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13 February 2008

Just Thinking

There is so much I will have left unsaid at the end of this post, but alas, I have to do other stuff besides sit at the computer all morning.

I've found a moderately new place of observation on what it means to be a "thinker." One major desire of mine is to challenge myself and my friends and acquaintances (and the reader here) to think about what the commitment of our lives to Christ actually means on a personal level. (Somewhat ironically, the more personal it is, the more others-centered the commitment grows.)

I used to consider a "thinking Christian" to be one who focused heavily on the more cerebral aspects of the Bible, Christianity, doctrine, and the like. I've come to the conclusion, though, that this isn't really the case. At least, that isn't the only kind of "thinking Christian."

The Christ-follower's life should consist of a series of very deliberate thoughts which translate into actions. Our involuntary (rather, ingrained) actions and reactions are most often based in self-centeredness. Think about it. From the smallest attitude to the greatest act of kindness, we must continually make an intentional, thoughtful decision to do the right, and to not do the wrong.

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus..." (Philippians 2:5, NKJV) Paul continues on to say that Jesus, though equal to God, intentionally humbled Himself, intentionally became a servant, and intentionally served and sacrificed to the point of death. (And He has been lifted up and given the Name which is above every name!)

"Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:1-3, NLT, emphasis mine)

"For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:10-11, NKJV, emphasis mine)

"Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him." (Colossians 3:10, NLT, emphasis mine)

These Scriptures speak of purposes of the mind which will translate into courses of positive action. The marriage of the heart to actions in the Christ-follower is made alive (I thought about saying "consummated" there) by conscious thought. Similar to what James says about the fact that faith without works is a dead faith, the best of intentions, if unacted upon, are of little or no worth.

Think about why you reacted the way you just reacted to something, or think about the actions you just took. Start with the past 10 to 15 minutes or so and work backward until you hit something noteworthy. What website did you hit before coming here? At whom did you yell in malicious anger? What person did you malign in thought -- your boss or that lazy, egotistical co-worker of yours? Your spouse?

What thoughts drive your actions from moment to moment?


Tony M said...

Yes, it requires thinking to do the right thing. Laziness, the "easy" way, usually leads to the wrong thing (e.g., James 4:17 - "Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it."). However, I think (heh-heh, no pun intended) that as we continually practice thinking (and thus doing) the right thing, it will change our ingrained actions and reactions to be more Christ-like - to develop those actions and reactions into our good habits that will replace our bad ones.

Bill Fowler said...

You said, "The Christ-follower's life should consist of a series of very deliberate thoughts which translate into actions".

This is something I plan on bringing up with my high school kids tonight. That is, whenever scripture indicates God speaking to anyone directly, that person is called to action. Either having a rather important baby (Mary) or getting to work in some specific way (too many to list).

Therefore, if we truly HEAR God's consistent whisper in our ear, we are to respond (in my humble estimation) by doing God's work both as being pious Christ-Followers and literally through action.

Thanks for this post. I have a little more material for tonight's lesson.

Preston N said...

Again - another great post!

Rom 12:2-3 says "And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (3) For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think as to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to each man a measure of faith."

This verse is one of the keys to a Christian life. For me it is the daily renewing of my mind upon Jesus Christ that allows me to walk in holiness (also the Holy Spirit). This means to consciously be aware of who Christ is and what he did for us on the cross. As 2 Cor 5:14 says that it is the "Love of Christ that compels us...". We are to bring it upon our minds the love of God and how that was displayed upon the cross at Calvary.

A good example of this in action is the next time your tempted to sin, immediately think of the Jesus hanging upon the cross and at that very moment ask yourself "Do I want to put a smile upon the Saviors face or do I want to bring Him additional disappointment and heart break?". For how can we sin against God when our minds are directed to such thoughts?

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