You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘The Reality Series’ category.

In previous articles, we have:

  1. Made the case for attaching enemy status to our carnal minds;
  2. Provided five ways for exposing the carnal mind’s deceptive practices;
  3. Recognized our responsibility in taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ;
  4. Introduced the process of faith as God’s design for overcoming our carnal mind’s influence; and,
  5. Promised to introduce the disciplines God has provided to initiate and maximize His grace in the process of faith.

Begging your forgiveness, we have decided on a brief segue to share a relatively simple explanation of the relationship between our mind (or minds, should it come to that) and our faith. We will introduce the disciplines next time.

For those of you that require a summary statement:

Faith appropriates the grace of God that overcomes the influences of our carnal mind. This is accomplished throughout our lives as an iterative process – the process of faith – which is also an integral part of our ongoing salvation, transformation, sanctification, etc.

Now, for those interested in a layman’s humble explanation:

The Process of Faith and the Renewal of Our Minds

To begin, let me recognize that others may find exception to the following explanation. I think I would be surprised if someone did not. Much smarter theologians have explained it differently – and they don’t agree with each other. We are, it would seem, one of God’s most mysterious creations.

If you find yourself disagreeing, by all means, let me know what you think. In the meantime, don’t let disagreement get in the way of whatever blessing God may have for you here.

Before we are born again (as Jesus explains to Nicodemus in John 3), the physical organ we call “the brain” functions on behalf of our carnal mind and, to the extent that they influence that mind, on behalf of Satan and the world.

The mind and brain are not the same. The brain is the most incredible physical organ designed and created by God. Much has been written about the brain’s capabilities; we will not discuss those here.

In the most basic case, the brain processes sensory input, interacts with the mind concerning a response, and then directs the body in that response. Additionally, the brain is being programmed – beginning before birth – to respond automatically to external stimuli (e.g., smiling at a mother’s voice, shutting eyelids when something gets too close). These auto-responses can be self-protective, destructive, or neutral.

The mind functions at a higher level, in response to input from the brain and information that it retrieves from its storage cells. The mind gives direction to the brain both – and this is important – consciously and subconsciously. Our mind is where we think and reason; where we imagine and create. This too occurs consciously and subconsciously. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Last week’s article was primarily written to encourage you in identifying and exposing the ways our carnal mind attempts to deceive us (Phase One). In doing so, I may have also inadvertently communicated Phase Two of the strategy. You may recall two suggestions:

  1. Invite and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you into the truth.
  2. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.

These are certainly mission critical parts of our strategy. We should know where they fit by the end of this series (I am still working some things out). In the meantime, allow me to address the promise I made last week – to update “The Process of Faith” article (from 2017).

That faith would be one of our greatest weapons against deception is not something the average Christian would intuitively recognize. However, as we will see, God has designed the process of faith with necessary and critical steps which involve our minds (spiritual and carnal). The 2017 article broke the process down into five steps. Since then, some additional revelation (related to our mind) has come to light.

As you read through the process, consider the carnal mind’s active resistance in each step. It is aggressively working to distract us from the hearing of faith (steps 1 – 3), to reject or confuse our belief and reckoning of the truth (4 – 5), and to resist or subvert our obedience to the work of faith (6 – 8). Notice also how the mind of the new man is edified and empowered to overcome our enemies’ attempts at deception. Read the rest of this entry »

Last week I shared with you that the first phase of overcoming our carnal mind is identifying and exposing its deceptive ways. I listed five exercises to test the deception that has found its way into your life. Of course, these exercises are only effective as we invite and allow God to participate in each search and destroy mission.

Each of these exercises is essential and could take weeks to complete. Please, be encouraged: It will be worth your time and effort. Proceed as the Holy Spirit directs. By the way, it is encouraging to remember Jesus’ promise:

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth… John 16:13

As you discover, with the Spirit’s help, the deceptions of your carnal mind, He will guide you into a process that will empower you to overcome each and every deception that has been perpetrated against you. Remember, it is the truth that makes us free (John 8:32).

The process I am speaking of is the process of faith. That process is described – in part – in this article. The good LORD willing, I will write a part 2 that describes the remainder. Go ahead and read the first part; it will be helpful.

In conclusion, let me share something the Holy Spirit brought to my mind this morning.

When you are listening to someone, or reading something, and your mind says to you, “Oh, I’ve heard that before.”, be suspicious. That may be your carnal mind’s attempt at preserving the mindset it has helped create.

What should we do with such thoughts? The same thing we are commanded to do with every thought:

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ 2Corinthians 10:4-5

The more I search this out, the more convinced I become that this subject is mission critical for the Western Church. There is much that we should be doing better (e.g., prayer, making disciples, seeking unity, ministering to the brethren). However, these things will be nothing but wood, hay, and stubble if they are not done in Spirit and in truth. We – I mean leaders in the Western Church – have got to get our minds right.

God bless you for your attention to these matters. Persevere and He will make you a catalyst for restoration. Please share with the leaders you know.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

At the end of last week’s article on the carnal mind, I promised to answer the question, “What shall we do?” As it turns out, I’ve answered this question in part through several previous articles. If you are interested in reviewing them, click here for a list.

God has me exploring this issue of the mind for a couple of reasons. First, such explorations are always for my own transformation. God is trying to show me something that is inhibiting my walk with Him in the good works He has created for His glory (and my joyful, Spirit-filled adventure).

Secondly, and because I am a disciple maker of Christian leaders, whatever He shares is always for others. This, of course, is true of all disciple makers – yourself included.

