Grace takes you in your life, from where you are to where God wants you to be. He wants you to see good days in life, as you experience peace that is from Him. And, it comes as you meditate upon the word of God that gives you the process to it, and says, He who would love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit; Let him turn away from evil, to do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it. [1 Peter 3:10,11] Peace that is mentioned above is much more than emotional tranquility, or a feel good experience that is very temporary. For, it is connected to the truth of God’s word that says the punishment that brought peace to you and I and the entire world was laid upon Christ on the Cross of Calvary. [Isaiah 53:5] It is through that divine exchange that it is possible for you today, to experience peace and an absence of lack and condemnation in your life.
Setting your mind:
The Lord has done it all; but it does not mean that your life is changed automatically, for the word needs to become flesh in you, in order to become your life’s experience. It is where the Holy Spirit, who comes in you when you are saved to become a child of God, plays a very pivotal role. For it is He who begins to apply and appropriate the truth of God’s word in you, to set your mind according to what God has spoken in His word concerning you, and what you are going through. For those who live according to the flesh, set their mind on things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, set their mind on the things of the Spirit. And to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. [Romans 8:5,6] A mind that is governed by the Spirit is life and peace, is how a version of the verse describes it. And, the whole operation is not something that is mystic or magical. But, it is something that you need to do, just as you need to press the right button when you enter an elevator, to reach your desired destination. It is also, something that you need to do, out of your own free will and inclination, for God will never force you into it.
How can you set your mind according to the Spirit?
In the Old Testament, the words of the angel to prophet Ezekiel make the process clear, when he says, ‘Son of man, look with your eyes, and hear with your ears, and fix your mind on everything I show you’. [Ezekiel 40:6] And, Lord Jesus, in the New Testament, says the very same thing, to add that you are then blessed, as He says, ‘Blessed are you, for you have eyes that see, and ears that hear’. [Mathew 13:16] And, it is not about physically seeing and hearing that He talks about here. Rather it is about having eyes that are able to behold what He is doing in your life, and hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying to you, through the word of God, concerning what is happening in your life. The word of God, declares the thoughts of God; and the thoughts of God is what is in the mind of God. Which is why, it is the word of God that sets your mind, in line with the mind of God. It then sees you experiencing life and peace, in your life. The Holy Spirit helps you in the process, as you ask of God, who gives to you what you ask, without reproaching or rebuking you. [James 1:5]
In a covenant relationship:
And, it is all in a covenant relationship with you that the Lord speaks to you through His word. A covenant is never a contract, which is nothing but profit based. But, it is in a celebration of a covenant relationship that you partake of the Lord’s Table to receive all that He has done for you, to take away your sin and lack, and to give you His peace, or an oneness with God that is wholeness which permeates into every area of your life. The writer to the Hebrews describes, what happens in you through this covenant relationship, established by the Blood of Christ that was shed on the cruel Cross.For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord; I will put my law in their minds and write them in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they will be my people’. [Hebrews 8:10] God promises to make an imprint of His word in your mind, and engrave His word in your heart, in a covenant relationship with you.
In your human relationships, when it is a letter from your loved one, the way you approach it, and the thoughts conveyed through it, is going to be very different from a teacher of the English language reading it. For, with you it would be the loving emotions that are of sole importance and nothing else, while she would be examining it from a purely academic point of view, to check for mistakes in the grammar, or sentence construction! The bible can be read from a legalistic point of view, or as a book of poetry, or ancient history. But, when it would speak to you, that you may hear the voice of God through it, is when it is read from a relational point of view. It is the manuscript of love from your Heavenly Father, to you His precious child! He speaks to you through it! It is a covenant declaration of the plan and design that He has for your life. And, if that is so, every plan that you have for every area of your life, must have God as your first priority. That is Christian living, and it is for your own welfare, to safeguard you from things going wrong in your life and end up in you losing your peace and well-being in life.
1) His word imprinted in your mind –
It happens as God places a deposit of His word in you, in covenant relationship, to then make it your experience. It is then imprinted in your mind, to become a part of your mind, and will be revealed when you express it. It is an experience of shared covenant relationship between you and God. When you have enjoyed a meal in a good restaurant, to then recommend it to your friends, in all likelihood they also would be led to go to the same place and experience its’ goodness. And, then when you meet once again, the manner in which you are able to relate to that experience would be totally different, for your minds would then be synchronized to be at the same level. An incomparably higher dimension of it would be, when the word that God has placed in your mind becomes your experience, to be expressed by you. It would be in line with the thoughts of God toward you, and shared with Him, for you are in a covenant relationship with Him, where everything that is His is yours, and all that is yours is His.
