On Sunday morning of the 16th December, I had the opportunity to preach the following message at Lied en Geloof Congregation in Pretoria West as the Spirit of God revealed it to me and it is also a follow up on the previous one titled: God is able to do!
In summary and according to Scripture, Eph 3:14-21, God has given us all. He had given us
- Empowerment through the Spirit of God;
- Christ that lives in us – through Faith;
- Ability to do something;
- Insight and wisdom;
- His 4-dimensional love and grace (width, breadth, depth and height);
- And the fulfillment with the fullness of God!
Just so that:
- Our prayers and thoughts could be pure and powerful;
- In the knowledge and the faith – that
- He (God) has the power TO DO!
And HE is waiting to do – for what?
Whatever you might pray or think in faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit!
- He wants to be God in our lives through our faith!
Is there anything impossible for God? NO!!!!!!!!!!!
But the problem is our thoughts! Our thoughts and carnal desires influence our prayers!
Paul wrote: Rom 12:1-2
“ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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.”
So the theme of this message is: The power of your thoughts! (Get your mind straight!)
We have gone through 2012 and just started with 2013, but what are your thoughts about the past year as well as the new year:
- Positive or negative?
- Did you achieve what you would have liked to or not?
- Any failures or trauma?
- Any new aspirations/plans for the new year or none at all?
- Anyhow, we should praise God for every new day and year where we can still praise and worship His name!
In what sense does our thoughts then influence our lives?
Paul wrote that we should be renewed in our minds – meaning our thoughts and beliefs.
- Your thoughts influence your frame of mind;
- And your frame of mind influence your level of energy and commitment;
- And this impacts on your emotions;
- And your emotions influence your reaction upon events!
- And the foundation of your thoughts is being controlled by your sub-conscious;
- It contains all of your experiences (good and bad from childhood);
- It forms your perceptions of current situations (good or bad);
- Just think of Christmas as a child:
- Immediate thoughts of a long summer holiday period; swimming and fishing; fruits; presents; family gatherings; going to the farm; etc…….
- Nice thoughts but for others it could mean quite the opposite and loneliness?
Wants to satisfy the flesh –
- “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Rom 7:23
- Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste. Job 20:2
- You see the thoughts of your mind is also the playing field of Satan!
- Your thoughts determine your attitude and behavior;
- Your thought can therefore overrule or undermine your faith –
- Or stimulate/support your faith to be powerful in God!
It is in this area where deception and temptations are taking place – the breeding place of bad thoughts?
- “ Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2Th 2:1-3
- “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. Eph 4:17-19
- Another translation says:
- you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do,
- in the futility of their minds.
- They are darkened in their understanding,
- alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
Verse 20: But that is not the way you learned Christ!–
The “Old Nature” is still in your mind – read verse 22- 24
“That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
- Another translation of verse 24:
- “and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness”.
So, coming back to our main verse from Paul in Rom 12:1:
- That we have to be renewed in our minds!
- Clear your head of all rubbish and worldly things;
- Clear your thoughts of negative stuff – which is an indication of a lack of faith!
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
- In this regard, our thoughts would like to put us into a higher position where we ought not to be, such as:
- To be a leader of people (a team captain; manager; or even President of a country);
- To assume an office such as Pastor, officer; judge, etc. – while we should only be the usher at the door;
- Or to be a great musician/singer – such as the “wanna-be’s” on Idols?
Verse 6 – 8: And then Paul continues with the gifts of grace ……
- We have (possess) gifts through the power of the Holy Spirit;
- To be a servant unto the Body of Christ
- And it differs according to the grace that has been given to us:
- whether prophecy – according to the proportion of faith;
- Or ministry – in our serving;
- or he that teacheth – in his teaching;
- Or he that exhorteth – in his exhortation:
- he that giveth – in generosity;
- the one who leads (rules) – with zeal;
- the one who does acts of mercy – with cheerfulness.
So, here we find the 5-fold ministry and support ministries all in one.
This shows me that both categories are equally important!
Now remember – we are busy dealing with the issue to renew your mind!
- Therefore, the revelation of this verses (6-8) is: To have a mind of a leader!
But in order to implement the gifts above, you will need the following characteristics as well: (Beginning from verse 9 – 21):
- “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
- Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor”.
- This refer to a: MIND of love!
- Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
- Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
- This refer to a: Mind of Faith!
- Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.
- Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
- Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
- This refer to a: Mind of a servant!
- Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited.
- This refers to unity; submission; humbleness; etc.
- It refers to a: Mind of Unity (One Mind)
- Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.
- If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
- It seems to me the Apostle Paul also understood that it is sometimes difficult to have peace with everyone we meet. It is quite noticeable when he starts the sentence with “if possible, so far as it depends on you…”
- And yes, we can control much of the outcome of relationships when we try to live in peace with people, despite their reactions or attitude. It is just a choice and an act of your love through the grace and love of Christ in us.
- If you are not born again, this will be nearly impossible to accomplish;
- But these verses refer to a: Mind of Peace.
- Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
- To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”
- This refers to a Mind of Forgiveness !
- Forgiveness clears the mind of all bitterness and hate!
- It clears the mind of negative thoughts!
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
- This refers to a: Powerful mind!
- Powerful through faith in God and His ability to do!
- Powerful through the Spirit of God!
In summary, Paul is actually telling us to renew our minds to the following standard. To have a:
- Mind of a Leader!
- MIND of Love!
- Mind of Faith
- Mind of a Servant!
- Mind of Unity!
- Mind of Peace!
- Mind of Forgiveness!
- Powerful mind!
Then, when we look once again at each of the eight characteristics, it clearly identifies the characteristics of Jesus Christ! And once again, the Word of God gives us the answer on this:
- Having the mind of Christ!
- 1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
- Rom 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Having the “mind of Christ” also mean to have the thoughts of Christ! His reasoning and wisdom; His compassion and zeal.
One last word on this: We find eight (8) characteristics in this Scripture from Paul and this number refer to “New beginnings”. When we renew our minds according to the perfect will of God, there will be a new beginning for us as well as for those whom we touch through the gifts of Grace!
When your mind and thoughts are renewed and in line with the mind of Christ, and start to pray in faith, what will the outcome of your prayers be now? When God says that He is able to do far beyond what we may pray or think – according to the power within us?
Do you want to be a shaker and mover of the Spirit of God in your city? Start to renew your mind according to the above guideline from the Word! Have the mind of Christ!