Trimming Your Sails (3)
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3.1, 2
You have to give evolutionary thinkers this much: They are unfailingly consistent.
Evolutionists are committed to a framework of thought that is determined to explain everything without reference to God. According to evolutionary thinking, all things and processes throughout the creation are determined by chance and natural selection. Read a book by any evolutionist. You’ll be impressed by how much they know about their subject, how thoroughly immersed they are in the literature of their discipline, and how they can overlook or simply ignore the most glaring inconsistencies in their point of view.
Expect to be a bit flustered though by the fact that they just can’t see beyond their materialistic blinders, and they always end up at the same place from which they started: Evolution explains everything. You and I can look at the same phenomena evolutionists study and see the hand of God everywhere. But not them. No sir. They have made up their minds that evolution is the explanation and driving force of everything that exists, and they will not be dissuaded by our reasons or arguments.
And this is why Paul commands us to set our minds on Christ, exalted in glory, ruling at the Father’s right hand, commanding angels and restraining demons, putting His enemies under His feet, upholding the cosmos by His powerful Word, preparing a place for us of eternal glory and bliss, restoring the reconciled world, and making ready to return and take us to Himself. Set your mind there, because this is ultimate truth. Set your mind there, and let the beauty and majesty and wonder of it enthrall and enfold you. Set your mind thereand see Jesus, seeing you, as you do everything for His glory. Set your mind there and know the peace that passes understanding and the joy that nothing can take from you – the peace and joy that issue from the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4.6, 16-18).
When the reality of Jesus Christ, exalted in glory, becomes your mindset, then you’ll be able to keep the sails of your mind adjusted to the steady Wind of God (Ps. 16.8, 11).
Watch what you’re thinking
But how do we do this? Obviously, we need to be careful about the thoughts that we allow to come into our mind. Lots of ill winds blow against us day by day. They come from all kinds of sources, and most of them encourage us to think of ourselves as somehow the center of the world: “It’s all about you.” “It won’t hurt to think this way; you’ll like it.” “It’s only a wee bit of self-indulgence.” Such spirits, as they engage the sails of your mind, can soon distract you from seeing Jesus and seeing and thinking with His mind (1 Cor. 2.16), to seeing only whatever you want at any moment, and thinking only about yourself.
We need to test all such thoughts, ideas, opinions, and worldviews against the reality of Jesus Christ, exalted in glory and unfolding His plan for the divine economy (1 Jn. 4.1-4). We must not allow our thinking to become conformed to the false notions, trivial beliefs, half-truths, and outright lies of the unbelieving age that blows and storms around us (Rom. 12.1, 2). Like Timothy, we must keep a close watch on whatever doctrine we may be pondering, or that may be influencing our choices and decisions (1 Tim 4.16); and we must put off all old ways of thinking and hoist onto the mast of our mind the sails of reception, attention, and interest, adjusted to receive only the Wind of God.
To think with the mind of Christ we must receive His Word daily by reading, study, and meditation. We must pay attention to how Christ sees the world, and what Jesus thinks about this or that. His love and His commitment to truth must guide our view of the world and our place in it. The more we develop interest in Christ and His Word, the more we will know the Wind of God directing our thoughts, just as we know Him filling our hearts with holy desire, delight, and love.
Prayer is a good place to watch what you’re thinking – prayer in the morning, before every activity, throughout the day, and before you retire at night. Prayer with other Christian friends. Prayer in which you only listen for the Word of Jesus. Prayers of confession when you stumble. Prayers of praise as you meditate on the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Prayers of wonder and song as you contemplate the greatness of our exalted Savior and King.
Think what is best
Every day and in every situation, our goal must be to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 10.3-5). Stray thoughts, vain ideas, fleeting sinful notions, doubts about the truth of God’s Word, or ubiquitous but lying worldviews will come at us all day long. It has been the burden of this study to help us learn to recognize these worldly, fleshly, and ecclesiastical ill winds that can blow you off course in your journey with the Lord.
Recognizing ill winds is essential if we are to test the spirits and keep a close watch on the doctrine that drives us forward in life. But we must make sure that Christ is the beginning, substance, and end of all our thinking (Rom. 11.36), so that our mind is continually open for examination and transformation before Him. We can understand and recognize the ill winds of doctrine that would divert us from Christ; but we do not have to yield to them. We take them captive when, in the Name of Jesus, we banish them as components of our own thought life, reject them as factors in decision-making, and replace their vain suggestions with the truth that saves and sanctifies us (Jn. 17.17).
Keep your eyes on Jesus, and become daily more immersed in His Word, and you’ll learn to think what is true and best about everything in your life. Taking every thought captive for Jesus will be just what you do as you think about this or that, analyze a situation, make your plans, formulate ideas, or share your opinions with others. The Wind of God is the Wind of truth; let your sails be filled with Him, so that you sing and praise and give thanks to God in all things, and you will be ready to banish any ill winds of doctrine that seek to divert your mind from the truth that is in Christ Jesus.
1. How would you explain to a new believer what it means to set your mind on Christ?
2. What does it mean to “test” the spirits and ill winds of doctrine that blow against us each day?
3. How can you anticipate ill winds of doctrine and prepare for them, so that you keep the sails of your mind constantly trimmed to receive, attend to, and take interest in the Wind of God?
Next steps – Preparation: In prayer, try to anticipate the ill winds of doctrine you’ll have to deal with today. Trim the sails of your mind to be ready for them by focusing on Jesus and abiding in His Word.
T. M. Moore
Our new book What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth? can help you in setting your mind on Christ. Order your copy by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.