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What does it mean to think like a Christian, or not?

Who should I listen to?

Before becoming a Christian, our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors were ruled by our personal desires. The aim of such desires is to fulfill thoughts centered on self, not God. Such thoughts and desires are heavily influenced by society. And if we allow today’s society to define what is good (instead of God’s word) then we enter a world darkened by the absence of God’s truth. As a result, our self-centered thinking sets the course of our lives, not God’s truth. So, if God’s truth is not our ‘go to’ authority on what is good for us, then what is?

The authority of inner feelings is now hailed as the authority of the day.(Back in the 60’s when the ideology of the day was “if it feels good do it” is nothing more than an update but with a wider following today on that same ideology) Better yet, if society endorses our feelings then we can feel free to express those feelings. And guess what, those thoughts will reinforce the idea that this is truly who we are! Back in the day, we called it rebellion. Today we call it expressive individualism.

The problem with this is that if an unchanging absolute authority does not define truth for us, then truth becomes something that is in a state of flux. What we determine as truth and what we reject as not being truth today, cannot be counted on to be the same tomorrow!

In contrast, upon becoming a Christian, our desire to please only ourselves, is put aside for the desire to please God. That voice inside our head telling us what is right and what is wrong, finds its source in the word of God. A Word that is absolute and unchanging.

Yet, as Christian we know that as long as we are alive, we now have two voices that compete for control of our thoughts. (Keep in mind that thoughts determines attitudes, and attitudes forms behavior.). Additionally, we know that the voice that speaks the loudest is the one we focus upon. Therefore, in order for God’s truths to speak the loudest we must be able to readily recognize it. If we do not consistently absorbs His truths, by spending time daily in God’s word and with God in prayer, then the voice of our flesh will take advantage of this lack of knowledge and drown out the Voice of truth.

Remember, to think like a Christian we need to have a sense of how God would want us to think. We aren’t going to know that unless we become familiar with what God thinks, right? And, the main place to find that out is in His Word. Otherwise, we will be allowing what we think to be determined by our self-centered nature.

And now, the departures…

A goodbye is just the beginning of a hello! Or so my 7 year old grandson says!

Now that Nammy Camp has faded into the sunset, what now?

The departures of each family group are accompanied by the waves, shouts of goodbyes and I love you’s by the remaining groups traditionally positioned on the front porch.

In past times, these farewell moments have been painted in gray. For letting go has been an all too familiar scene played out in my life. In spite of these colorless moments , there have been some revelations along the way which have served to paint these moments in a more colorful palette.

So how does this happen?

Referencing my last post, it’s an exercise in acceptance. Accepting that God is in control, and that His plans are always designed for our good.

Something else needs to be acknowledged here. My flesh, that part of me that always wants its own way, revolts when things don’t go the way I prefer. For I would prefer that all 4 of my children live nearby. Not in two other states, and another country!

Accepting God’s placement for my children and their families, can only be accomplished by preferring God’s will for their lives over my own will. This is no easy task, but through the years it has become doable. It takes time to grow in the knowledge of God’s truths. It takes a bolstering of trust to know that His ways are always better than mine. And as I exercise that trust, it grows stronger and more reliable.

Focusing on what I have and not what I don’t have, is another helpful exercise. This is where the fiery dart lessons come in real handy. It’s mighty tempting as I stand waving from my front porch to dwell on the sadness I feel as the final group departs. But it has been my realization that by overly focusing on the negative, I won’t notice the birds serenading me, feel the cool breezes brushing against my skin, or value the beauty of the quiet. For you see, I won’t be able to appreciate this different sort of quiet. A quiet that offers serenity, peacefulness, and consolation all at once.

I don’t want to miss out on the blessed gifts that accompany this season of my life because I am focusing on the negative. The reality is that time changes things. If I cooperate with God as He works His plan, I will discover the beauty, comfort, and purpose that He has prepared for me within those life changes.

I admit this is a God-size task. One that only can be managed successfully when I defer to God’s way of dealing with the departures that always follows Nammy Camp.

The Real Me…

Ever had a thought intrude upon your mind that made you shutter? Have you had thoughts about a situation that just couldn’t move beyond the negative? Do these types of thoughts plant seeds of concern about who you really are? If we persist in giving sway to these concerns, they will set us on a path of lies and deception.

But as Christians, we have a defense against such deception. It is clearly stated in over 100 verses in God’s authoritative word that our true identity is based on our personal relationship with God. By believing in Christ and accepting His sacrifice on our behalf, our bodies became the dwelling place of Christ via the Holy Spirit. At the moment of salvation, our old self’s took on a new identity. Therefore, my true identity, my authentic self, is based on my new life in Christ. I am no longer deceived. I have the assurance my negative feelings are not my true self. In other words, “I was one way then I was completely different and what happened in between was Him.” (Season 1, Ep. 1, The Chosen)

Ponder these Truths:

…and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV

Yet, when we reject God’s authoritative word, we open our sin nature (our old identity) to any and everything false. And today the downward spiral of the morals of our country gives evidence of the consequences of such rejection. Some have even digressed to the point that they place authority and value on feelings, over God’s transcendent truths, to define their authentic selves.

In short, the modern self is one where authenticity is achieved by acting outwardly in accordance with one’s inward feelings.

Strange New World: How Thinkers and Activists redefined identity and sparked the Sexual Revolution by Carl T. Trueman

When the feelings of ‘self’ dictate our attitude and actions, we are capable of choices that fly in the face of God. Choices that will eventually set us and those directly affected by our choices on a path of destruction. Attitudes and actions that deep within our hearts we know are wrong.

Feelings as authority vs God as authority?

The Scriptures explain the nature of our old selves and why the world rejects those of us who belong to God, as well as God’s authoritative word.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 ESV

To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,..Ephesians 4:22

Consider

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10 ESV

Setting my mind on:

Pulling against each other.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. Romans 8:5-8

In church circles the word flesh is tossed about nonchalantly due to our familiarity with its definition. But I bet it sounds pretty weird to those without a church background! Therefore, I will attempt to decode its meaning.

We all understand that we possess what is called a human nature. That is what separates us from the animals. It’s how we think, feel, and act.

When a person believes in Christ, the Holy Spirit of God takes up residence within that person which in essence make God her Boss. An unbeliever, on the other hand, is her own boss . Still, both the believer and unbeliever possess a human nature. We now call this our flesh. Simply put:

The flesh is the part of a believer that disagrees with the Spirit. The makeup of a believer is different from that of an unbeliever, in that an unbeliever does not have the Spirit of God indwelling them. In the case of an unbeliever, the flesh is in agreement with the spirit of that unbeliever.

This state of being reveals why fiery darts wield so much power. An unbeliever has no resource to determine truth other that their own experience, coupled with the world’s mind set of truth. Without the absolute truth of God’s word, for them truth is ever changing.

Yet, a believer has the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within. If a believer maintains a daily communication with God through prayer and the study of Scripture, then what they think, feel, and act is based on the never changing truths therein. A believer gets in trouble when they drift away from that two-fold communication. The less we know of God’s truths, the more vulnerable we become to fiery darts.

For you see, the flesh (in others word the human spirit) is always opposed to the Holy Spirit. But one leads to death (an eternity without God) , the other leads to life (on earth and in eternity with God)

Stop now and ask yourself this question,

“Have I set my mind on what my flesh desires?”

or

“Have I set my mind on what the Holy Spirit desires?”