When the life of Christ is born into our hearts God calls us a new creation; this is sanctification. We are called to walk, by surrender, to present our bodies as living sacrifices. In this way we work out our salvation that was born into our hearts. This called walking in holiness.
The last frontier that is surrendered to God is our mind. We are exhorted to form the mind of Christ. This means thinking as Jesus thought. Simply put this means that God is the centre of our being and thought. Jesus earthly life revolved around his Father – he did what he saw his Father do and he spoke what His Father told him.
Are we bringing every thought into captive to the obedience of Christ? In this way our thinking is being transformed into the mind of Christ. Let us illustrate this with a verse from James chapter 4. I believe that the majority of believers who call themselves disciple of Christ are still either carnal or babes in their thinking.
When you ask, you do not receive,because you ask with wrong motives,that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
When we find that God has engineered our circumstances and we are in a tight spot; a health issue, a personal crisis or a situation when our spirit is being crushed. The first thought is often to cry out to God to release us from our torment. Our first though is for ourselves, for we want to be released for our benefit. 'Lord heal me so that I can get on with my life.' Lord set me free so I can do this or that.' This asking is motivated by our pleasure. It is all about me and my self preservation.
Our mind is still thinking along the lines of an un regenerated soul – self preservation. The Greek word translated as pleasure in the NIV is ἡδοναῖς (ēdonais) meaning in essence 'to enjoy oneself.' Praying to God to result in our enjoyment is the not the prayer of a disciple whose mind is being transformed into Christs mind.
We must change our mind in the way we pray and the motivation for our requests to God. Throughout the OT God dealt with his people not because they deserved his blessings but for the honour and glory of his name. Should we think anything less?
1In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.2Turn your ear to me,come quickly to my rescue;be my rock of refuge,a strong fortress to save me.3Since you are my rock and my fortress,for the sake of your namelead and guide me. Psalm 31
Maybe we need to renew our thinking in how we pray. The psalmist understood his position before God. At times it is not enough to believe that God can deliver us but we need to think our way through how we approach his throne in our time of need. What is our motivation to be set free? Will our deliverance bring glory to ourselves or will Gods name be honoured? Will God gain pleasure in our release for as Jesus prayed in the garden 'not my will but yours be done.' Isaiah 53:10.
This is not advocating 'positive Christian thinking' which is a half truth for the power that overcomes, is not positive thinking, but the death and resurrection of Christ.
Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel. Proverbs 20
[quote]This is not advocating 'positive Christian thinking' which is a half truth for the power that overcomes, is not positive thinking, but the death and resurrection of Christ.[/quote]
This entire blog is so spiritually enlightening, and I like how you've reminded us that [b]"we"[/b] have a responsibility to do our part...
with your phrases like this:
[quote][b]We [/b] must change our mind in the way we pray and the motivation for our requests to God.
[b]...we[/b] need to renew our thinking in how we pray...[/quote]
Thank you for sharing what the Holy Spirit has laid on your heart; what a perfect way to begin the day!
"What is our motivation to be set free? Will our deliverance bring glory to ourselves or will Gods name be honoured? Will God gain pleasure in our release?"
Those are precisely the kind of questions that run through my mind - sometimes uncomfortably - when I think about this verse fron 2 Corinthians 7:10:
"Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."
You describe this behaviour well in calling it self-preservation. A good reminder, both of the 'old ways of thinking' that infect so many prayers, and of the only solution for it: surrendering our minds, the most difficult of things to control, to Christ.
Thank you and blessings!