New Mind, New Nature

Scripture clearly states our new nature in Christ is contingent on our minds being renewed in the Word of God.

Ephesians 4:23-24 reads, “… 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” (ESV).

These verses attest how we think determines how we will act. As born-again Christians we are called to be like Christ as He is just, good, truthful, forgiving, loving, merciful, obedient to spiritual authority, advocate, compassionate, etc. If our mindset is skewed, and we mistake tolerance as love, than we fail to be Christ-like because we are making decisions based on a poor spirit of mind. A poor spirit of mind is a way of thinking conformed to the old nature that is prone to attributes opposite of Christ such as selfishness, deceitfulness, immorality, and so forth.

To place in laymen’s terms, a spirit of mind not filtered through God’s guidelines and viewpoint as the Bible expresses is like seeing everything with the glass half empty. People will look at life according to the final hour and find themselves lacking all they truly desire. However, a spirit of mind filtered by God’s Word that the Bible plainly conveys is like seeing everything with the glass half full. Saints live their lives expecting to receive their desires given to them and more so. Plus, the bright side remains, even if one dream is never achieved, a relationship with God is more than enough, for in the relationship they have everything they need.

In Romans 12:2, Paul said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you many discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect,” which supports what he said in Ephesians. In Christian circles, believers discuss the importance of “renewing your mind in the Word of God”, which is very true, but how often do we discuss why? We discuss the mechanics and later analyze the result of reading the Bible and applying the principles to our lives. But do we think about why we must renew our minds other than to make our lives better and further severed from sin?

Could the why simply be Perception is Reality? In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, prisoners are chained inside a cave. A fire burns behind them. A an sort of backdrop is set behind them for puppeteers to parade puppets around to cast shadows on the wall of the cave the prisoners face. The puppeteers would make noises ad voices, which affected how the prisoners perceive what they see on the wall. The prisoners analyzed what they saw based on the appearance of objects rather than knowing what the objects were (faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/cave.htm).

Plato used the allegory to explain his Theory of Forms, which argues that non-physical forms represent the most accurate reality (anselm.edu/homepage/dbanach/platform.htm).

The prisoners in the allegory are unable to see things in the truest form, only what they could see projected of those objects.

Our entire world is based on voices and opinions projected to us, they make the sound effects to fit the image they select to portray to us, and then we access things must be as they appear.

Yet, God presents us with the unfiltered truth of the gospel and gives us the ability to turn our heads and look behind us. We can see the puppeteers manipulating us. We see the objects as they are, and we can finally access reality, instead of basing reality on an exaggeration.

Hebrews 11:1 GW says, “Faith assures us of things we expect and convinces us of things we cannot see.” Plato explored a thought that later appears in Scripture.

As of late, we hear modern teachers and preachers of the Word explain to us that when we pray Heaven’s Will into the Earth, what we pray for already exists. We are declaring and speaking forth blessings that already belong to us, not simply for our own sake, but in order to make God known throughout the Earth.

Therefore, could we not say Salvation by Christ starts in the Renewal of the Mind? Does this not attest that God gives us the ability to see truth as it is and not develop a truth based on how things appear to be?

In the Garden, Genesis 3 goes into detail how humanity got into the reckless state we’re in today. Adam-woman (known as Eve, but she was not named Eve until after the Fall, for disobedience changed her destiny – maybe – we’ll never know for certain) was deceived with half-truths. A clever serpent convinced her that if she ate some fruit she was told not to eat, she would be like someone she dearly loves, she would be like God. The other half-truth was about whether or not she would die, the serpent made it clear she wouldn’t die suddenly. The serpent made Adam-woman question her identity and her destiny. The serpent convinced her not to rely on the word of her dearest friend – Adam-man – which was the word that came directly from her greatest love – God. The serpent deceived Adam-woman into thinking she could not only decide who she could become but also that she could carve her own path in life. The serpent taught her to distrust her surroundings and her inner circle and made her lust after the unknown, and in the process of this misconduct, the serpent also taught her to live for herself and completely disregard Adam-man, God, the animals in the Garden, and any future generations to come.

How did the serpent attack her identity and destiny? Well, in Genesis 1, God already said she was like Him, for both she and Adam-man were made in the image and likeness of God. By making her doubt something that was already true, she fell for the deception and in that moment she lost her identity, because her perception of the reality was altered. When the serpent convinced her she wouldn’t immediately die, the enemy deprived her of spiritual life, and sentenced her to spiritual death, which would eventually lead to physical death and potentially compromise her eternity with God, altering the destination God intended for her, whatever that may have been.

Since the sin in the Garden was an attack on the mind, Jesus had to come and show us a way to renew the mind.

Jesus said, “Change the way you think and act for the Kingdom of God is near!”

Psychology is a field of science that studies how we think affects the way we act. The way we think is shaped how people and events in our life develop our psyche, and depending on our personality, determines how we decide to respond to life’s circumstances and how we choose to proceed in the relationships we build.

Psychologists used to think we were born with a blank slate. And from birth to the toddler years how we were treated and what we learned shaped our personality. Well, recent research shows we are born with our personality traits. Parents with several children can attest the differences between their children.

The Bible is filled with scripture that God knows who we are before we are ever born. Theologically speaking this poses a conflict in what to believe in terms of predestination. Calvinists would say God selects those who will be saved and our lives in a sense are predetermined. The good, the bad, the pretty and the ugly is all God maneuvering things in our lives to build the lives we live. Other Protestants, that believe we choose because of free will, would say God has a designated place for us and He leads us to get there, but our choices affect how we will get there and if we will get there. In a broad scope of things, regardless what a believer thinks as long as they live in relationship with God and bear good fruit and spread the gospel… We’ll all see each other in Paradise one day! Amen.