Also, in your life and mine, negative experiences can have the same effect, but in the opposite direction! It is why the psalmist David, no doubt troubled by vicious opposition at that point of time in his life, declares that all men are liars. But, he has also in another time and place, has expressed his love for Jonathan, to be of great proportions, as a trustworthy friend! The bottom line therefore, is the fact that, experiencing something, both positive and negative, and then going on to express it, makes a world of difference, as compared to just declaring the truth concerning something. It is why, the Bible encourages us to taste and see that the Lord is good. And, it is why, the apostle Paul is able to express his complete confidence regarding the God in whom He has put his trust, and the truth that nothing can ever separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. For the ordeals that he had been through until then were many, and were not simple ones either. It even included clinging to a piece of wood from the boat that had succumbed to the storm, all through the course of a night, till he was rescued and brought safely ashore! [Acts 26:39-44]
In your life and mine, even in a time of worship, your face will inevitably express and reveal the closeness with God that you are experiencing on the inside of you, in a relationship with Him. And, it need not necessarily involve physically jumping about in the air! Even as you stand with closed eyes, praising the Lord, when you know and have experienced the closeness and love of God Almighty in your life it will find its’ expression in your face!
‘I know my Redeemer lives’ –
In the midst of his unimaginable distress and pain, Job knew that he had a living Redeemer, whom he would see with his own eyes even as he was living on earth. And, when it all came true, the words of Job were, ‘I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you’, were the words of Job. [Job 42:5] His experience is thus expressed in powerful words of mental clarity, to set his mind regarding the nature of God – ‘I know you can do all things, and no purpose of yours can be thwarted’. [Job 42:2]
It is how God sets your mind to be in line with His thoughts. He places His word, which is in essence His thoughts in His mind, as a deposit in you, and gives you also the experience, which will then lead you to an expression of it, as it becomes part and parcel of your life. Another dimension of it is when God opens your understanding to the truth of His word. It is the prayer that Paul prays for the church at Ephesus, and stands equally valid even today, in the life of every child of God. [Ephesians 1:18] And, when God answers this prayer, which He certainly will, for it is according to His will for you, your mind will then be in line with the mind of God, and lead you to an experience of peace and oneness with God, that removes all lack and troubling disturbance in you. Understanding and handling a situation that is in front of you, also involves logical reasoning. It plays an important role in a person’s mental and cognitive process. And it essentially happens in his mind, and goes on to determine his mind set –
Understanding the logic of the scriptures –
But, here is where the truth of grace and faith steps in to become a part of your understanding, when you are a child of God.. For, the logic of God can be at variance with the common logic of the world. After all, He is God and who can fathom Him? You and I can only receive His truth in wonder and awe, to stand redeemed and victorious. Understanding the logic of common arithmetic can itself be puzzling at times, for, 2+2=4, and 2 multiplied by 2 is also 4, but on the other hand 3+3 = 6, but 3 multiplied by 3 is 9, and not 6! And this logic is unchanged in any corner of this whole wide world. But one day, all the mathematics and arithmetic will pass away, but the word of God in the scriptures that delineates God’s logic will never pass away. And a right understanding of God’s logic to receive it in your mind, will find you chasing ten thousand who come against you, when by plain mathematical logic, if one can chase a thousand, two can chase only two thousand. And it is because, with understanding from God, you will know that on your own, you may be a minority, but together with God, you are a great and overwhelming majority. Indeed, who can then stand against you? For, He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
And the scriptural logic of Abraham, when his faith was tested by God, was the truth that God will take care of it all in his life. For, he knew that God’s promise of his descendants being like the stars in the heavens through Isaac could never lie, or fail to come to pass. And so he reasoned that even if he went on to sacrifice Isaac, God would raise him up. Thus, he was able to answer Isaac’s question about a lamb for sacrifice, with bold confidence, as he had entrusted it all into the hand of God. But this kind of bold proclamation can come from you, only when understanding comes as a result of God placing a deposit of His word in your heart, to also then lead you to experience it in your life. It was the experience and expression of the disciples who were on the road to Emmaus, when the Lord opened their mind to understand scripture.
