May 17-18, 2014
Wanting to fit in or be accepted by others is a natural urge. We tend to follow the pursuits of those around us out of a desire to be connected or to find answers that we can’t uncover on our own. Sometimes answers come in the form of strategies our peers use to manage daily life and the spiritual warfare we all face.
It’s so easy to be influenced by and brainwashed into believing that our peers’ opinions and the world’s views are accurate. For example, television programs subtly—and more and more recently, not so subtly—dishonor God. They present sinful attitudes, behaviors and lifestyles as normal—over and over, through months, years and even decades. Without realizing it, we can gradually begin accepting sinful behavior as “normal.” We become desensitized to evil behavior and begin to accept it after it’s normalized through constant exposure and validation.
Other influences—friends, employers, books, movies, family, politics and social policy—shape our thinking as well. One real danger has been introduced in the form of books and movies that claim to be Christian and use “Christian-ese” words. But in fact, they teach things that are totally unscriptural. Usually, good teaching is mixed in with deceptive teaching, drawing many Christians into accepting the whole because of some carefully placed Biblical truths. Jesus warned us to be careful of the wolf in sheep’s clothing—that even the elect could be deceived.
Remember we are in a spiritual battle and our foe is formidable, He has studied us for thousands of years. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Satan is incredibly sneaky and deceitful. He will always come up with subtle strategies and methods to veer us away from God. Satan is also very patient. He doesn’t care if he steers you away from God just one degree at a time. Then, after many weeks, months or years, you have turned 180 degrees away from God. You have hit that slippery slope and are in a free fall off the path God has for you.
So how can we avoid being pulled by the world’s influences? By letting God transform us into a new person. But it’s not all up to Him. If it were, all Christians would be perfect. And I’ve met a bunch of you and know that just ain’t true! You see, we play a big part in this transformation process. God gave us free will, and we need to be great stewards of it. We need to change the way we view our lives and our circumstances by dissecting our motivations. Then decision-making will be Godly and transformation will occur exponentially in your spirit and mind. It will even physically rewire your brain chemistry! Talk about renewing the mind!
To develop the mind of Christ you must continually transform your mind, will, intellect and emotions. The transformation occurs by immersing yourself in God’s Word and then by obeying it. You have to apply it for transformation to occur. This is why I am so relentless about teaching decision-making strategies and skills.
Today, measure and compare everything that influences your mind to the light of God’s Word. And reject whatever doesn’t line up. Quit watching that television program. Don’t read that book. Choose what is right over what is easy or popular or what feels good. Be willing to take a stand. Don’t be “normal.” Be special in Him and for Him.
Whether you are actually a doer of the Word or you are just a hearer of His Word, it’s your decision, so choose well and be transformed.
Dear God, open my eyes to the wrong influences in my life. Transform me into a new person by changing the way I think. Give me a deeper understanding of Your Word. Help me to live in obedience to Your will and to make right choices even when they are difficult. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who never settled for normal, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think and renewing your mind. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” James 1:22-25