It is only when we begin to realize that we are not who we say we are that we can begin to reset some things, some perceptions we may have about God’s basic personality. We will reset our minds, for to become holy is to become like Christ, to become like Christ we must have His mindset, and to have His mindset, we must take the first step and begin to reset our own minds. We can have nothing within our beliefs that we are not willing to challenge if that belief is confronted by God and He shows us it is wrong. We must develop the mind of Christ.
Everything begins in our minds. All of our actions as human beings, whether they be good actions or evil actions, are conceived in our minds, sometimes being considered and pondered for a very long period of time prior to their execution. Sometimes they are merely spur of the moment, but I think most of our actions, at least the ones that really matter are planned long before their execution. And as I said, they can be either plans for good or plans for evil. Even sin in our lives, the thing that separates us from God, the One Who loves us much more than we love ourselves, most of the time seems spontaneous. But when the idea of spontaneity is removed and when we realize that we are merely acting out in our sin nature, we will see that it is not spontaneous at all, for if it were truly spontaneous, we would have never done it before. First lie, first theft, first lustful glance, first angry display, first anything. If we have done it before, it’s not spontaneous, it is just us repeating our offenses again and again.
We are meant to sin. We were made to sin. It is in the very basest of our makeup, in our DNA…..and if ever they discover something tinier than DNA, something that even more defines who we are, and how and why we do the things we do….it will be found there as well. We must sin. God knows it. He sent Jesus to make sure we wouldn’t have to suffer the penalty for the sin that is in our DNA. That’s all good. But what is more important than that knowledge is that we must understand that we need not live in that sin. That is the real reason Jesus came. Not to make us sinless, and not to make a way for us to sin less, but rather to come to the place where we may own a heart like His, for when we own that heart, we will sin no more.
Remember that God looks upon the heart when He looks at us. He can detect a heart that is pure and He can detect a heart that lusts for reward. Trust me, there is no purity in the hearts of those who chase after reward. For the simple fact that they chase after reward. And please don’t misunderstand. Some people chase after money in order that it might be used for good and help others. That is not the same as lusting after reward. It’s not even the same as working. We, as Christians must take care of those who are entrusted to our care as best we can. A understand that a heart that pursues reward may not even be concerned with physical reward, or even spiritual reward, but rather a psychological reward or some sort of emotional gratification, because there is nothing like the thrill of instant gratification.
Purity is its own reward. Remember that Christ said that the pure in heart will see God. That’s a pretty good reward. But what isn’t mentioned is that the pure in heart will see God….now. That’s even better. You will see Him in yourself as you begin to practice purity in your life, because it will grow each time you overcome, each time you choose light over darkness, every time you put the needs of others before your own and every single time you commune with Him. But wait, there’s more! Others will see God in you as well, each time you move nearer to Him. For purity, in order to be itself, can do nothing but reflect God’s love.
As we make the ever important discoveries of just who we are in Christ, we will simultaneously discover how far we are from our goal of being who we desire to be in Christ. And the funny thing is that the nearer we draw to Him, the more we will desire of Him. That’s just the way it is. Seeing the glory of God as you stand in His presence is certainly wonderful, but experiencing just a bit of His glory in you is even more remarkable, for if you are given the gift of just a bit of His glory it will change you in every way. You will never be the same.
But as in every single endeavor that has ever been attempted by man, it takes a couple of things. First, resolve. Without making a conscious decision to draw nearer to God, you are merely making the wind move by the air coming out of your mouth as you speak. And if you are the type of person that has good intentions, but rarely follows through on what you say you will do, then you will most certainly have a difficult time resetting your mind. Because it is difficult. It is challenging. It will cost you everything. And if you really understand just Who you are receiving when you draw near to Jesus nothing else will matter. But the cost is great.
6 “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.
27 And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Jesus is quite serious about this. Everything in your life must take a back seat to your relationship with God. Everything. When Jesus mentions that we must bear our cross He isn’t speaking of suffering through our lives. Everyone who listened to Him speak knew that the cross was an implement of death used by Romans to carry out a death sentence. The condemned man was made to carry His cross (usually just the crossbar) to the place of execution. Jesus was telling us we must die to ourselves, forsake our own ways and our own desires and adopt his ways and His desires, for that’s what a disciple of Jesus does.
After this he tells two short parables regarding counting the cost of being a disciple but ends with this:
33 So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.
We must put nothing, absolutely nothing in front of our relationship with God. That will take a bit of a reset in our minds. We must learn to trust Him and for some of us that too will be a bit of a challenge. But when we resolve to make Him our Master, allowing Him to direct our paths through and around both the difficult times and the easier times, we will discover that the difficult times were not so difficult and the easier times are richly blessed.