Kingdom Thinking

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

2 Corinthians 10:5, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”

It's very clear from our Bibles that Christians are required and obligated to think, but it is easier said than done. One of the greatest battles we fight is the battle of the mind. I came across a fellow who had some questions that we should ask ourselves from time to time when we think of our minds. There were three questions:

1. Is there anything that you should be thinking about more than you do? If we're honest, I think all of us would say for Christians we should be thinking more about God. You might ask that question from time to time. Maybe at the end of the day, how much have I thought about God today? Not just did I pray to God, talk to God in the morning, think about God when I have my devotions, but how much throughout the day have you thought about God? The Bible focuses upon three major ways we can think about God; his glorious attributes, his works, and his promises. Those are three major ways we can think about God throughout the day. Dr. Packer, who wrote that wonderful book, Knowing God, said, “Not until we become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God's holiness and sovereignty, willing to have our minds turned upside down, will we become wise.” I do believe that's what Paul wants us to do in Philippians 4, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are commendable; if there's any excellence, if there's anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Every one of those words is a descriptive of God. That's right, a descriptive of God. God is true, God is lovely, God is excellent. We need to be thinking about God more than we do. I think it would really help a lot of people. We are living in what they call the age of anxiety and it would squelch a lot of anxieties, fears and doubts if we did more thinking about God. I think that is the best medicine you can take for an anxious and troubled heart. Remember in the upper room, Jesus knows his disciple friends are troubled, they have troubled hearts. What did he tell them to do? “Believe on me, believe on God.”

2. Is there anything we should be thinking less about? Martin Lloyd Jones, “Our greatest problem is listening to ourselves and not talking to ourselves.” Even when it comes to prayer we can be talking or thinking a lot about ourselves. I'm not saying there's never a place, obviously, but even in terms of listening to ourselves there is that inner voice which is a me-oriented voice. So when it comes to the use of our minds, we need to be thinking about God, we need to be thinking less about ourselves even when it comes to prayer. Think of that prayer by the Pharisee in Luke 18 when he comes into the temple, it really is a self-focused prayer. He is telling God how good he is, “I fast, I tithe,” and the Pharisees thought too much about themselves. That's what pride does, pride loves to think about itself. When it comes to developing better thinking habits, that's the question, the use of our mind. We need to think more about God, we need to think less about ourselves.

3. Is there anything I should be thinking differently about? I think that's a 24/7 issue. Every day, we are in a battle and a war when it comes to how we think about God, how we think about ourselves, how we think about our neighbor, how we think about work, how we think about leisure, how we think about everything. There is a constant battle, how are we thinking? Are we thinking the way we ought to think? That goes back to Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” Also 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We are to take every thought captive.” That is a constant battle, an everyday battle, everyday we're exposed to mass media, every day the evil one, the devil, fires his fiery darts and he wants us to be doubting, fearful Christians. That's what he wants.

If you're going to live for God’s glory, we have to constantly, constantly ask God for help to think properly, biblically. We need the mind of Christ and the best way to develop good thinking patterns and habits is by reading your Bible. It’s pretty simple, read your Bible. Be like that blessed man in Psalm 1 who meditates upon the Word day and night. That is the armor, that is the light, that is the sword of the Spirit.

As we come to prayer let's ask God to help us to make good use of our tongues, but also to make good use of our minds. As we come to prayer let's think about who God is. The devil doesn't want us thinking about God. He doesn't want us thinking about the kingdom of God.

Pastor Gordon Cook