RENEWING OUR MINDS – INTRODUCTION, GARDENING
Key concepts: Seeds, Gardening
ORIGINAL WEB SITE INQUIRY – We had received another cry for help in this month’s emails. A dear sister who has been battling obsessive, condemning, out of control thoughts asks how, or even if, she can be freed from them. And, of course, John had much wisdom to share with her. According to our commitment regarding very personal emails, we cannot share the details. But we do believe, as you know, that the website content continues to unfold as the Lord brings opportunities and we believe this subject is our next opportunity. Since renewing our minds is an ongoing process for all disciples, we will have more to share on this subject in future posts.
PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS – Gaining mastery over our thought process is something that every human has to learn to do. Before we know the Lord, we live under our first Covenant Representative, Adam, separated from God. We think we have to be in charge, and figure out how to make it successfully through life on our own. It is part of the spiritual mutation we inherited because Adam sinned by giving in to the Serpent’s temptation.
If we are disciples of Yeshua, we no longer have this mutation. We have moved out of the First Covenant in Adam, into the Perfect and Eternal Blood Covenant in Yeshua. However, we do often have to wrestle off its lingering ‘graveclothes’ in our thinking and belief structure.
We are told to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, renewing our minds in the Truth and Reality of Christ in us, the hope of glory. But this endeavor is often harder than we expect and sometimes even the most well meaning disciples get tripped up again and again as they try to be Christ like.
So in helping this dear sister, where would (or should) we begin? As disciples in the Holy Spirit’s boot camp training, we would begin with Him. What has He said about our thoughts?
Romans 12:2 – And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
2 Corinthians 1:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.
And so we begin by recognizing that by His indwelling presence, we can – and must – cooperate with His refining work within our very souls. To the unrenewed mind, this is a monumentally impossible task; to the renewed mind, it’s absolutely achievable because the God of the impossible is the One to whom we’ve yielded our lives, including this renewing process. And because He’s given us free will, we have the ability to choose… the old, unrenewed status quo thinking…or embracing and submitting to the empowerment that the Holy Spirit is ready to give us continually, so that we can develop a new way of seeing, thinking, processing and believing that keeps us aligned with God’s Eternal Reality and Truth.
What we’re about to explore is that new way of thinking and much of the content that comes next is rooted in John’s earlier writings for The Christ Life Solution (now called The Ultimate Journey). Before unpacking those concepts, it will be important to establish some common understanding of vocabulary shared by Christ Lifers everywhere.
Gardening, Gardener Eyes – This concept is a simple one – we recognize the power of seeds and use that to our advantage. Seeds always reproduce after their own kind; they reproduce WHAT was planted, WHERE it was planted, LATER than it was planted, and usually MORE than what was planted. So if we begin to see all of life – people, relationships, words, thoughts, choices, etc. in seed form, we begin to see potential behind them. And then we know if it’s a seed that we want to water or not.
The Law of Sowing and Reaping – This law is a dynamic principle that is always at work in our lives. The principle works like this: whatever is continually fed into your mind in volume will in time reappear in your life…in volume. Whatever you focus on, believe, and accept – the way you think and behave in terms of your belief system and perspective – becomes a pattern your brain is compelled to follow. And as it follows this pattern, your brain forces you to perceive, feel, act out, and become whatever the pattern says. That behavior then produces a corresponding harvest of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional results – good and bad – that you will have to live with. (Christ Life – Phase III)
The beauty of approaching life as a gardener is this – even if we are up to our eyeballs in a weed crop, we know that it is simply the crop of what was planted beforehand. And we know that we have new, different, healthier seed that we can plant into it right now. Therefore, we are only one growing season away from a different crop. Do you see it? Developing gardener eyes allows us to see all of life’s circumstances with different punctuation.
“It is what it is, period”
“It is what it is, comma, but it’s not yet what it will be after God and I plant massive amounts of our good seed into it.”
And suddenly there is hope… Just because I’m stuck here now does NOT mean I have to stay stuck here. I always have the ability to make more choices! Now that’s Good News!!!