I was thinking about moving on to Romans 8:6 today but I changed my mind. We can do that you know. We always hear that it’s a woman’s right to change her mind but we all really have that option. I believe I’ll get up early and exercise today. Nope. Changed my mind. I think I’ll pass on that second piece of pie. Nope. Changed my mind. I think I’ll send everyone who reads this blog $20. Nope, REALLY changed my mind,
Doris is a world class, A-1, blue ribbon mind changer. I have never bought her a birthday gift that she kept. We go out shopping a few days before her birthday. She tries on a ton of clothes. She finally settles on the perfect sweater. Fits her like a glove. Exact shade of blue to bring out the sparkle in her eyes. It looks like a million bucks on her. She wanders off through the store and I sneak back and buy the sweater. I have it gift wrapped but I’m careful to leave the tags in place. On her birthday she opens it up and looks so surprised. “I love it,” she says. “It is exactly what I wanted.” Then the next day she takes it back to the store and exchanges it for something else. What happened? She changed her mind.
Last week I wrote on Romans 8:5. “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live according to the Spirit have their mind set on what the Spirit desires.” If you have been following closely, (and I’m SURE you have) then you remember that I talked about focusing on the goal of an intimate relationship with Christ and not on the circumstances that surround us. (www.mikecourtney.blogspot.com, shameless plug!) I said that we quit trying to compare us to others and just let Him set us free from our own desires.
Well, I’ve changed my mind about that. No, not really. But I have thought I need to say a little more about how that happens. I didn’t mean to imply that we just wake up one morning and say, “Hey, no more thinking about my troubles. I am only going to think about Jesus today.” I admit it’s not quite that easy. I try. I want to “set my desires” on the things of the Spirit but I’m not very good at it. The past due notice on my cell phone comes in the mail. My arthritis kicks in every morning. The guy at work with me never does his share. And Doris keeps taking my birthday presents back. That stuff clamors for my attention. So how do I get my mind to focus on something (or someone) else?
One of the guys in our Thursday morning group said a great thing yesterday. He said, “I used to think of this as kind of a gradient along a continuous line. On one end is this terrible, wicked, evil mind that is set on the very worst of life. On the other end is this wonderful, perfect, heavenly mind that only thinks about Jesus and puppy dogs and angels playing harps.” (Okay, I’m paraphrasing a little.) “But,” he went on to say, “I am thinking that it is not a long line and we just keep moving closer to the Jesus end. I’m thinking it is a whole new point of view, a different mindset. In fact, a different mind.” Now that is good!
Let me go all the way back to verse 3. “What the law was powerless to do,” namely keep my mind focused on God, “in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, GOD DID…” What? Wait a minute. Do you mean that God is the one who helps me focus on Him? Absolutely. God doesn’t change His own mind but He changes mine. You see the big question is verse 5 is who does the setting? “Those who have their mind set on the sinful nature” and “those who have their mind set on the Spirit” are not simply at two different places along this gradual heaven-looking slope. We have our mind set on the Spirit because WE LET THE SPIRIT SET OUR MIND. (Wow, that blows my mind!)
The point is, this incredible, amazing God that loves you so much says to you, “Hey, there is no guilt and shame in falling and failing. I am taking that away and all you have to do is focus on me. And, as a bonus, I’ll give you a new mind that is focused on me.” He changes my mind. I am learning that He, when I let Him, He does a brain transplant kind of thing and turns my mind and my thoughts to Him. I don’t do that. I’m not capable of it. He is and He does. I think it is what David had in mind in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” It doesn’t mean He will hand me everything I want. It means He will change my wants so that they conform to His great will and plan.
I have a part. I have a role to play in this. But for now, I just need to know that He not only tells me to set my mind on Him, He will do the setting. This is getting way too long and I have to stop. So here’s a story…
When he was little Jacob would climb up in my lap and put his hands on each side of my face. He would turn my cheeks around so that I was looking right into his eyes, making sure he had my full attention. One day, after I had had a particularly trying day at work, I was downstairs in my chair and I heard Jacob and his mother whispering upstairs. In a minute he came down the stairs, crawled up in my lap, turned my face right into his and said, “Daddy, I love you.” I said, “Jacob that is the nicest things that anyone has said to me all day.” To which he replied, “Daddy, mom made me do it.”
All I am saying is relax. Sit down in your chair and feel the Father take your face in His hands. He turns you around until you can only see Him and with your nose almost touching His, He says, “I love you.” And that changes my mind!