Do It Yourself Or, “The Great Escape”

Do It Yourself Or, “The Great Escape”

by Executive Director, Rob Appel

 

       In September 2012 I took a spiritual retreat in the Rocky Mountains and was wondering how God was going to speak to me during this special time. On the morning of September 27th, in the lodge of Camp Paul Hummel, God spoke to me through an old familiar book. I picked up a copy of My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers, and opened it to one of the pages. It turns out it was one of the 12 dog-eared pages of that copy. This month is number eight in a series from this great devotional.

 

       “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 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.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV)

Here are three simple truths of the Holy Spirit-led Christian: 1) I am a child of God. 2) I am alive in Christ. 3) I am a new creation. So why do we still battle with some of the same thoughts and feelings that we had before we became a Christian?

Although we are Christ-followers, we still live in this world, but now we don’t “war” as the world does. That is the conundrum; the battle for our mind cannot be won using the same thinking we had before we accepted Christ. Even knowing that, many of us still use the same tactics to win that battle in the same way we used to try to do it.

Before we became Christians we all learned to respond to life’s challenges in an assortment of ways. But they all had one thing in common: We went through life without God. We were simply unaware of His presence in our lives and so we did not know His ways. Even those of us raised in a Christian home grew up learning to think independently of God until we accepted God and He gave us His Holy Spirit to convict us and help us.

Unfortunately when we became a Christian there wasn’t a way to dump our old mind into the “recycle bin” and then permanently delete it. If it were only that easy! All the things that you learned through your life, and all the feelings that came along with it, were still there—programmed into your mind even after you accepted Christ as your Savior.

So the battle for your mind continues to this day. Your thoughts will sometime conform to the pattern of the world; your thinking can still be skewed. That’s why Paul tells us to not “conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2 NIV).

Our thinking has to be reprogrammed. We have been given the mind of Christ only now we need to learn to use it. You can take every thought into captivity and live in freedom as you:

Develop an awareness of God; Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you
Depend upon God; pray continually with thanksgiving
Defend your heart; don’t go back to your stinking thinking

 

Oswald Chambers writes, “The conflict is along the line of turning our natural life into a spiritual life, and this is never done easily, nor does God intend it to be done easily. It is done only by a series of moral choices. God does not make us holy in the sense of character; He makes us holy in the sense of innocence and we have to turn that innocence into holy character by a series of moral choices.

       “These choices are continually in antagonism to the entrenchments of our natural life, the things which erect themselves as ramparts against the knowledge of God. We can either go back or make ourselves of no account in the Kingdom of God, or we can determinedly demolish these things and let Jesus bring another son (or daughter) to glory.”

 

Next month: “It Hurts So Good”

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