“2016.07.24 – Battlefield of the Mind featuring Pastor Brenna Zeimet”
A sermon from Heights Church. More information at HeightsChurchMN.org
In Romans 8 Paul talks about the mind set on the things of the Spirit. One of the best ways to set our minds on the things of the Spirit is to soak in the Word of God. It is not about reading a passage and checking it off your list. It is carrying that passage in your heart. It will also involve diving in and allowing the meaning of that passage come out as you dig in.
Psalm 119 is all about the law of the Lord. It’s about the Scripture. David is full of hunger for the Scriptures. This is the place where he can learn the ways of God best. The Scriptures are necessary for our renewal.
“My heart trembles at your word” (Ps. 119:161b). When we’ve committed to renewing our minds and we truly want to know God, we can come to the Scriptures and actually know what it is to tremble before him. His words are being spoken to us! We don’t want to stumble! We want our minds renewed!
The Word of God is like finding a great spoil (v. 162). We are to treasure the Scriptures! Now, we don’t treasure the Scriptures more than Christ himself, but we still LOVE coming to the Word!
“I hate and detest falsehood…” (v. 163). The Word of God ferrets out deceit in our own hearts. We need the light of the Scriptures shining on our hearts and minds. One of the best filters we can put on our minds is the filter of the Scriptures.
Daily find time for the Scriptures. Currently I am working through Scriptures for Lent. There are other seasons where I am working my way through a particular Book of the Bible. I also carry in my Bible a list I call “ancient wells.” They are familiar passages that bring fresh water to me time after time. When I am in a prayer retreat, or I am finding my time in the Scriptures a bit of a struggle, I pull those texts out and let them wash over me again.
I need the Word training me!
“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!'” (Psalm 122:1, ESV)
What comes into our minds may be out of our control at times. What stays in our minds is under our control. The Spirit gives us that power and discernment.
We can also gain control of just what we allow into our minds a good deal of the time. Who we hang out with, the conversations we have, all of that can be up to us a good portion of the time. This is the importance of the Body of Christ. Worship together is vital. Discipleship together is vital. At our church we call it doing LIFE together.
Worship services are great because they help focus us as worshipers. God is center. Not us. (At least at our church, that is our goal.) When we come to worship we are not about our own agendas. Every one of us can’t come in with our own expectations of what a “good worship service” is and expect to get 100 percent. But we should come expecting to lift our hearts to God. HE is center. Not us.
We should be glad when we gather with the people of God in worship.
We should also be glad to find places of discipleship. We need those places where we can interact with other believers. Let good conversations fill your mind! Let the prayers of others lift you up. Let the exercise of praying for others lift you up!
It takes the Body of Christ pulling together to help renew the mind!
No matter who we are in life, no matter how far we have gone academically, this is true: everyone gets an education. The question is this: What kind? It could be in the finest schools money could by. It could be “on the streets.” It could be “in the school of hard knocks.” But everyone gets an education.
The key question here is: What kind of education are you getting?
The same applies to spiritual formation. Everyone gets spiritually formed in some way. The question here is: What kind of spiritual formation is happening? What are you choosing?
If we are haphazard in our walk with Christ, that is still spiritual formation. It is poor. It is anemic. Nevertheless, it is spiritual formation.
As we think about renewing the mind, let me pose some basic thoughts with which to work:
1. All behavior is based on a belief.
This is why the battle is always in the mind. The enemy wants to cause you to fall away from God, or stay away from God, so he has to infiltrate your belief system. That begins in the mind.
2. Behind every sin is a lie that I am believing.
It’s not about alcoholism or some other addiction. It is about some lie that is placed into my mind that I am buying into. If I don’t have the Spirit reveal that lie, or I don’t do anything about it once that lie is revealed, it doesn’t matter what addiction I break, that lie will manifest somewhere else.
For example, ever know anyone who gave up smoking and then they put on a lot of extra pounds? They gave up smoking and took up eating. It’s not just chemical. It’s not dealing with the underlying cause. If we don’t get to the lie behind our beliefs, the problems won’t quit. They’ll just manifest somewhere else.
Are there lies programmed into your thinking? Ask the Spirit to help reveal those lies.
This past Sunday I actually used all four texts of the Sunday reading in my message. I couldn’t even begin to dig into any one of them, but I felt the Lord had something from each passage to give to people in the congregation.
The ending passage was Romans 8 and the thought we left with was the need to renew the mind. The battle is in the mind. We cannot halt everything that comes at us through our eyes or our ears. What we CAN do is learn to put up “Kingdom filters” so we can control what stays in the mind.
We have water filters in a few places in our house. The filters try to capture the last small particles that the city water filtration can’t do so we the water we drink is a little better.
Even if we did not have that, the city water filtration system is built to try and purify water and keep a huge percentage of bad elements out of the water so that when we get water out of the tap it’s mostly pure and good for drinking.
On the other end is the sewer line. No big filters there, right? Just moving junk away from the house, out into the main sewer system where other lines have fed into it and you have no real filters. Nothing is meant to be caught there.
Most of the time I find our minds don’t have very good filters. They’re more like sewer drains. We just let everything in.
The conversation I want to extend this week for anyone in my church, or anyone reading my blog for that matter, is how do we work on transforming our minds? In Romans 8 Paul talks about setting our minds on the things of the Spirit. That is possible because as believer our minds are made alive by the Spirit. It is up to US to set up those Kingdom filters so that our minds are set on the Spirit and not on the junk of this world.
Please join this conversation as I post! I would LOVE to hear your thoughts. What is helping you renew your mind? What helps you filter out the junk we deal with all the time in our world?