Saturday, September 14, 2013

Reformation: Thinking New Thoughts

An audio overview of the lesson by Raul Diaz.

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Below is the script:

Reformation: Thinking New Thoughts
Memory Text: “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, NKJV).
Let us define reformation:
“… a reformation must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit.  … Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. …”—Ellen G. White, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Feb. 25, 1902.
As we can see, it is a work that the Holy Spirit does.  And, it is a work that happens in the mind.  Reformation occurs as the Holy Spirit brings our thoughts into harmony with Christ’s thoughts. Christ becomes our meditation.  When that happens, our actions will follow.  Ellen White says,
“It is a law both of the intellectual and the spiritual nature that by beholding we become changed. The mind gradually adapts itself to the subjects upon which it is allowed to dwell. It becomes assimilated to that which it is accustomed to love and reverence. Man will never rise higher than his standard of purity or goodness or truth. If self is his loftiest ideal, he will never attain to anything more exalted. Rather, he will constantly sink lower and lower. The grace of God alone has power to exalt man. Left to himself, his course must inevitably be downward.”—Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 555.
Reformation is all about looking to Jesus. It is about Jesus filling our minds. It is about Jesus shaping our thoughts. It is about Jesus guiding our actions. When we behold Jesus, He will lead us to higher standards than a mere rigidity to rules. We cannot really look to Jesus and remain the same. When we think His thoughts, we have only one desire, and that is to do His will.

Ellen white says,

All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent,
He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into
conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses.
The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we
know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience.
Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will
become hateful to us. (DA 668)

Our flesh, still sinful, wants to Sin.  This is our battle.  So, We need weapons specifically for that kind of war.  Paul says,

2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

We cannot always choose the thoughts that race through our minds. We can choose whether we will dwell upon them and allow them to dominate our thinking. To bring each thought into obedience to Christ is to surrender our minds to Jesus. Carnal thoughts are not banished by merely wishing them away. They are driven out as the mind is filled with something else. The mind focused on God’s Word is the mind “safeguarded” and “kept” by God’s grace from the wiles of the evil one.

Scripture teaches that human beings are an integrated unit of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. Whatever affects one part of the human frame affects all parts. The disciples taught that physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health were interconnected and could not be separated.  All sympathize with each other.  This is why Ellen White warns us,

To every soul Satan comes with temptation in many alluring forms on the point of indulgence of appetite.  The body is a most important medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here often means the surrender of the whole being to evil (A Call to Stand Apart, 56).

This is why The Holy Spirit does not limit Himself to one aspect of our lives when He convicts us of our need for growth. Reformation is not one-dimensional. The Spirit longs to bring our lives into total conformity to the will of Christ in every area. If there are physical lifestyle practices not in harmony with His will, God invites us to surrender them for His glory. Satan wants to control our minds through our bodies; Jesus longs to control our bodies through our minds. Our bodies are a temple, not a funhouse. By following – hearing and hearkening – the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we can live more joy-filled, productive, abundant, healthy lives.    

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