Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Jesus Changes Our Minds

Whenever I share like this, I have a dual aim of what I hope will happen.

First, I would love to see other believers built-up and encouraged by the specific lessons from God’s word that have already blessed me in praiseworthy ways.

Second, I would love to see other believers engaged with God in his word daily so all of us would have a testimony of what God has taught us, how we see him working those things into our lives, and how we are joining him in his work.

With that in mind, here are some thoughts from Jesus’ letter to the lukewarm Laodicean church in Revelation 3:14-22.

1.     The phrases, “you say,” and, “not realizing”.

17 For YOU SAY, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, NOT REALIZING that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

This sent me into a time of examining myself to consider whether there are things my sark/flesh says about me that are smugly self-satisfied simply because I don’t realize the true condition of my soul. It included a consideration of how dissociation and self-protection hide things away from us so we can play roles that are different from who we really are and what we are really like.

To our self-protection and sarkiness there will be some kind of message telling us what we “say” about ourselves that is smugly self-satisfied. However, the only reason we could believe such things is that we don’t realize what God sees inside us, especially on the other side of those walls of self-protection.

2.    The phrases, “I counsel you,” and, “so that you may…”

18 I COUNSEL YOU to buy from me gold refined by fire, SO THAT YOU MAY be rich, and white garments SO THAT YOU MAY clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness MAY not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, SO THAT YOU MAY see.

When Jesus shows us that we are smugly self-confident in our sarks/flesh because we don’t realize the mess they have made of our lives, he comes with counsel that would change us. If we continue with the smug self-confidence that is dissociated from reality, he spits us out of his mouth.[1] But he comes with the very counsel that would give us the things we thought we had but don’t.

3.    The parallel between the phrases “you say,” and, “I counsel you”.

Obviously, to whatever extent we are saying anything about ourselves that is false, we need to turn to hear whatever the Spirit is saying to us so we know the counsel Jesus would give us.

This is the way I have viewed my time with God for a very long time. First, I want to present to God what I am thinking or feeling about anything in order that he can examine it for me. Then, as I seek him in his word, it is so that he can counsel me on how I should think about myself and anything I am going through. Our daily time with God will consistently confront us with these differences between what we say and what Jesus would counsel. It is always good to change our minds to his, but it may follow the pattern of Jesus telling us what we say that just ain’t so, and what he counsels us to do about it.

4.    The parallel between the phrases, “not realizing,” and, “so that you may”.

This is where there is so much hope. No matter how deluded we are because of what we don’t realize about ourselves, Jesus presents the very things that would lead us to truly experience the exact things we don’t have.

For example, Jesus shows us the negative, sinful, discouraging, false things we think, believe and feel that we don’t even realize are problems with us. However, he does not show us these things so that he can condemn and reject us, but “so that you may” experience his blessings in real life.

When a dissociative person thinks they have peace, but in reality they are merely a peacekeeper who tries to keep everyone happy so there are no troubles to face, Jesus brings them to the end of their peacekeeping by letting all kinds of impossible-to-handle situations come up in order that they would discover that they did not realize how poorly they were doing deep inside.

Once he has us there, where we can see what we did not realize about ourselves, he can then show us how we can have peace with God through him in a way we would never experience it in our own strength. He changes the mind of a peacekeeper into the mind of a peacemaker.[2]

This is a humbling Beatitudinal picture.[3] If we keep thinking the lie that we already have as much as we need of the work of Christ, we are putrid in our lukewarmness so he wants to vomit us out of his mouth. On the other hand, if we admit to the impoverished condition of our souls exactly as he describes us, and mourn that the inner reality is so contrary to our outer role, and meekly admit that we will never fix this ourselves so that we allow ourselves to hunger and thirst for the wealth of righteousness that can only be experienced by faith, we can come to Jesus for everything we do not have and receive it all as a free gift.

In other words, only when God brings us to the place of admitting we do not have the righteousness, joy, and peace of the Holy Spirit,[4] and we allow ourselves to hunger and thirst for what we do not have, will he then pour out his grace to do in our lives what can only happen through faith.[5]

Conclusion: we must let the Holy Spirit examine us and tell us the truth of what we are like and how we are doing in order that we can earnestly repent (change our minds to match his) and open the door to Jesus’ gracious knocking.[6] 

Of course, a daily time in the word and prayer would do just that.

© 2018 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.)

[1] Revelation 3:15-16
[2] This is seen in the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:1-12
[3] In the Beatitudes of Matthew 5:1-12, the peacemaker is someone who has already seen their poverty of spirit, mourned the sinful and sarky condition of their souls, meekly accepted that they cannot fix themselves, hungered and thirsted after the righteousness they did not have, and so were satisfied by the righteousness of God by grace through faith. This makes them into a merciful person with a pure heart who now wants everyone to experience peace with God through the gospel, so much so that they will even consider it a blessing when they are persecuted for doing so.
[4] Romans 14:17
[5] The “grace through faith” of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9) is the same grace through faith that leads us our whole lives.
[6] This is what Jesus tells us to do in Revelation 3:19-20

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