Transforming the Mind II (Continue in the Faith)
Acts 14:22 Amplified Bible (AMP) “.…Stand Firm in the Faith
22 Establishing and strengthening the souls and the hearts of the disciples, urging and warning and encouraging them to stand firm in the faith, and [telling them] that it is through many hardships and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not a beginning only in the ways of God, but also a continuance in the same as long as life lasts…. The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can but tempt you to cease your pilgrimage, and settle down to buy and sell with her in Vanity Fair. The flesh will seek to ensnare you, and to prevent your pressing on to glory. Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the mark for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: he will insinuate that you are doing no good; and that you want rest. He will endeavor to make you weary of suffering. Wear your shield, Christian, therefore, close upon your armor, and cry mightily unto God, that by His Spirit you may endure to the end. Charles Spurgeon
Mr. Spurgeon and many of the greatest spiritual leaders of times past and today, rightfully so encourage all Christians to persevere against the attacks of our ancient enemy, who also perseveres relentlessly to destroy all who believe on the name of Jesus the Christ. Historical accounts have lamented the thousands of saints who kept “the faith” unto death. Many in modern times have died for not forsaking Christ, and we in America are beginning to see attacks on Christianity almost in every State of our Union. These attacks are from enemies within and without our great country, and we must “keep the faith”, and if not, the nation perishes. Make no mistake, even though these current enemies maybe made of flesh, they are soldiers of satan (our spiritual enemy) who endeavor to destroy the saints, any place they find an opening.
However, we have another enemy more destructive than those who don’t believe in God, or whose religion denounces Christianity. Who or what could that be? Our own selves, I’ll explain.
Let’s look to the “nature of sin” that every human is born into. Even though introduced to mankind through Adam and Eve, it is the spiritual offspring of satan; a virus that has infected all mankind; even the living earth itself inherits the cruelty of sin, for it cries out for the goodness of God to once again permeate every pore of its mountains and plains; the oceans and streams. The atmosphere (the heavens) seem to be in constant search for the return of the Son of Man, bellowing out storms and winds, seemingly in futility seeking to cleanse the earth’s surface of human corruption; preparing a world worthy of His return and His preeminent presence.
By His Almighty Grace, God provided a way out for all of mankind, Jesus the Christ. Jesus removed the penalty of sin, once and for all, and offers eternal redemption for all who will believe. Perfection awaits those who accept Him as Lord and Savior, and are born again… receiving a new nature, born of God and eternally incorruptible. Perfect in a newly created spirit, enclosed in a sin ruled body, and a soul corrupted by a nature which is completely opposite of the love of God.
So what is the problem here? Why hasn’t the world changed to reflect the presence of God? Why do people seem to be more evil and corrupt as each day goes by? Why are Christians being attacked so openly? Why haven’t more Christians grown into the exact person God made them to be?
The answer to all those questions is very simple, and can be answered in the followings statements.
Scripture Reference: Romans 12: 2
2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
(Yes, I know, I’m using the reference again. God is working on me regarding the staleness of my mind)
There was a line spoken by a so called villain in one of the Superman movies, when one of his flunkies failed in an attempt to get rid of Superman. It was, “I asked you to do one simple little thing, kill superman and you couldn’t even do that”. In that context of human existence, Superman was impossible to destroy. So that very simple request was received as impossible to achieve. I think that the statement “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”, seems to be impossible to achieve by Christians in general. Yet it reveals a command written by Paul that is alive and infused with the power of the Holy Spirit, and activated by faith.
God has not only asked us to “transform our minds”, but He has given us the most powerful force in all eternity to use to overcome any difficulties in transforming our minds…. The name of His Son Jesus! All of heaven reacts to the sound of that name. Every creature, visible or invisible, recognizes that name, and must obey any demand or command spoken in that name. Every living cell in every creature knows the power in that name. The devil and all of his cohorts, know that name and shiver in fear when the Christian acts and speaks with belief in that wondrous name! They have to obey; they must obey!!!
So do you think your body, your mind, your thoughts will react to the name of Jesus? Yes they will, nothing, not even your (so you think) circumstances are immune to the power of the name. If they are not of God, then they will leave by the power of the name of Jesus! Speak to your thoughts! Speak to you circumstances! Speak to your body, because they all MUST obey the name! Command and demand that ungodly issues and situations and thoughts leave your mind in that name!! Thus begins the renewing of your mind. The more you do it, the stronger you will be, and you’ll see amazing results!! All you have to do is ask and believe!!!
Statements 2, 3, & 4
John 14: 13-14 (Expanded Bible)
13 “And if you ask for anything in my name [C asking “in my name” means acknowledging that Jesus is the mediator between God and human beings; the name represents the person], I will do it for you so that ·the Father’s glory will be shown [L the Father might be glorified] ·through [or in] the Son.14 If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.”
Proverbs 23:7 - “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Proverbs 21:2 - “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs and tries the hearts.”
Scientists and psychologist have discovered that in a human’s formative years, from the womb until about 5 – 7 years old, almost all self governing values are learned, from the environment. This means from the mother’s mental condition and experiences during pregnancy through childhood development. They also attest that those experiences become subconscious in nature, and when we have certain occurrences or stimuli, our reactions are automatic, without conscious thought. These reactions can be negative or positive. In general, children have been told “no” or “don’t” approximately 25,000 times by the time they reached 18 years of age. How does that number compare to the positive statements that are made during the same time period? Is that 5 year old person still running your life? Can’t be, can it??
Time for some serious reflection! Oh, that’s a ridiculous proposition!!!! We are all grown up, mature adults!
Add to that notion, a nature that is selfish and prone to anger, jealousy, revenge, and hate, that is the “pre-born again” nature…. a person without God, then what chance does he/she have of transforming the mind? That person’s heart, without the love of God, cannot help but suffer futility trying to deal with or control these negative traits. “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he”, AND “he is right in his own eyes”. Without God, one cannot help but sin, but Jesus gives us power over sin.
Folks, there is no human power that provides a way out of this dilemma. It is a spiritual condition that has a spiritual answer. The only permanent solution is through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Through Him, we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the name of Jesus!
There’s much more that could have been shared here, but it seems too long as it is. I leave you with a familiar scripture verse that may bring, at least a bit of closure.
John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”