‘Hearts burning like fire’ –
They had been with the Lord, listened to His teachings, observed His miracles, but still it was with a downcast spirit that the disciples were walking, when the Lord joining them in their walk, and opened their minds to understand what had really happened on the Cross. They could not recognize that it was the risen Lord Himself, until He broke bread with them and vanished from their sight! And after experiencing this process of understanding, their expression of it, revealed the new mindset that was now in them, one that was in line with the word of God was – ‘Did not our hearts burn within us, while He talked with us on the road, and opened to us the scriptures?’ [Luke 24:32] A mindset, that perceives God’s word to be like a fire within a person, is very much in line with the thoughts of God. May it be your prayer and your experience, to become your expression and mindset as you hear the word of God this day, and through it His thoughts and hence His mind.
It all happens through the work of the Holy Spirit in you. And so, you may have come like a dimly burning wick, almost at the point of giving up on your walk with God, as the disciples were on the road to Emmaus. But you are in the right place! And, as you keep hearing the word of God, and receiving the understanding of it, it will find you burning in a glorious fire, and a shining light for the people of the world to see, beckoning them all to the light and fire of God’s word.
‘I set myself alight, and people come to find warmth in its’ fire’. It was the expression with which John Wesley conveyed the imprint of God’s word in him, his changed mind set, one which brought thousands of people to listen, as he preached in the biting cold of the early morning climate that was, and still is the norm in Britain. And even his experience of salvation, he has described as a point of time in his life, when he felt strangely warmed as he was hearing the word of God, the preface to the book of Romans!
As you share God’s word to others, preach or teach it to people, this needs to be the experience within you, for it to be expressed powerfully, compassionately and effectively by you, so that with opened understanding and a changed mind set, they may find transformation and hope in their lives. Reading the Bible need never be a dull and lifeless procedure that you go through in a routine and legalistic manner, because it is the greatest and most interesting story ever told. It ought to make you sit up and read or hear it with wide eyed wonder and awe, for it is not an ordinary or imaginative fiction. It is His Story, the Story of the Almighty God, and your story in life is woven into it by the precious thread of His redeeming love. And, by your faith in the living Savior, God is your Father, and you are His precious child.
Therefore, one word that comes to you through your understanding of the scriptures can speak directly into your situation today, defying all human and worldly logic, to make you flourish and abound. It is what happened in the life of the widow and her son, when the word of God that came through the prophet Elijah, saw her and her entire household live, without experiencing hunger and lack, until the rains came more than three years later. People thronged to hear the Lord Jesus, when He walked on earth, for they were able to behold that He had the words of light and life eternal. And, the same Holy Spirit is in you this day, to work in you and through you. Therefore, may the light of the word, the understanding of the word, the importance of the word, and the power of the word be displayed and expressed through you, to bless you, so that you may be a blessing in the lives of others, by sharing with them the good news of the gospel, the saving grace of Lord Jesus that can bring peace and joy into their lives.
Lydia was a seller of rich purple, a businesswoman, who was well versed with the logic of the trading world. She would have had a very good understanding of mathematical calculations, and the nuances of economics. But she needed spiritual understanding, and it was what happened in her as she listened to Paul, and God opened her heart to understand and make a positive response to reach out to the hand of God, that was stretched forth toward her to save her from eternal doom. [Acts 16:14] There can be a negative response too, to the gracious hand of God’s redeeming love, as in the case of the people of the village, who were astonished to see the demon possessed man healed and in his right mind, but then requested the Lord to leave their border, quite probably because their pigs had perished in the process of the man’s deliverance. [Mark 5:1–20]
May your prayer be therefore be for a right response to arise in you; and that the Lord would continually live in you, so that you may live the word of God in your life. It happens as He imprints His word in your mind, and engraves it in your heart, which is the second aspect of God’s promise to you, so that you can walk in the covenant relationship that He has made with you.