I personally don’t believe God would intentionally destine a few souls for salvation. It would go against His loving nature and His desire for justice. Yet, He is truthful, so He understands not every person will pick Him. I have learned through personal experience, our free will is a beautiful gift and He may not agree with our choice but He’ll let us make that pick, and for those who genuinely love Him, He will turn grim odds into our good favor. He is also a really good Father, therefore, if a consequence won’t kill us, He’ll let us learn the hard way until we are ready to see it His way. I believe salvation is available for anyone and everyone ready to believe what Jesus the Messiah did for us, and wants a relationship with God the power, and I believe the Holy Spirit will dwell in that person at that moment and seal them eternally writing their name in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

God loves us so much, if believing you’re part of an elect group that had no choice but to be saved, then He’ll let you believe that, because in a sense it isn’t wrong. Mankind was meant to have relationship with God and we are something special because the Bible says we are made in God’s image and likeness… to our knowledge… no other creature spoken into existence by God was made like Him. All of humanity is an ELECT group of creatures, therefore, we would all be predestined to be saved. Plus, we must remember the Bible was written by Hebrews… they are God’s chosen people, and in the end God is gonna save a huge chunk of them, if not all remaining on the Earth… so…

Ultimately we can see our new nature rests on the shoulders of our belief. Do we believe our God can do anything? Do we believe our God is loving? Do we believe because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, we can abstain from sin by not giving into temptation and live victoriously by living like the Bible says?

Ephesians 4:24 mentions living in true righteous and holiness. I learned in a class at bible college. Righteousness is listening to God. The only reason our righteousness could be like filthy rags is we try too hard to act right but the way we think is rotten. When our thinking is rotten our attempts to be righteous will be just that and we will appear religious, judgmental, churchy, and cold-hearted. By renewing the spirit of our minds, which rests on Jesus and believing as the Bible teaches us to believe. The way we think changes. And if our way of thinking is different, then the way we’ll act will be different.

As far as holiness goes. God is Holy because He is complete and perfect in His being. We are nowhere close to complete. We don’t have glorified bodies. We don’t understand who we are or what we want unless we have a baseline to compare ourselves to. We don’t already know everything, we have to learn stuff, and even then we are only capable of being really crazy good at one thing professionally and/or artistically. We are finite creatures. God is infinite to us because He says so, but could that also be someone finite cannot fully grasp someone so much larger and bigger than them? True holiness isn’t women wearing long skirts, just men preaching in the pulpit, and saints living squeaky clean lives… The Word of God says we are holy because our Savior is Holy, and Jesus’ holiness and righteousness makes us holy and righteous, because with a mindset modeled after the Messiah, we act differently. We make decisions that oppose this world system. We live a lifestyle based on what truth reveals to us not based on our opinion we call ‘our truth’.

The definition of truth is the body of real things, events, and facts. Another definition I like is the fidelity to an original or a standard. Well, what about facts, events, and things that happen in real life that don’t line up with the Christian lifestyle or what the Bible says to do? If facts, events, and things don’t reflect a world fit for our King and Savior, then clearly people that lack a renewed mind shaped a world according to truths they believe to be a reflection of reality.

I cannot control what you think. No one can except for God, but the crazy thing is, He would never control what you think. No one or nothing controls Him, and since He made us to be like Him in attributes why would He design us to be controlled? We are called to believe Him and to obey Him, but until we can be trusted to live in a world under our reign (if that will ever happen), we need a system of order that will lead to peace and prosperity not anarchy and chaos. Think about it, if we lived in a world where everyone can do what they want however, whenever that want… it would be messy, yet that latter concept is how we want to live our spiritual lives?

Adam-man and Adam-woman, Israel, and any-prodigal-to-date are proof God doesn’t control us and has no intentions of controlling us. He gave us free will, that is one third of a phenomenal mind. However, if our thinking is corrupted, our actions will follow in the like manner of our thoughts. If we live by our emotions, another third our mind, then we will never be consistent in our choices because our feelings change like the wind.

As believers in God, who our devout and genuine in our love for Him, we must renew our mind to live out our new nature. To be obedient to God is to trust Him. Scripture says we obey His commandments because we love Him. Think about it? Would you give up the security of a cushy, American life for a diety you have never met face to face without faith that TRUSTS what you believe is REAL?

Yes, “Now faith is a well-grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see.” (Weymouth New Testament) I haven’t physically seen the Messiah yet, but I have heard His voice, and I believe will all that I am He loves me. And because He loves me, He spoke to me in a way I could believe the message. I must thank the faithful saints who were diligent in their call upon their life and were bold enough to openly share their faith with me, faith that like wildfire caught my soul on fire and was convinced enough to make a confession of faith at 6 years old to believe in Jesus, my Savior and closest friend.

If you’re fellow saint, thanks for your support and reading this! I pray you walk according to the Spirit in all things. If you’re not a saints yet, (believer in Jesus the Messiah, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit), well I believe you didn’t read this by chance… especially if you once believed and then didn’t one day. Coming home to ABBA is simple, believe God’s Set-Apart Spirit still dwells with you. Repent (change the way you think… go from no God to there is a God, One God… add Jesus in the mix too!). Then believe what the Bible says about you. That you’re not a mistake. That you are God’s elect. That you are a royal-priesthood. That you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Before you know it, you’ll trust God is REAL, and then your new perception on life will change everything! Welcome home!

If you fit in neither of these categories, I hope you enjoyed what you read! Jesus loves you- that’s the truth.

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