A few of my recent articles have dealt with our thought processes. We must be careful about what thoughts we entertain because our thoughts can take control of our lives, eventually becoming expressed through actions. Jesus said that evil gets stored up in our hearts (or minds) making us unclean (sinful; Matthew 15: 17-20; Ezekiel 38: 10).
Because the mind is powerful, we need to be careful what we concentrate on. If Christians entertain evil thoughts, our sinful nature will regain control and we’ll be worse off than those who’ve never come to Christ (Romans 8: 5-8; 2 Peter 2: 20-22). What happens is our evil desires (evil thoughts) entice us to sin, the consequence of which is death (James 1: 14; Romans 6: 23).
Therefore, we need to consider the consequences our actions before following through on temptations. Often, if we’ll stop and think, we’ll realize that those of the world may perceive our sinful actions as inappropriate, even silly, which should be deterrent enough. For example, Isaiah 44: 6-20 (at least read verse 19) describes people who took a block of wood and made an idol out of one half and cooked dinner with the other half without associating the two (Acts 17: 29).
Then there’re those who see what the short-lived, but addictive “pleasures” of sin do to others only to fall into the same calamities themselves (Luke 6: 39; Proverbs 23: 31-35; Hebrews 11: 25; Luke 21: 33-36).
We keep our thoughts on the right track by setting our minds on things above, namely, Jesus and our eternal life (Colossians 3: 1-4; we were raised with Christ in baptism – Colossians 2: 12; Romans 6: 3-5). There’re a couple of things we should consider about Jesus, as part of setting our minds on things above while we continue to live on earth.
First, while Jesus fulfilled the Jewish law by offering himself as the perfect sacrifice to end all others, he replaced that law with his own new law of liberty, which is actually a higher standard than the old law and that’ll be in effect until he returns (Matthew 5: 17-20; John 8: 31-36; Romans 6: 6-10; Acts 17: 16-31). So, we’re still under a law with requirements for action (1 Corinthians 9: 20, 21; James 1: 21-25; 2: 12).
Second, when we come to Christ on his terms, some love will be lost (Matthew 10: 34-39). Still, we must take up our cross and be crucified with him for the things above to become a reality for us. When we’re faced with opposition (2 Timothy 3: 12), we must continue to put our hope in Christ. He’s the one in whom there’s no accusation or condemnation (John 5: 45; Revelation 12: 10-12; Romans 8: 1-4; 2 Corinthians 5: 17-21). We should live as if there is no question that Jesus will come back for us at any time (John 11: 56; 14: 1-6).
Then, we can consider ourselves fortunate in standing against our accusers because we’re standing on the foundation of God’s promises, which are completely credible as demonstrated in the things we see every day (Acts 26: 2, 8, 25, 26; Hebrews 6: 13-20; Romans 1: 19, 20; Ephesians 6: 10-18). If we guard the instruction from God, we’ll gain understanding and discretion that’ll protect us (Proverbs 2: 11; 4: 13). Again, when we rely on God as his obedient children, he surrounds us with protection giving us peace that also will guard our hearts and minds (Isaiah 52: 12; Philippians 4: 7).
Because of all this, we must consider what we’re going to do about Jesus (Matthew 27: 22). Without regard to what religious leaders and even our family have to say about him (Matthew 16: 13-16), if we don’t realize that he’s God’s son who came to earth once to pay for our sins and will come back as judge and do what he says, we shouldn’t think we’ll receive salvation in place of condemnation (Hebrews 9: 27, 28; John 5: 39, 40; Hebrews 11: 6)
When it comes to our thoughts, what counts to God is being a new creation having faith that expresses itself through love (Galatians 6: 15; 5: 6). The greatest expression of this love is coming to Christ saying, “I want to be like you; therefore, I’ll lay down my life as a living sacrifice so you can transform my mind and recreate me in your image (John 15: 14, 15; Proverbs 18: 24; Romans 12: 1, 2; Ephesians 4: 22-24; Colossians 3: 5-11).
Have you been recreated in Christ Jesus, beginning with baptism in his name (Acts 2: 38, 39; Ephesians 1: 13, 14? If not, consider doing that today and act on those thoughts.
Leonard Lauriault, church of Christ