Last Thursday I wrote about the call for us to renew our thinking, to stop thinking the old way about ourselves and about life in general. New thinking is important, probably the key to finding the joy and rest Jesus wants for you. But how can you change the way you think?
We build our thinking patterns from the time before we are born. Everything we learn affects how we think. Our minds begin to categorize, memorize, and link the amazing numbers of things that come to us. Even the system we use to organize and make sense out of these things comes from what we learn.
This is what we call the flesh. The flesh consists of more than spiritual things, it is the way of thinking that we built for ourselves as we grew older.
Let’s think about money. Some people become very afraid when they don’t feel they have enough money. Perhaps it was because they always had money growing up and can’t imagine living without it. Or maybe it was because they had little money growing up and don’t want to live that way again. Or they experienced a certain time when the lack of money caused a serious problem. Or they watched a loved one go through a difficult time financially and decided they would never suffer that themselves. Whatever the motivation, they built into themselves the idea that money was their security. If they had enough money, they would be okay. If not, they would suffer.
Well, we can imagine how these people would go through life. If they were wealthy, they probably would never consider themselves wealthy enough. If they were not wealthy, they probably lived a life of fear and bitterness and blame. By defining money to be the source of security in life, based on what they learned or experienced in younger days, they set themselves up for discouragement and bondage.
Yes, the flesh is a system of bondage. The patterns by which we learned to live hold us in the past. This is why many believers continue to think in the same way they did before they came to the Lord. The flesh is our default system. We functioned according to that way of thinking all of our lives and we find it easiest to continue to function that way.
But there is a better way. In fact, the flesh is no longer “our” way of thinking. It is the old way. As believers, we have the mind of Christ. In the Spirit, we have a new way of thinking.
To continue our example we could ask, “Is money the source of security for the believer?” Of course not, you answer. That’s an easy one. Well, at least it is easy to say. If that’s true, then why do so many believers get so hung up about money? Because they continue to live according to the old thinking. They need to open their hearts to the Spirit and His thinking.
You know the Scriptures are full of passages that tell of the provision, the generosity, of God. Here are just a few. See if they inspire you to think new thoughts.
4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
25 I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. Psalm 37:25
29 And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Luke 12:29-31