THE POWER OF YOUR MIND
A man and his wife were sitting in church on Sunday evening listening to a gospel group sing. She was listening to each word and studying the faces of the singers, but his mind wandered. He was listening to the katydids outside the window. When the group finished singing, she leaned over to him and said, “Wasn’t that beautiful!” And he said, “Yes, and I understand they do it by rubbing their back legs together.”
Sometimes our minds are focused on what is happening and sometimes they wander. I hope your mind will be focused this morning because I want to address some things that are of vital importance to us all. By the word “mind” I mean more than just our rational ability. The Scripture uses “mind” to mean the awareness of all of life within us, about us, and above us.
Your brain is a marvelous gift of God to you. It gives you the ability to think, to remember, to love, to hate, to feel, to reason, to analyze. The average person’s brain weighs about 3 pounds and contains 12 billion cells, each of which is connected to 10,000 other cells totaling 120 trillion brain connections. You can see what a marvelous organ God has placed within us. It controls everything from the involuntary parts of our bodies, like the beating of our hearts, to the decisions that we make. It controls our hearing, seeing, smelling, speech, eating, resting, learning, and everything else that makes you – you.
Scientists are not really in agreement as to how much we can control the functions of the brain, but they do know that we can control it more than we realize. Your intellect, your emotions, and your will influence all your life and your philosophy of life. They say that we only use about 10% of our brain and that means from 10 to 11 billion cells are not used. Wouldn’t you like to know how to use those that are not being used!
Our brains are also the way by which we see life, interpret it, and become a person. Our philosophy of life that we develop determines the way we live. Your philosophy of life is the result of your inherited mind, your training, plus what you have seen, read, done, heard, and believe to this point in your life. Your philosophy of life is that to which you have programmed your mind. That will affect your morals, values, integrity, and your life investment.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks, so is he!”
I want you to look with me at the mind as the Scripture refers to it. It says that either our minds are conformed to the thinking of the world about us, or our minds are transformed by the spiritual work of grace within us. I am sure that to some extent all of us are conformed to the world in which we live – and we should be. But there is a sense in which we should not be conformed to the world in which we live.
Ask yourself, “Is my mind conformed to the values of the world or am I transformed to see life from a spiritual viewpoint?”
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A CONFORMED MIND
J. B. Phillips in his translation of Romans 12:2 says, “Don’t let this world press you into its own mold.” It has a mold for each of us and it is constantly trying to press us into it. Don’t let this happen but “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The Scripture places great value upon our minds.
The first characteristic of the conformed mind is that it gives no consideration to God’s moral requirements. Romans 1:28-32 says, “And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which were not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”
We live in a society where these people are trying to silence the Christian message so that they can conduct abortions up to the time of birth and live any alternative lifestyle they desire. This is a mindset that has absolutely no consideration of God’s moral values because it is unredeemed, unregenerate, anti-Christian, and anti-God. It is man alone on his own course making his own decisions without any consideration of God.
Also, the mind that is conformed to the world comes to false conclusions about spiritual matters. The mind that is in tune with the value system of the unregenerate world does not know what Christian morality is because it comes through divine revelation. You and I have the views that we have because we know what God thinks and we are trying to live our lives in accordance with what He has told us in his word.
Another characteristic of a conformed mind is that it lives by materialistic values. The new life in Christ cannot be lived by the old heart. You know the struggle that goes on within you. It is hard for us who are Christians, but those who try to be good simply because they’ve heard good values find they cannot do it on their own. It takes a spiritual regeneration. It takes a spiritual birth. It takes God living in us to be able to do it.
A little boy pulled the chair across the floor and climbed up on the counter and had his hand in the cookie jar. His mother said from the other room, “What are you doing in there?” He said, “I’m fighting temptation!”
Another characteristic of a mind that is conformed to the world is that it is hostile to God. Do you know people who just won’t give God any part of their lives? When Carl Sagan was alive, I enjoyed his scientific programs on the universe. Sagan had a brilliant mind, but in his explanation of the universe, he left God out. He could not see God as the creator.
THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A TRANSFORMED MIND
First, it is a new way of thinking about life. The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4:22-32 “In reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lust of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. Let him who steals steel no longer; but rather let him labor, performing with his own hands what is good, in order that he may have something to share with him who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Our life in Christ is a new way of thinking about life. We do not see life as we once did. That is what brings us, as Christians, in conflict with the value system of the world. Also, the transformed mind brings balance and mental health. Christians ought to be the most balanced people on earth. But we are not because we do not practice the biblical standard. I think Christians are sicker in their minds that it any time in my experience. This is because we have allowed ourselves to be slowly conditioned by the world’s standards. We should have the best mental health of anyone on earth. The church is a hospital for sinners, but the sinners are sicker today when they come to us.
The transformed mind also gives peace. Isaiah 26:3 says, “The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in Thee.”
The transformed mind can know God’s will. Our Scripture today says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
I believe that God wants us to know His will for our lives. When our minds are transformed by the Holy Spirit we are then in a position to know His will. Do you know what God’s will is for you? If you are living in fellowship with God, you will know it, because he is far more desirous to show you what his will is that you are to know.
Also, the transformed mind helps us to know who we are. Mr. J. L. Kraft of the Kraft Cheese Company was Sunday school superintendent in the North Shore Baptist Church in Chicago. This man who employed thousands of secretaries all across the country, was observed filling out the secretary’s report for his Sunday school because they Sunday school secretary was absent that day. Someone asked him, “Mr. Kraft, what has been the secret of your success?” He said, “I think it boils down to one thing. That is my ability to make a clear-cut decision and stick to it.”
How are you at making decisions? A baseball player can come to bat and fail two out of three times, but if he hits just one occasionally, he can play effectively. All of our decisions will not be right, but we need the ability to make a clear-cut decision and stick to it. We can never waiver on the laws of God and the standard of the Christian life.
The father of Matthew Henry, the great Bible commentator taught his children about making decisions: he said,
“I take God the Father to be my God;
I take God the Son to be my Savior;
I take God the Holy Spirit to be my Sanctifier;
I take the Word of God to be my rule;
I take the people of God to be my people;
and I do hereby dedicate my whole self to the Lord,
and I do this deliberately, freely, and forever.”
I challenge us all to make up our mind about who we are in Christ and who we are as the church.
Your mind will control your life! Lord, help us to have the mind of Christ!