Monday, October 30

Thinking Right!

Can I ask you an honest question? Do you always feel like you're on top of the world? Do you ever have down days... days that you'd just like to "get back and do over"? I do (I think this is called a "mulligan" in golf, but being a non-golfer, I could be wrong!). Even as a Christian, there are times when we blow it, or just are not having much "victory" or "success" in living out what we believe. For some of us, that is an everyday occurance... Well, how do we combat that? How do we deal with up-and-down, low-level living as a Christ-follower... and get to the point where we see some sustained success in this thing?

Well, first of all, we need to change our perspective. That's right -- we need to start thinking right... about God and about ourselves. We need to understand that God has not called us to Himself to experience day-in, day-out defeat. No, no, no... that will never do. Jesus said, I will build My church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it" (Matt. 16:18).

#1 - we're supposed to be on the offense, not the defense. God's people are supposed to march, not retreat! We're supposed to storm the gates of hell, not vice versa. I've never even seen real live gates go after anybody! In fact, if you're standing around in your yard sometime, and you see your neighbors' gate or fence start coming your way... and it seems to be suspended in mid-air, not carried by any visible person... start whistling the tune from The Twilight Zone ("doo-doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo"... you know how it goes!) and then get out of there, because something very, very strange is going on! Gates are meant to keep things out, and Jesus is saying that the force of spiritual darkness wants to keep us (the light of the world) out of it's domain... but hell can not win! "The gates of hell will not prevail!" God hasn't called us to a life of defeat and discouragement. He's called us to a life that is meant to experience victory!

#2 - Not only are we on offense, but we're on offense all the time!! The defense never gets the ball! Jesus says that hell's gates won't overcome the church; He never mentions anything about the Church's gates... because hell is never supposed to have the ball!! Hell is only a defensive team. It's like the Church always has 1st and goal at hell's 1-yard line!!! Can that end in any other way than a win?? That's almost like a perpetual Cowboys-Redskins game... Dallas always wins!!! (Ok, that was a cheap shot... but you get my point!)

#3 - What we have been called to is a life that experiences an ever-continuing transformation into the image of Christ. In other words, we're forever being changed to look and act like Jesus! That's God's goal and plan for every one of us who has committed our lives to following Him - that we will look and act like His Son, Jesus. That is God's goal, His intention, His purpose, and He cannot fail (Isa. 55:9-10).

Our perspective has to change... that's why the Bible tells us to not be conformed to ("squeezed into the mold of") this world system, but to be "transformed by the renewing of [our minds]..." Our very thought patterns have to be renewed or revamped... our perspective has to change.

Many times, we defeat ourselves by the way we think: "I'll never get over this..." "I'll always be this way." "I can never be like him/her!" Crazy thinking. "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion..." (Phil. 1:6). God always finishes what He starts... so, it's never good to believe that we cannot change! We can - and we will - if we believe what God has said, about Himself and about us. That's living a life of faith... that's living a life of victory... that's living a life that honors God.

"And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him humst believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him" (Heb. 1:6).

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