principles for that will bring perfect peace.