Monday, September 14, 2009

The Heathen In My Mind - II

We are on a quest, a spiritual journey. Our goal is to discover all we can about The God Who Is. But, we have run into an obstacle and that obstacle is in our very own minds.

God approaches us through reason. Yes, emotion is an important part of our relationship with God, but our emotion must be informed by reason or it is not genuine, but foolish.

How does faith come to the individual?

Romans 10:
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
We hear the Word. That Word is processed by our minds. We believe.

This is not to lower faith to a mere act of reason. Faith is much more than that. But we must recognize that when God is calling his people to himself he approaches them through the faculties of reason.

Isaiah 1:
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
Yet, as we learned from the passage in Romans 8 that we looked at yesterday, our minds (before Christ) are naturally bent against and hostile to God.

For the purpose of this devotional I do not wish to look into how God deals with that, though it is an important study. What I would rather do is assume that if you are reading this it is because you already have a genuine interest in learning the truths of God and that would be because you already belong to him.

Is it important that all my thoughts be obedient to him, to his truth? Look at how Paul describes his ministry to the church of Corinth:

2 Corinthians 10:
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,
The battle for the human soul is a battle for the mind. God wins that battle in the individual by supernaturally breaking down those strongholds (arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God) and bringing them into submission to God's truth.

My problem, and I expect yours as well, is that my mind still struggles against the truth of God. There are still vestiges of my sin nature around and they are still at war with God's truth. There is a part of me that still does not like God's law, God's truth, even the reality of God himself and what he reveals about himself in Scripture. Though I have been brought out of Egypt spiritually, I still find much of Egypt still in my desires and my thoughts--my thinking.

In short, each day I am confronted with the heathen in my mind. Paul knew this and wrote about it in his letter to the Romans.

Romans 12:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
The ESV has a footnote next to the phrase translated "spiritual worship" at the end of verse one and gives an alternate translation of "rational service." The Greek connotes both and can be (and has been) translated both ways. This is because spiritual worship is rational worship.

And in verse two I am told not to be conformed to this world, not to yield to the desires, to the thinking, of those vestiges of inner heathen still in my mind. Rather, I am told to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. What that means and how we are to approach it we will look at next, but until then we should ask God each day, this day, to govern our thinking by his Spirit and yield ourselves completely to his truth.

Prayer: Holy Father, again we ask that you conform us to yourself. Govern our thinking by your Spirit, guide us by your truth. Give us a heart, a desire for holiness and the Holy. Teach us godly reason, give us discernment, help us to discern what your will is and what your truth is and guide us in it. We need you and are helpless without you. We ask it for Christ's sake and in his name. Amen.

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