Responding to a middle-school “Bible challenge,” my wife Peggy had established a daily pattern of reading one chapter per day from God’s word. The more she learned about God, the more she wanted to know about Him. By the time she reached her mid-teens, Peggy knew she believed in God and in Jesus Christ, His Son, so she began to wonder, “If this is all true, what must God want from me?” Then reading a short summary of the gospel one day, she came to realize, “What God wants from me, is me.” Peggy was right—discovering Jesus demands a response, as the apostle Paul likewise found. Fallen to the ground in a brilliant flash of heavenly light, the ruthless Pharisee somehow mustered the two most vital questions one can ask: “Who are you, Lord?”1 and “What shall I do, Lord?”2
To discover Christ is to reach the realization that God is true, His character flawless, and His ways unsearchably wise. It is also a rendezvous with the humbling truth that our natural way of thinking is “hostile” to God and unable to submit to Him.3 Our actions follow our hearts and minds, so there must be for us a new direction for a lifetime of next steps. Indeed, there is: we align our mind with where we are going. Instructed Paul, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”4 What might this look like? Paul gives us a glimpse: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”5
Then is “right-thinking” some kind of new law to pursue in our own power, one more rule to remember and manage? Hardly. God has given us a new way—a relational way—of life. It is the way of God’s Spirit in us. Paul assured the early church, “You are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you.”6 He said, “Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires,” and “… the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”7 We live in daily relationship with God, “be[ing] transformed by the renewing of [our] mind.”8 So today, we listen for His voice, trust in His promises, and go in His power to do what He’s prepared for us to do.
Do not conform 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 12:2)
Father, you are wise, and your ways are so recognizably different than my own. Send your Spirit to lead me, that I would set my heart and mind on you and do what you call me to do today. Amen.
1 Acts 22:8
2 Acts 22:10
3 Romans 8:7
4 Colossians 3:1-2
5 Philippians 4:8
6 Romans 8:9 NLT
7 Romans 8:5, 6
8 Romans 12:2