Renewing the Mind

Wednesday, June 17, 2015, 4:00 p.m. – the Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Search Me, O God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Colossians 3:1-17 (ESV).

Set Your Mind

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

If you have been raised with Christ, meaning if you have been born of the Spirit of God, and are now indwelt with the Holy Spirit, and have died to sin, and have been set free through the power of the Spirit within you to live to righteousness, then you (we) are to seek and to set our minds on the things that are above, not on things that are on earth. So, how do we do this? And, what does this mean exactly?

To “seek” means to pursue, to go after, and to search for something or someone, like if we are hunting a hidden treasure, or following clues to solve a mystery, or like if we are searching for a missing child. It means to earnestly and passionately go after what we desire until we find it.

We are to seek the things that are above. So, what are the things that are above? They are God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are the living Word of God, Jesus Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. They are the written Word of God. They are righteousness, holiness, godliness, and (agape) love. They are fellowship with God and with other believers. They are God’s will for our lives, and a God-led and biblical understanding of who we are and why we are here, and what we are supposed to be doing. They are truth and integrity. They are faithfulness, perseverance, Christ-likeness, and passion and concern for lost souls, and for the spiritual growth of the church, and for the encouragement and strengthening of persecuted saints, etc.

So, how do we seek these, and how do we set our minds on these things and others like them? If we have been raised with Christ we should desire God and his Word and should want to know his will for our lives, and we should desire to walk in his holiness and righteousness. Then, we need to act on that God-given desire, and pursue these things through time with God in his Word, in prayer, and in obedience to what his Word teaches us, and in following how his Spirit within us gifts us, empowers us, and leads us. The more we spend time with God, listening to him, studying his word, talking with him, and sharing with him our hearts, the more we learn of him, and get to know his heart. And, the more we obey him, the more of himself and his will he reveals to us.

We also have to not set our minds on things of this sinful world, for the two are opposed to each other, and trying to manage both will be counterproductive. We should examine our lives and take a good hard look at how we spend our free time. What kinds of things are we taking into our minds? Are they godly? Or worldly? Do we, as followers of Christ, spend much more time reading novels or watching TV, movies, and surfing the net than we spend at Jesus’ feet, listening to him, and then obeying him? Are we viewing or listening to things which are sinful, or are we being entertained by the sins of others? Or, are we just filling our minds with a bunch of useless junk that has no value for our lives in light of eternity? We can’t set our minds on things above if our minds are cluttered with things from below.

Put to Death

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

So, we need to put to death what is earthly in us, such as sexual immorality, including us being entertained by immorality on TV, and in movies, or on the internet, or in music. And, we need to put to death impurity, worldly passion, evil desire, idolatry, lying, malice, slander, obscene talk, gossip, and the like. So, how do we do this? It means we have to eradicate these things from our lives. We can’t even have a hint of them in our lives, and we can’t play with fire hoping not to get burned. If we have a serious long-standing problem with lust and pornography, for instance, we should not have private internet access. Although sexual sin has always existed since the fall of man, today’s smart phones, tablets and personal computers have opened up a whole world of evil which has led many astray. Better to cut off the offending arm or eye than to live in sinful rebellion against God, destroying marriages, homes and other relationships, including your own life.

We have to be willing to cut out of our lives whatever leads us into sin. If we keep thinking we can handle it, but then we go right back to it over and over again, we are only fooling ourselves. If we think that we can’t help it, then we are lying to ourselves, because God says different. If we continually make excuses for why we are not experiencing victory, then shame on us. We have to get radical about sin, and we have to start taking sin seriously. We have to remove from our lives all avenues we have created for ourselves which we know will lead us into sin. We know because history has proven that to be the case, even though we may deny this history over and over again. But, we can’t do this in our own strength. And, we can’t do this if we are just playing games with God, either. He knows the difference! And, so do some of our spouses and children, too. And, we can’t do this if we don’t really know God, but we just pretend to know him. We can only do this in the power of Christ within us, who has cleansed us, and who continues to purify us from all sin.

We begin with what we know. If the sin problem is pornography, we remove the access from our lives, and we don’t invite it back. If the sin issue is overeating, then we don’t buy more food than what we need, and we purposefully limit how much we eat, and we don’t go back into the kitchen for more when we have had enough. This involves self-discipline. We can begin by cutting our portions in half, and cutting out what we know is bad for us. If our sin is buying what we can’t afford, then we cut up the credit cards, and all the mail we get inviting us to get more. If the problem is gossip, then we stay away from those social situations where we know gossip is what goes on there, and we resist Satan and flee that temptation every time it enters our minds, which we need to do for all sin. My husband and I got rid of our TV and movies seven years ago, and that has been such a blessing. I am no longer taking all that junk into my mind. That is awesome! I highly recommend it.

Put on Then

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Then, we put on what is godly, holy, righteous, good, loving, and kind, etc. So many people go right back into the same sinful patterns of behavior because they didn’t replace the sin with what is of God. Ephesians 4 and 5 also speak to this issue of the renewing of the mind, and of putting off what is of our flesh and putting on what is of the Spirit. This has to be deliberate, and in many cases it must be planned out in advance. You have probably heard the saying, “If you don’t plan to succeed, then you plan to fail.” Many people fall back into sin because they make no plan to not fall into sin. And, they are not guarding their hearts against what is sinful, but they are playing with fire every day.

So, if we are serious about eradicating (putting to death) what is earthly in us, then we have to do business with God. We have to ask him to search our hearts and to show us what wicked ways are in us. We should already know, though sometimes we have suppressed things or have quenched the Spirit over time, and we have numbed ourselves to the Spirit’s voice, and we have made excuses for so long that we have believed our own lies. So, we need the Spirit to show us what is truly in our hearts. Then, we have to repent (not just feel sorry) of our sin by completely turning from it (putting it to death), and doing whatever is necessary to kill it in our lives. This means we come humbly before the Lord, and we honestly and willingly ask him to show us what has to go, and what things in our lives must be cut out in order to put these sins to death. If we hold on to the world, it won’t happen. If we just pretend, it won’t happen. If we continue to play with sin, it won’t happen. We have got to want sin out of our lives like we want cancer removed from our bodies so that we can live! The choice is ours. Get serious about God, or pay the consequences.

Search Me, O God / An Original Work / July 12, 2012

Based off Psalm 139

O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
Where’er I am, You are with me,
Guiding me in love.
O Lord, You search and know me.
You know all that I do.
O Lord, You discern my ways.
I put my trust in You.

O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’ly made me.
I give my praise to You.
My frame was not hidden from You
When I was made in the dark place.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in Your book.
O Lord, You made and formed me
In my own mother’s womb.
Your hands beautif’ly made me.
I give my praise to You.

O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offense.
Lead me in Your truth.
O Lord, how precious to me
Are Your thoughts, O my God.
When I wake in the morning,
You are still here with me.

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