What are symptoms of an unrenewed mind?
“DO NOT CONFORM ANY LONGER TO THE PATTERNS OF THIS WORLD, BUT BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF YOUR MIND” (Romans 12:2, emphasis mine).
God does not control the minds of His people! Man’s mind and will are sovereign to Man. “CHOOSE THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE. . .” (Joshua 24:15). Every promise, every command, every gift written in the Bible is for you, BY YOUR OWN CHOICE. God gave us our minds and our wills, that we could and would choose His way of life and benefit. It’s a command! “BE TRANSFORMED BY RENEWING YOUR MIND”. However, He put His Spirit within us “to lead and guide us into ALL truth” (John 16:13, emphasis mine). But we have the initiative! We must act out of our own will.
Frankly, I don’t want to write about Satan, but I am constrained by the Lord to do so. I was reading in a magazine just this morning about the subtlety of Satan in this present-day world. The writer spoke of “the disappearance of the Devil”. Quoting Baudelaire, he says, “the devil’s cleverest wile is to convince us that he does not exist”. Actually, Satan is quite happy for us believers to picture him as some far-fetched boogeyman, dressed up in a skin-tight red suit, with horns and a tail with as evil leer on his face. he does not want us to know the truth – that he “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
It had been a busy day, and Jesus was exhausted. It was late evening and crowds of people had swamped Him with their needs. He said to that special group of His disciples, “Let’s slip away to the other side of the lake”. So they took Him along, just as He was – no change of clothes = and put Him on board a small fishing boat. He walked directly back to the stern, dropped His parcel to the deck, and stretched out on a cushion and went to sleep. The disciples had hardly got the boat under way when a furious squall suddenly arose, and the waves began to break over the bow as it plowed eastward. But in His weariness, Jesus kept on riding in the stern, asleep on the cushion.
One more! LOVING vs. GOSSIP. Why is gossip such an attractive thing to the human personality? It is a strange way of relating, isn’t it? James says in [chapter] 3:9, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and FAther, and with it we curse men who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing”. We walk up to a brother and say, “I love you in the Lord”. Then when we are with someone else, we say gossiping things about him. Wow! That’s really being DOUBLE-MINDED! Again, the problem is something within our-SELVES that we need to face. Probably, we have a very low image of [ourselves]. Or we are carrying . . . rejection for one reason or another, and we build [ourselves] up by tearing down a brother. We salve our hurt by hurting another.
There are few absolutes in the world. I know of only a couple: the WORD of God, and GOD HIMSELF. In almost everything else, there is the constancy of change. Autos were developed as a mode of transportation. Now they are either a toy or a status symbol. Football, baseball, basketball, and tennis were games to play for fun and exercise. Now they are business, used to sell all kinds of products. Our houses were the abode and meeting place for “family”. Now they are hiding places and entertainment centers for frustrated individual spirits [who are] searching for “reality” and not finding it. The social mores of the people of America are radically different from that which came forth in the settling of this land [only] a short 200 years ago. And the system of law under which we are governed is a far cry from where it was just 50 years ago.
And in all this, God is seeking to bring us to the realization that we who are the Body of Christ must come into some radical change in our own personal relationship with Him. So, the problem of being a double-minded person must be faced candidly and openly. In Colossians 2:8 Paul warns us to “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of the ‘world’ rather than on Christ”. Now, that is one of the most pertinent things the Bible says about the day in which we are now living. Human tradition , or HUMANISM, as it is known today, simply says, “Do your own thing. Follow the world’s viewpoint, and have more fun! You can be a Christian and still be the beneficiary of the world’s concept of Life”. But Jesus says, “NO!” Straight from the shoulder, James fires this salvo: “YOU ADULTEROUS PEOPLE, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred towards God?” And for emphasis he adds, “Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an ENEMY of God” (James 4:4).
One of the “Guidelines for Parents” [that] Sally and I give in our teachings is this: SET HIGH STANDARDS EARLY. A standard of behavior is meant to eliminate DUPLICITY. Being double-minded causes young people to seek to follow two sets of standards – one for inside the home, another for outside the home (out in the “world”). Christian men and women must work diligently to eliminate that latter set of “standards” and the resultant relationships.
God’s Word to me personally, a long time ago, was, “YOUR LIFE IS MY MESSAGE TO THOSE AROUND YOU”. In the establishment of the first church in Acts 2:46, Dr. Luke says, “Every day they continued to meet together . . . , and they broke bread and ate together with gladness and SINGLENESS OF HEART”. That word “SINGLENESS”, in the original language that Luke used in writing this account, has a very clear meaning: TO ELIMINATE DUPLICITY!
