What wars rage on in the silence of our minds! Am I right? Pastors and spiritual leaders are not exempt, we’re included. We may even be especially targeted by the enemy!
It’s that all-too-familiar dilemma: The will to do what is right, yet the inability to follow through. In my mind a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. (see Paul’s summary in Romans 7:25). Ted Haggard refers to this very conflict in his statement to Colorado Springs’ New Life Church, particularly the fourth and fifth paragraphs.
You probably already know that the italicized headings, and the chapter & verse markings in Scripture have been added so we can find our way around more easily. That being so, back up to 7:21 or so, and read right on into chapter 8 without pause or hesitation, noticing what Paul says about the mind. (If your Bible isn’t nearby you can read it here.)
Give yourself a minute to turn those thoughts over. (It’s OK, the next few paragraphs will wait, they’re not going anywhere.)
Read it again now, the same passage, and make it personal. First-person. “Me and I” instead of “you and your”. Stop at verse 2 this time through.
Who eradicated the condemnation? Who set me free? Clue: it isn’t my mind. It’s something – someone- OUTside my mind.
You mean I’m not in control of this? ‘Fraid not. It’s the person and work of Jesus Christ. Not me. Not my thinking processes. The solution is exclusive, though many would tell us to be more inclusive in our thinking. He saves and redeems, then goes beyond the salvation question to include a new way of living day after day after exciting day after day after hum-drum day.
I remember sitting at the dinner table enjoying after-dinner conversation one time, quite a few of the cousins were there, the younger kids playing downstairs with the toys, and doing pretty well. In the middle of our conversation a young child appeared between myself and my cousin Steve. “Daddy?” He wasn’t my child, must be Steve’s. Steve turned to see one of his boys lifting a toy truck to him in one hand and a pair of wheels and axle in the other. “It came off. C’n you fixxit?” A few seconds later the happy youngster was on his way, and Daddy turned his attention back to the conversation. We took a second to notice the moment, though, and he commented. “I encourage them to bring me the broken things,” Steve said. “Most of the time it’s no big deal. I heard one of them say to a little friend a couple weeks ago, ‘It’s OK, my dad can fix ANYthing.’ I hope my kids come to me like that when they’re teenagers.” We laughed with him, and hoped the same would be true of us all.
Daddy? Abba? (8:15) Similar words. When we bring Him our broken thought patterns, when the wheels of our logic fall off, when we break life and can’t fix it, our Father wants us to come to Him. He wants to hear our “C’n you fixxit?” Because He can. He renews our minds when we ask him.
- 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. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is. (emphasis mine) Romans 12:2
I’m so stubborn sometimes. “I can do it. I can fix it. I think I can I think I can I think I can. *sigh* No I can’t. The wheels came off. Can You fix it?”
And my Heavenly Father smiles, “If you give it to Me, I can.”
Next: Thinking About Proximity