Changing Our Thought Patterns

From childhood, we are taught to take care of our self: dress, feed, play and make wise choices for our self. Therefore, learning to trust the Lord and His faithfulness takes a bit of getting used to (Ephesians 6:10). The process is called “renewing our mind.” This is a continual progression of transformation, through which God’s Spirit gives us the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Romans 12:2).

By faith in Christ, we receive a new heart through the rebirthing of our spirit, which was formerly dead, due to the sin of the first Adam with Eve. The second Adam, Jesus Christ, became Emmanuel in order to guarantee salvation to whomever chooses to believe (John 3:16-18). God’s Spirit teaches us to follow Jesus’ example and to live as a new creation with sanctified priorities and goals in life (Philippians 2:5).

Jesus’ emptied Himself of His heavenly glory and lived a life as a bondservant to our Father (Luke 23:34; Matthew 20:28). He was even obedient to the point of suffering the horrendous torture and death at the hands of the Roman army (Matthew 26:39; John 5:30). God wants us to live in the power of His Spirit in order to do the works, which He created us to accomplish (Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 139:13).

God’s Holy Spirit purges us of pride, selfishness, unforgiveness and all of the deeds and attitudes of the flesh, so that we can live by His direction and divine character (Galatians 5:16-25; 2 Peter 1:4-5). We aid in this process by renewing our mind with the Word of God. We begin focusing on eternal matters, ignoring the distractions provided by Satan and his minions and valuing eternal aspects rather than worldly gain (Ephesians 6:16).

Prayer:
Father God, we all experience the temptation to compromise our walk and to live a life of indulgence in the flesh. However, You gave us Jesus as our example. You also give us a way to avoid temptation and live a pure and holy life before You (1 Corinthians 10:13). Thank You for sending Jesus to pay the debt we owed for our sins, and for giving us Your Spirit to renew our mind with the mind of Christ, so that our thought patterns change from carnal ones to spiritual.

Thought for the Day:
Our Father God already gave us all the tools necessary to live a victorious life in Christ.
– Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Ephesians 6:13

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Apart from Christ

Prior to coming to Christ, we determined our daily routine by our priorities. We valued, worked toward and pursued anything that would assist us in reaching our goals. We developed this habit, day in and day out, living by our human reasoning and working to please our self and to secure our future.

Our flesh formed habits as we trained our thoughts, attitudes, words and actions to respond and react in certain ways to the challenges and trials of life. We are used to living independently of any restraints or parameters for our behavior (Romans 8:7-8). We serve our self and make sure we come out on top (Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 5:15). We do good deeds for others, but we want the praise.

When the Spirit of God moves in, He encourages is to shift our mind-set entirely. This sets up a dichotomy in our life, which causes a tug-of-war within our soul. God wants us to put to death the carnal deeds of our flesh, so that we can live an abundant spiritual existence in Him (Romans 8:13-14). Yet, our flesh wants to maintain the status quo and control our own life.

The tie-breaker is God’s Spirit, who rebirths our spirit, which was formerly dead in sin (Ephesians 2:5). At salvation, our old nature died and we were Born Again by God’s Spirit (Colossians 3:3). Spiritually alive, we now partake in the divine nature of Christ (2 Peter 1:4). The fruit of the Spirit replaces our formal carnal character (Galatians 5:22-23). We no longer live apart from Christ, but in dependence on God’s love and will.

Some of our former traits, alien to God’s ways, still influence our thoughts, words and behavior. However, we can crucify our independent and willful tendencies on a daily basis (Matthew 16:24-26), and obey the will of God instead. Each day, no longer apart from Christ, we walk in more victory over the flesh by dwelling in the Spirit and following God’s desires for our life (Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 5:16-26).

Prayer:
Father God, by Your saving faith, a gift to us from Your mercy and love, we willingly submit our old fleshly habits to the work of Your Spirit within us (Romans 8:12-13). He influences and transforms us. He draws us to Your heart and renovates every aspect of our life. This free gift is priceless and we thank You for the sacrifice Jesus paid for our eternal life (Ephesians 2:8).

Thought for the Day:
The Holy Spirit exchanges the deeds of our flesh by renewing our mind as we surrender our life to Christ. – Romans 12:2; Mark 10:28-29

Don’t Tread on Me

In our world full of people who have no respect for personal boundaries, we often live in a state of simmering panic. Sudden changes and fluctuations in our financial, marital and employment status, and in the conditions around us, compound our natural fears of the unknown. Trepidation and insecurities plague us and we struggle to know when to submit to these changes or when to assert effort to resist or to prevent them.

Living as victims in life is self-defeating. When we succomb to hopelessness and anxiety, this is a sign that we are not seeking our comfort from God. The Serenity Prayer taught me to find God’s courage to face challenges; and then to submit to or resist them, as He gives me the wisdom. I learned that the Lord actually achieves every area of life concerning us (Psalm 138:8). We trust in God’s faithfulness and grow in faith with each lesson we learn.

As we enter God’s rest (Hebrews 10:4), we can live a life of hope and fulfillment regardless of what happens in the natural world around us. We abandon human reasoning and rely totally on the Spirit of God for our direction and encouragement. When we shed all desires birthed by the finite, carnal nature, which is actually dead in Christ, we can then pursue the realm of the infinate and eternal instead, and walk by the direction of God’s Spirit.

As Believers, we recognize that the uncertainties of life have no power over us at all. We display the fruit of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), which is the divine nature of Jesus expressed through our soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions, which in turn influences the health of our body. Just like Jesus, we return love for hatred and blessing for cursing (Luke 6:28). As we realize that our old nature is dead in Christ (Colossians 3:3; Galatians 2:20), then God’s Spirit can exhibit His nature through us all of the time.

Prayer:
Father God, thank You for sheltering us under the shadow of Your wings as we traverse this life, which often frightens us. Help us to realize that our carnal nature is truly dead in Christ (Romans 8:2), and that Your Spirit in us will shine through us. You protect us from any of life’s surprises, because You ordain them in our life. Therefore, when we do experience some trial or tribulation, give us the wisdom to know what to embrace and what to resist, as well as the courage to experience anything You choose for our ultimate good.

Thought for the Day:
If we have the Holy Spirit in us through rebirth in Christ, we have all of God’s fruit abiding in our nature all of the time.