Because of our NATURAL background, namely that “we are, by NATURE, children of wrath”, we must recognize that we still often find ourselves dealing out of two personalities – “THE OLD MAN” and “THE NEW MAN”. Since the devil was and is the “lord” of the “old man”, we absolutely must give top place in our “new man” to the RULERSHIP of Jesus, our LORD. Well, praise the Lord! The Spirit of His Son, the SPIRIT OF OBEDIENCE, dwells within us. Let’s allow Him to set our standards AND our patterns (our LIFESTYLE), as we seek to move towards the ONE SET OF STANDARDS He gives . . . us in His Word. And again the Apostle James says, using that unique phrase, “PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, YOU DOUBLE-MINDED”. And then he adds, “Humble yourSELF before the Lord, AND HE WILL LIFT YOU UP! (emphasis mine). Yes, we take the first step AS AN ACT OF OUR WILL, and God’s promise is that HE will bring us to “maturity” as we become SINGLE-MINDED!
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 37, March 1984.
All the members have been given gifts, a call, and authority to exercise those gifts. But they must be under someone’s control; otherwise there will be chaos. Thus, as the Church, the Body of Christ, is growing up and maturing into what she has been called to be and do, all the functions of ministry must be under the rule, the government which the Lord has set in place. Sometimes, there are restraints prematurely put upon the flow of ministry. But we have to remember that everyone in the church was a rebel, and that characteristic has not been totally removed. We still want things “our way”, to “do our own thing”. We haven’t put way childish things. But both forms of authority are given, that we might all come to maturity. So Paul tells Timothy that a man must manage or RULE his own household well and get obedience and respect from his own children. At home or in the church, ministry and rulership both must be established. A very simple principle evolves within this distribution of authority: “The more effective the MINISTRY is exercised, the less GOVERNMENT is needed. So, top priority should be given in ministry.
. . . in the closing words of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus told His disciples, “ALL AUTHORITY in heaven and on earth has been given to me!” (emphasis mine). In His prayer to the Father in John 17:2, Jesus said, “For you granted [me] authority over all people”.
Paul says in Colossians 2:10, “. . . you [we] have been given fullness in Christ who is the Head over every power and AUTHORITY”. So all authority comes to man from God, the Father, through Jesus Christ His Son. Thus, Jesus Christ has AUTHORITY over ALL authority. For example, in Matthew 10:1, “He called His twelve disciples to Him and gave them AUTHORITY to drive out evil spirits, and to cure every kind of disease and sickness”.
The children of today’s young adult generation will be the source of the leadership for the people of God. That generation will also supply the leadership for the people of God. That generation will also supply the leadership for governments, the educational systems, and all other institutions of the world. We must be aware that the present generation of the PEOPLE OF GOD – THE BODY OF CHRIST – has an immense responsibility. We must determine who will train, or disciple, these kids: Society? Our educational systems? The State? No. None of these!
In another one of his great letters to the churches, Paul told another body of believers they needed to have a mind-transformation. In Philippians 2:1-4 he said, “If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being LIKE-MINDED, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Not only are we to take our mind off the world, but we are to “save the mind” by getting our thoughts off ourselves and onto other people around us. Paul, using the same language, tells Titus to “encourage the young men by being SELF-CONTROLLED. In everything set them an example.” (Titus 2:6-7a). It’s the same Greek language Luke used when he reported that “Legion”, having been delivered of the many demons, was”clothed and in his right mind.”
Headlines of the day: “Mt. St. Helens Erupts Again!” “One Million Ethiopians Face Starvation!” “Soviet’s Expected Wheat Crop of 230 Million Tons Reduced by Weather to 180 Million Tons!” “Daily Rate of Abortions in the 1,000’s!” “U.S. Dollar Declines Again on World Market!”
Now, there is one more thing: believing that we have a great High Priest, an intercessor – Jesus Christ, seated at God’s right hand. We hear Jesus say something like this, “Now, Father, you hear what Jay is asking; release it to him, in My Name.”
If we pray the way Jesus told us to, we will pray to the Father, “in Jesus’ Name.” “The Father will give you whatever you ask IN MY NAME,” Jesus said (John 15:16). But then He says, “In that day you will ask IN MY NAME. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No. The Father HIMSELF loves you because you have loved Me AND HAVE BELIEVED that I came from God” (John 16:26-27). What is Jesus saying? I think He is trying to get our identity with the Person of God, the Father settled into our spirit, by clearly defining to us who He is as He relates to the Father, and who He is as He relates to US.
In working with so many young-adult Christians who lacked a lot in living a disciplined personal life, we have come to appreciate more and more the short Epistle of James. In this short letter, he shoots straight at the target in a way few other writers of Scripture used. Some of his jibes are uniquely different, and often, the words he uses show up nowhere else in the Bible. One of these unique words in the original Greek is “dipsuchōs”.
No other writer of Scripture uses this word, but James chose to use it twice, both in 1:8 and in 4:8. It is a combo of “dis” (meaning “twice”), and “psuchē” (“a soul”). In other words, a DOUBLE-MINDED MAN is a TWO-SOULED man.