Monday, July 7, 2008

Renewing the Mind.....

I am so inspired by a comment from my post, "The Luxury of His Presence, can you live without it?", that I decided to dedicate this post in response to it! I picked up Bill Johnson's book, "The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind", to read his amazing insight on renewing our minds. Here is a portion of his thoughts from the book; 
"The only way to consistently do Kingdom works is to view reality from God's perspective. That's what the Bible means when it talks about renewing our minds. The battle is in the mind. The mind is the essential tool in bringing the Kingdom reality to the problems and crisis people face. God has made it to be the gatekeeper of the supernatural. 
To be of any use to the Kingdom, our minds must be transformed. We find a clue to what that word means in the transfiguration of Jesus when He talked with Moses and Elijah. The reality of heaven radiated through Jesus, and He shone with incredible brilliance. His body revealed the reality of another world. The word transformed in that passage is the same word we find in Romans 12:2. The renewed mind, then, reflects the reality of another world in the same way Jesus shone with heaven's brilliance. It's not just that our thoughts are different, but that our way of thinking is transformed because we think from a different reality - from heaven toward earth! That is the transformed perspective. The renewed mind enables His co-laborers to prove the will of God. We prove the will of God when put on display the reality of heaven. The unrenewed mind, on the other hand, brings about a completely different manifestation: 'Hear, O earth! Behold, I will certainly bring calamity on this people - The fruit of their thoughts, because they have not heeded My words nor my law, but rejected it' (Jeremiah 6:19). 
I understand that there is often hesitancy when we talk about the mind as a tool of God. At times in church history the intellectual aspect of the mind has been so exalted that it has wiped out a real lifestyle of faith. Men of sincere faith have been lured into a mindset of skepticism and doubt. Theology has been exalted at the expense of belief. Academic assessment has replaced firsthand, supernatural experience. There is good reason not to let the mind dictate how we will believe. But Christians often react to error and create another error in the process. Pentecostals have often downplayed the mind's importance, implying that it has no value at all. 
Many Christians instinctively distrust the mind, thinking it is irredeemably corrupt and humanistic. They point to Harvard and Yale and other universities that were originally founded on Christian principles, but which today promulgate deception and lies. However, the mind is actually a powerful instrument of the Spirit of God. He made it to be the gatekeeper of the Kingdom activity on earth. The great tragedy when a mind goes astray is that God's freedom to establish His will on earth is limited. The mind is not to be tossed out; it is to be used for its original purpose. If the mind weren't vitally important to our walk with Christ and our commission, Paul wouldn't have urged us to "be transformed by the renewing of our minds." In fact, only a renewed mind can consistently bring Kingdom reality to earth. 
Yet many of us live with unrenewed minds, which are of little use to God. An unrenewed mind is like a discordant key on a piano. Once you discover that key, you don't use it anymore because it detracts from the music. You skip over it and work around it. In the same way, people who are out of sync with the mind of Christ seldom get used, no matter how available they are, because their thoughts conflict with the mind of Christ. They are self-appointed in their mission and are not in submission to the primary mission. As a result, they are working entirely outside God's intended commission. However, when we come into agreement with the primary mission, our minds become powerful tools in God's hands. This explains why there is such an intense war being waged for your mind and your mental agreement. Every thought and action in your life speaks of allegiance to God or to satan. Both are empowered by your agreement. Renewing your mind means learning to recognize what comes from hell, and what comes from heaven, and agreeing with heaven. That is the only way you will complete your divine assignment. God designed your mind to be one of the most supernaturally powerful tools in the universe, but it needs to be sanctified and yielded to the Holy Spirit so you can carry out His designs, creative ideas, and plans in your everyday life.
Being transformed by the renewing of our minds will be an ongoing process and from that renewing comes revelation and understanding. Here's a bit more from the book out of the chapter on "Revelation and Understanding." 
"Revelation opens up new realms of living, of possibility, of faith. It is absolutely impossible to live the normal Christian life without receiving regular revelation from God. The Bible does not say, "My people perish for lack of miracles," or lack of money or because of bad relationships or bad worship leaders or insufficient nursery staff, or anything else we could list. It says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge"(Hosea 4:6). Proverbs 29:18 says similarly, "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint." A more correct and complete translation is: "Without a prophetic revelation, the people go unrestrained, walking in circles, having no certain destiny." 
The biblical word vision doesn't mean "goals." Goals are fine, but this vision is referring to the spirit of revelation coming upon you, giving you a vision of things that are unseen. Revelation is so essential in our lives that without it we perish. This is not a nice vitamin pill we can take or leave. This what we live by. Without unfolding prophetic revelation that expands your capacity to see life from God's perspective, you will perish. Without seeing your present circumstances through God's eyes, you will spiritually die. It is so vital that Paul wrote to the Ephesians -those who seemed to have their act together in every area, who experienced perhaps the greatest revival recorded in the New Testament - and said he prayed that God would, ...give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17b).
If the revival-steeped Ephesian church needed to be reminded of the importance of revelation, we need to hear it much more. Revelation is critical to the normal Christian life."
I suppose I could continue to quote from this book, it is so chockful of rich insight, from a man who's ministry is one I highly respect and is rapidly growing and continually bringing heaven to earth. But don't just take it from me, go check it out for yourself! 
In essence this post was a reply to a question of how to pursue God supernaturally, to which I replied first through renewing our minds and then through revelation and understanding. However, this is not something we can do apart from the Holy Spirit. I find for me, the more renewing and revelation that comes, the more hungry I get for more, leading me deeper into a relationship with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit and deeper into a desire to truly bring Heaven to earth, my true destiny in Christ!! 

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