I’m learning how to be the parent of a teenager. Jacob is an amazing young man, but it’s still my job (and Clayton’s) to watch over and protect him. As he becomes his own man, it’s hard not to worry and to wonder what struggles he will encounter. I ask him questions like, “How do you decide what songs you listen to and whether a song is good or bad?” Then I have to trust that he’s making wise decisions because I am his mom, not the Holy Spirit. I wonder what thoughts will roam through his mind and I want to help him guard the sacred places in his heart- his thoughts and visions. I want to protect him, but I know I have to teach him how to do this for himself. So I have to teach him to how to listen to God’s voice.
When he was 4 years old, Jacob asked how the Holy Spirit gets inside someone's heart. We happened to be watching a lot of super-hero movies at the time, and there was a character who could float through people. So I told Jacob that the Holy Spirit floats through him to live inside. That was a lot easier than explaining how to guard your mind as a teenage boy!
Jacob is not the only one who needs help controlling what happens in his mind; we all need help in this area. Our minds will be filled with something and we have to choose what that something is. Everyday our minds sort out thousands of thoughts, cares and worries. Just think about how many ideas, memories, daydreams, musings, songs, people, and dreams enter your mind every day. The sheer volume of media stimulation alone is staggering. What if you obeyed each advertisement that came your way in a single day? You purchased every product, applied for every credit card, joined every club, started every diet, and then had to eat every food advertised? You would be one confused and frustrated person.
This is the pattern of this world; to scream and yell, to bid and beckon, to woo and wrestle us into a frenzied panic until we submit our wills and our wallets. God says that we are not to be dazzled by the bells and whistles of the world. We have a more important purpose.
In Romans 12:2, Paul instructs that we have to have a clear and clean mind to know and understand God’s will. He says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then, you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Here are some of the destructive lies we believe that damage our minds...
- I deserve happiness, so I’ll do whatever it takes to get it.
- I can watch and listen to whatever I want and it won’t affect me.
- I’ll never be good enough.
- I deserve better.
- God doesn’t hear my prayers.
These are just a few. There are are so many thoughts we have to eliminate if we are going to have clean and clear minds; minds we allow to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. This world will tempt you to want, get and take, but you will never be satisfied. Jesus wants better for us, so he invites us to transform our thinking, to shift our perspective from ourself to God. It’s not easy to deny ourselves. It’s not easy to let him discipline us; to refuse to feed our flesh, to endure pain and be persistent in our transformation. We may not see an immediate difference from one moment to the next, but we will see and feel the transformation if we endure for the long haul. True transformation takes time.
This constant renewal to a transformed mind is what Paul calls becoming a living sacrifice. It is our spiritual act of worship. Offering everything we are on the altar of daily obedience is what God requires as we learn to give ourselves to him joyfully.
© 2016 by Sharie King. All rights reserved.