Series: Renewal of the mind; Discerning God’s voice
Sunday 4 June 2017 – Riaan Sinden
1 Pet. 1:13; 2 Cor. 10:3-6; Col. 3:1-4; Matt. 6:24, 33; (2 Cor. 11:14); Deut. 30:19; (Gen. 3:1); Eph. 4:11-15; 1 Kings 19:11-13; Rom. 8:5-6; Rom. 12:2; (John 14:6); (John 17:17).
The word “overcomer” has become real to me. You sometimes need to say it out aloud. To be an overcomer you have to overcome something. The place where we need to secure the victory is in the mind. Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:13). For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete (2 Cor. 10:3-6). That is an overcomer! We need to take very thought captive to obey Christ. The word ‘captive’ means to control, conquer and bring into submission. Jesus Christ is the Word made flesh, so we bring every thought captive to the Word of God. We do that by making an intentional decision to spend time in the Word. If we do not connect to God, we will connect to something else. We need to recognise the voice behind the ‘bombardments’ we experience daily and discern the lie from the truth. The only way to do that is to know the truth. We sometimes perceive the truth through the perspective of past experiences. We have more background biases than we realise. That is why Jesus never did two miracles the same way.
The optic nerve is the only nerve that goes directly to the brain. It sends more impulses from the brain to the eye than from the eye back to the brain. So it means our brain is telling our eyes what to see. We are actually preconditioned. That is why it is so important to fill our mind with things from above. We need to have our minds renewed constantly. Keep seeking the things above (Col. 3:1-4). There is devotion needed when it comes to the Word of God. The things we are most devoted to will determine our actions. The things that fuel what we pursue are the point of our greatest devotion. We have two choices. Is God my first love? No-one can have two masters (Matt. 6:24). Remember the two trees in the middle of the Garden of Eden? God always comes alongside and shows us the right way. We have to discern which voice we are going to listen to. The enemy comes as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), what he says sounds good but it is a lie. If we want to live the life of an overcomer we will have to overcome the voice of the enemy. He can make a lie sound like the truth. We will only know truth if we seek truth.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants (Deut. 30:19). Choose life! There are no grey areas in God. There is either hot or cold, life or death, all or nothing. We need to be devoted to the one and despise the other. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. God is first God, not second, not third. We need to devote ourselves to this and set our minds on the things above. This is the battleground. The enemy will try to keep us distracted and keep our mind off what is really important. We have a good example in the pattern Son who lived a life completely devoted to His Father. If we are not devoted, we will be led astray by every other voice.
The difference between a mature son and a child is that the mature son knows the truth and his mind is set on the things above (Eph. 4:11-15). In the Garden of Eden, there was one animal described as more cunning than any of the other beasts (Gen. 3:1). The enemy is not going to give us a break. The enemy will try to infiltrate our doctrine, our beliefs, our position in Christ and even our principles. He will test you on every one of those. He will come as an angel of light but will keep you in the dark. We will walk around in the dark, unable to see the plan of God for our lives. If he cannot distract us, he will duplicate the sound. He will test the authenticity of our relationship with God by asking two questions: “Did God really say?” and “If you are the Son of God….” Through all of these distractions and things bombarding our minds, we need to train our ears to hear and recognise the voice of God. The only way to do that is by devoting ourselves to His Word.
Elijah was hiding in a cave and God spoke to him (1 Kings 19:11-13). We too need to discern, in all of these distractions, the voice of the Lord. His Word is alive in all of this, He is speaking clearly. We need to get to the frequency where we can hear Him.
Our weapons are mighty in God to pull down strongholds (2 Cor. 10:3-6). Do not allow distractions to rob you from who you are in Christ. Do not give alien voices a platform from which to speak. Submit to the Spirit of God, the Spirit of truth. He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying. We create that ear by spending time in the Word of God and in the presence of God. Only then we can quiet the mind! We need to live Spirit-filled lives; we need to submit to the Spirit of truth. We need to come into alignment with His purposes for our lives. Our lives need to demonstrate this reality: “Your kingdom come, Your will be done in this earth”. If we do not connect to the plan of God, the enemy will connect us to his plan; there is no middle ground.
It ultimately comes down to two things: We can either be led by the Spirit or be led by the flesh. If you are born-again you are not immune to the needs of the flesh. The flesh is only interested in two things: provision and protection. We will fight in the marketplaces to get provision; that is the spirit of the orphan. We will hoard and not share. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (Rom. 8:5-6).
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 12:2). It is not a once-off thing. Do not rely on past experiences. Pray for a fresh encounter with God. There is an intense war raging between the truth and the lie for full control over the mind. The truth or the lie will ultimately have full control over the mind. The one that controls our mind controls our destiny. What we devote ourselves to will determine which one will triumph.
Devote yourself to Christ the pattern Son. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Do not conform to the pattern of this world. Be transformed by having your mind renewed. The only way to replace the error of the world’s thinking is to replace it with the truth. There is no short cut. We must fill our mind with God’s word. Jesus prayed, Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth (John 17:17).
It is the indwelling life of Christ that enables us to truly put on the mind of Christ and be transformed in thought, desire, in motion, in nature and body into His likeness. This will impact every area of our lives. The whole of creation is expectantly waiting for the sons of God to be revealed, they are in travail. They want to taste and see a powerful manifestation of the life of God in the oneness of the corporate son. We have an example in the pattern Son. We need to stop battling what has already been conquered. Set your minds on the truth of God’s word. Gird up the loins of your mind. Take every thought captive and bring it to obedience to Christ.