2) His word engraved in your heart –
In the new covenant that God has made with you through the Cross, there is a magnificent shift from the externalities of the old covenant, to what is deeply internal, to the very core of your inner being that is the heart. Every time you read the word, pray, or hear the word, God writes His word in your heart and mind. And it is, through the Holy Spirit in you, that He writes His word, which is the expression of His thoughts and mind, in the tablet of your heart. And then what emanates from your heart and mind is an expression of His mind through your cognitive processes. For, what you speak becomes an expression of His mind, as His very mind is written in the tablet of your heart through His word.
For God who said ‘let light shine out of darkness’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. [2 Corinthians 4:6] It is how it all practically works out in your life and in your circumstances. And it is all through your voluntary and love based submission that God works in you. The Lord is your Savior, and God is never a dictator. He may corner you sometimes and give you no other option but to obey Him, but it would only be because of His overwhelming love for you, and all for your own good.
The life of Nehemiah serves as a glorious display of the outworking of this truth of God writing in the heart of a person, who was in a close and continual relationship of prayer and sweet communion with God Almighty. And it saw God’s purposes for His people, being fulfilled through him. It still remains an inspiring example to you and I as children of God, of how God writes in our hearts, to see the supernatural and the impossible come to pass.
a) ‘What My God was putting in my heart’ –
Then I arose in the night, I and a few other men with me. And I told no one about what my God had put in my heart, to do for Jerusalem. [Nehemiah 2:12] What Nehemiah was going to do was what God had put in his mind and heart; it was the burden to build up the broken down walls of Jerusalem that lay in ruins. What no eye has seen, or ear has heard, or mind has conceived, Nehemiah was able to conceive and accomplish, for he was in a covenant relationship with His God. And because it was something from the mind of God, the work was accomplished, and the wall was built in just fifty two days! A problem that had remained for years and years was undone in a matter of days!
t is what God can do in your life today. Whether you are in the field of business, or in the teaching arena, whatever your calling may be, God can put a thought in your mind, which no other mind has conceived, to make you stand out for His glory. He is great in counsel and mighty in deed. And therefore, He will bring to pass what He has conceived and brought about in your mind, step by step, leading you, even as He led Nehemiah in his journey of rebuilding the wall. There are a thousand plans that He can give you for doing one thing, and they come to you as you speak to God in prayer. When you go to Him with a petition, as you present your need, you will always receive an answer from Him that is a promise, which will show you the way.
b) ‘I consulted with myself’ –
It is about the thought process that needs to happen, after hearing from God in prayer, when He implants and imprints His thoughts in you. Nehemiah’s life was bathed in prayer, in continual communication with God. [Nehemiah 5:19] And so his thoughts were a reflection of the thoughts of God. After serious thought, I rebuked the nobles and the elders… [Nehemiah 5:7] Even in your life, it is in your thoughts that God directs your actions, guiding you into accomplishing what He has already put in your mind. Therefore, if He has said that He will build you a house, He is certainly going to do it. And the modalities and nature of what kind of a house it is going to be is what He will lead you and guide you into as you remain connected in your covenant relationship with Him through prayer.
c) ‘My God put it into my heart’ –
Then my God put it into my heart to gather the nobles, the rulers and the people. [Nehemiah 7:5] Some other translations put it across as, ‘the Lord conceived the thought in my mind’. In other words, it is God Himself who makes you think a particular thought concerning something or someone that He wants to accomplish.
And, why is this so very important?
It is because otherwise you would never have done it. When God puts a thought in you to make you think that you have to talk to someone over the phone, and when you align your thought to it and proceed to do so, you will find that there is a beautiful oneness in you, in your covenant relationship with Him, that leads to an experience of peace in you. And it would be one that the world can never comprehend, for it is His peace that He gives to you.
What a wonderful truth it is, and what a wonderful Savior you and I have. May the Lord open your eyes to see what no eye has seen, or mind has conceived, as He places His thoughts in your mind, and heart. And may the God of creation breathe into you His innovative creativity that you may think thoughts that are from Him, to execute them and find fulfillment in life, and bring glory to His Name. May the Lord Jesus be the wind in your sails; may He be the fire in your heart. May the Lord Jesus be the reason that you live; to think His thoughts, through His word, that you may then find fulfillment in you, and be a blessing to others, walking in the privilege of doing God’s will for your life. May the loving Father continue to imprint His thoughts in your mind, and write it in your heart, so that you may shine with ever increasing glory that is of the Lord who has laid down His life for you in love. In the Name of Christ Jesus Amen.
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