If you visit this blog regularly, you may remember the phrase “stinking thinking,” which I use from time to time. We all understand that negative thoughts often become a self-fulfilling prophecy and how important it is to pursue a positive mental attitude.
Yet the Bible makes it clear that the mature Christian must move past positive thinking and into the biblical process of the renewing of the mind:
I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
The apostle Paul is teaching us that renewing the mind is more than mere positive thinking. It is the dismantling of the fallible, hollow, and deceptive philosophies of this world and replacing them with the inspired, inerrant, infallible truths of God’s Holy Word.
The key that unlocks the door in this renewing process is found in the Word of God. As I have said before, the book you don’t read won’t help you! Reading and meditating in the Word of God is critical in the mind-renewing process. Take a look at the following passages, which record the words of Christ:
He answered, “Haven’t you read . . .” (Matthew 12:3)
“Haven’t you read in the Law . . .” (Matthew 12:5)
“Haven’t you read,” he replied . . . (Matthew 19:4)
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read . . .” (Matthew 21:16)
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures . . .”(Matthew 21:42)
“About the resurrection—have you not read what God said to you . . . ?” (Matthew 22:31)
Six times in the Gospel of Matthew we find Jesus asking people “Have you not read . . . ?” Jesus is asking us that very same question today. God gave us His Word so that we would read it, not leave it on the bookshelf. Jesus’ consistent quoting of the Scriptures makes it clear that the Bible is to form and guide our thoughts and actions. Jesus read the Scriptures; He meditated on them; He marinated in them. And this is how we are to live our lives as followers of Christ! The more time we spend in the Word of God, the more the Word of God will be in us.
We must remember a few warnings from the prophets. Hosea 4:6 declares that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” and Jeremiah 2:12 laments, “My people have forsaken me, the spring of living water.” When we neglect these living waters and do not drink from the fount of every blessing that is the Word of God, we do so to our own detriment—even our own destruction.
A positive mental attitude is a good thing to have, but it must be rooted in a mind that is being renewed. It’s the difference between behavior modification and heart transformation. One can get you through the day, but the other will get you through a lifetime. The choice is always ours to make; so let it never be said of us, “Have you not read . . . ?”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!