We who are born again live in a fallen world which is an enemy of God, but our citizenship is of heaven. Our spirits are alive together with Him, and our bodies are dead already. It is a strange dichotomy, the life of a new man temporarily held in the old wineskin of the body of flesh. The two don’t go together, Jesus taught. We don’t belong here, by all rights, but either did Jesus. He divested Himself of His proper citizenship and entered this world of death to save us who were His enemies. And that is why we are still here, too. We are to be about doing the things that Jesus did until His return. It is all about following Him.
But because we are of the Spirit and life dwelling in a body of flesh and death, our souls, which can go either way, have to be transformed. The Spirit and life pulls one way, and the flesh, sin, and death pulls another. Because of this we sometimes do the things that we do not want to do. Paul says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
James says the same thing in a different way. He calls the man who is pulled in two directions, “double-minded,” who is unstable in all his ways. But the central headquarters of change is the same for both: it is in the mind. The Old Testament agrees: As a man thinks in himself, so is he. Not feels; but thinks. Remember that the soul consists of the mind, thoughts, will, and feelings or emotions.
As humans, we focus on how we feel as of prime importance. And it is true that how we act is usually determined by how we feel. But the biblical truth is that feelings are secondary. Feelings follow thoughts because they are attached. If someone feels depressed, anxious, or irritable so often that it has become their character, it is because the thoughts of their mind are habitually such so that feelings of depression, anxiety, and irritability are produced. Trying to change how we feel is wasted effort. Changing what we think will succeed in changing how we feel.
Why is this so important? Because as human beings, actions follow feelings. The chain of command for the unregenerate man is flesh -> thoughts -> feelings -> actions of sin leading to death. The chain of command for the new man is to be Spirit -> thoughts -> feelings -> actions of righteousness leading to life. The pivot point in each case is thoughts. The battleground of whether the new man will walk (actions) by the Spirit or by the flesh is in the mind.
the battleground of the mind
it builds character
lies are not harmless
truth sets us free
tearing down strongholds
establishing a stronghold of truth
training our hearts in truth
rabbit trail one: God’s word applies to me
rabbit trail two: God’s word is unfailing
thirty minutes a day can change your life
thirty minutes a day, day two
thirty minutes a day, days three and four
thirty minutes a day, day five
there is too much, let me sum up