Thought for the Week - 30th JulyPastor Gareth Watkins
For the sinful nature is always hostile to God.
It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will.
Last week I wrote about how we’re not saved to do nothing; we’re saved to do something. That something is fulfilling God’s plan for our lives in every day of our lives. Each one of us is God’s workmanship and each one is being made into His masterpiece.
The way we think in ourselves is sinful. When we were born again, we weren’t an old creation patched up – we are made brand new! It is then that the masterpiece begins. We’re re-created from the inside out. Last week in Romans 12: 1-2 we learnt that we can be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This week I want to ask you whether you think our mind needs renewing. Our Christian walk and starting to walk God’s plan starts with a renewing of our mind.
If we want to achieve the best for our lives, we can be rebooted inwardly by God. This has an outward affect – we will be able to get the best blessings, be the most fruitful and have the best relationship with God. Walking in the things of God by a renewal of our mind brings those outcomes. If we want the best relationship with Gods, have visions, a oneness with God, the life of God in our inner being, then we have to come to God to take our minds and change it inwardly. If we want a knowledge of life eternal, we need to have a change in our minds. We need our minds retrained by God.
In the verse above we read that we are born as sinful people. Unless there a direct intervention of God, we cannot help ourselves. Our natural nature is sinful and always hostile to God. I often hear people say that church is boring, and that they’d rather have fun in hell with their friends than “be bored in heaven”. If our thinking is retrained we find that the most fun is in heaven! God created fun! God created love, God created happiness, God created contentment… so all those things will be Him in heaven.
How we act often starts in our minds and our thoughts! Our being is naturally sinful – we have to come to God. Our nature is hostile to God and will never obey Him. But God will break into that madness. He can smooth those rough places and bring His light into those dark places. God breaks in supernaturally and makes things happen that we cannot do. That’s the action of God in making us into His masterpiece. When we yield to Him circumstances, He comes into it and smooths that bumpy path into a path that He’s made for us.
Why? Because we have to be in connection with Him. We’re not meant to be remote from God. We’re have to be in oneness with Him.
In Romans 12: 1-2 last week, Paul wrote about us being a living sacrifice. A sacrifice has no rights. The only rights we have are found in Christ Himself. Naturally, our nature will rise up and state “I have the right”. The only rights we have are in Him. His thinking replaces the sinful thinking that leads to sinful action. He restructures them under God. His masterpiece has to be made out of something impure, made into something perfect that will last unto eternity.
The Bible uses the word “carnal”. Do you think with a carnal mind? That carnal mind was there in the beginning time with Adam. It worked its way through the Bible through the Pharisees and Sadducees, to us. Those sinful thoughts and natures have always lived through mankind to the day we find ourselves in today.
David writes of the condition he finds himself in when he’s gone down the wrong road. He is able to describe where he finds himself before God when he’s done the wrong thing. He brings out to see all the things that are in his heart:
Psalm 51: 1-4
Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
and your judgment against me is just.
David wanted the loving kindness of God in his life again. He wants his sin taken away – the weight of sin is heavy until it’s taken away. He wants his sin broken such that he can see through to God again. If you’ve known sin to block your path to God before, you’ll know how that feels. He recognises his sin! He knows that he’s hurting God. This is what wrong thinking brings about – the condition he’s describing to us. Because his thoughts have been wrong, what he is writing about has been brought about. David knew he was a sinner born from his mother’s womb.
We see how sinful thinking continued on from David’s time to that of Jesus. There we see educated sinners – the Sadducees and Pharisees:
““Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you!
For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’
but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’
Blind fools! Which is more important –
the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred?
And you say that to swear ‘by the altar’ is not binding,
but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding.
How blind! For which is more important –
the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred?
When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it.
And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it. And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.
“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites!
For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens,
but you ignore the more important aspects of the law – justice, mercy, and faith.
You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.
Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat,
but you swallow a camel!
These people were guiding the people in the Law, but were in fact blind to God. They missed the point – who they were before God. All their traditions etc. mattered for nothing, because their minds before God were lacking. They wore fine clothes and brought sacrifices, thinking they were doing well. But the gift itself wasn’t important, as much as it was Him that made the gift important. God Himself made the sacrifice Holy. They were seating by God and outwardly looking impressive. But internally they were missing the mark. They looked at the tiniest things of their appearance, but missed the most important things to God.
Jesus cries out to them “woe to you blind guides”. After Christ came, there was no need for the Pharisees. Now we go straight through to God. That going straight through to God brings about a renewal of our mind. It changes us from the inside out. The inside is rebellious and that needs to be changed to make the outside work righteously?
Will you yield to God in the thinking of your mind? Would you let Him change your thinking on everything – from your daily affairs to your family? Would you see that eternity is a blessed and better life than if you don’t change your life? Will you see there’s a better life under God?
If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it.
But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.
If we give up our life for Christ’s sake, we will save it. Instead of finding death and miserable life, we will find true friends, true purpose, true blessings, and eternity that starts within. The blessings that come when we give up our life far outweigh those things we give up. We are more satisfied when we live under God. That life brings blessing, inward healing, and purpose for living unto eternity!
Will you see the words of Jesus as true? Do you see your life as created brand new by Christ? Does your thinking need to be changed? Would you be dead to the world and alive to the will and direction of God?
As we read in Romans 12:1-2 last week:
And so, dear brothers and sisters,
I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you.
Let them be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind he will find acceptable.
This is truly the way to worship him.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.
Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
He takes us ever onward into new things.
I loved reading this week’s Thought of the week. Such an encouraging word.