One thing is different about this particular line of study: I don’t feel the need to get all my ducks in a row before sharing. It is likely that I never will. If the carnal mind was so easily understood, someone would have written a best seller on the subject by now (if you know of one, please share). Read the rest of this entry »

The carnal mind has one primary objective (maintain control) and one primary method for achieving it (deception). One of its greatest and necessary deceptions is its passivity, even to the point of apparent non-existence. The carnal mind works diligently to remain undetected.

Satan and the world use our carnal mind to inhibit our relationship with God and conform us to their evil ways. Now get this: Together, they form an alliance that is more destructive than either would be separately. I am confident that even now they are working hard to minimize your consideration of the danger. Please don’t let that happen. Fight back!

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

Committing our ways to the LORD is a process of incremental victories whereby our will is submitted to His. Failure along the way is not so much taking back control as it is never truly giving it up to begin with. Our carnal mind is far more adept and agile at deception than we imagine. It benefits from our perception of progress and it is practiced at building a false sense of security.

When our ways are truly submitted to God, there is no getting them back, short of a repeat (mini-) rebellion. This is not possible for those born of God, who have died to the sin. When this point of no-return occurs is beyond my understanding. However, it is valuable to recognize the seriousness of our commitments – that they be full and sincere – and that God does all we will allow to secure them, and us.
Read the rest of this entry »

For the love of money is a root of all the evils, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1Timothy 6:10

Materialism is a mindset that substitutes the things of this world for the promises of God. This includes security, comfort, peace, joy, etc. In the Scriptures, materialism is called by another name:  Idolatry.

The use of “wandered” – in the verse above – is interesting. In the Greek, it means “to go astray, stray away from”.  It is a passive action; like a child wandering away from his mother.

In other words, materialism is not something we actively set our minds to pursue, like adultery or murder. It comes to us like an unseen toxin or cancer, many times wrap in attractive packaging. We don’t have to ask for materialism; it is an active agent – a catalyst for many kinds of sin.

Most American Christians are born into materialism. It is a big part of our culture – an inherent measure of the American Dream. “Keeping up with the Joneses”, once viewed as a negative pursuit, has now become an obligation. Homeowners’ association and our kids demand it. We have been deceived into thinking that making our neighbors and children happy is a redeeming activity. In reality, it is simply an excuse to procure more stuff.

From a Romanian pastor: “In my experience, 95% of the believers who face the test of external persecution pass it, while 95% of those who face the test of prosperity fail it!” Church leaders in China are recognizing the same threat. While persecution serves as a catalyst for church growth, China’s newfound prosperity is drawing believers away.

Assuming that Americans are somehow immune to this disease is both arrogant and dangerous – for ourselves and our children. To avoid or break free from the poison of materialism, we must recognize and respect it as our enemy. We must set our minds against it.

Once we acknowledge the potential for brokenness in the set of our mind, we become free and empowered to a healthy suspicion of the way we think and the affect that thinking has on our hearts. At this point, we must be particularly cautious.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thinking “outside the box” is a popular notion in the workplace. Consultants are paid good money to free company executives from the constraints of their day-to-day mindsets.

Most “outside the box” thinking focuses on strategic planning, product development, and operational efficiency. As important as these are, there is another area that promises even greater return: Thinking “outside the box” about relationships. In fact, failing to consider relationships will inhibit – perhaps doom – all other “out of the box” efforts.

So, let’s take a moment and think about it.

Our mind does not willingly explore what we know about someone, beyond the minimal requirements of our relationship with them. There exists a subconscious boundary, based on an unchallenged desire for comfort. We don’t want to discover things we might be responsible for addressing – things that might steal from the time we spend thinking about ourselves.

This is a tragedy, for people are more than we might imagine – even the people we think we know well. Haven’t we been warned not to accept things (or people) on their face value? Does that only apply to things (and people) we are unfamiliar with? Doesn’t that kind of thinking limit our intelligence and response?

Where is human curiosity when you need it? Read the rest of this entry »

As we begin, it is important to note that this is not a thesis on the Trinity. Nor is it intended to be a theological argument. I just have some questions – born out of concern – that I believe God would have us consider.

Growing up in the United Methodist Church, I was taught the Nicene Creed. Every Sunday, we recited the Triune nature of the God-head: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Somehow, I came away an understanding of the Holy Spirit as “Jesus in you”; in essence, that the Holy Spirit was nothing more than the personification of Jesus Christ living inside of me. I am sure this was not done intentionally, but that’s what I came away with.

In those days, the Holy Spirit simply wasn’t a topic of conversation… or teaching.

I have since learned that He (the Holy Spirit) is much, much more. The person and work of the Holy Spirit is unique to Him; and without Him, the followers of Jesus Christ are severely handicapped.

I did not recognize that the Holy Spirit was an equal person of the God-head until I aged into my thirties. I believe it grieved Him. I had to confess, apologize and ask His forgiveness.

The Holy Spirit has since been an intimate Comforter, Teacher and Transformer. His fruit and gifts are much more evident in my life, now that I know Him and His role in my faith journey.

God works all things to the good of those that love Him. My ignorance of the Holy Spirit has made me sensitive to the unique personalities of the God-head – and sensitive to Their absence.

Recently, I have noticed a new kind of replacement theology. It seems to me that God the Father is being replaced in our Christian consciousness by His Son. Are you sensing the same thing?

Read the rest of this entry »

Long ago, Thomas a Kempis wrote, “The Lord has many lovers of His crown but few lovers of His cross.” This is hardly understood in our day. Most of us would say we love the Cross. Why?

Because we only know the Cross for what it has done for us (its work). We know little of what it should be doing to us – the death of self and crucifixion to the world (its way).

 

For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:35

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Galatians 6:14

The way of the Cross is the difficult way that leads to life.

Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:14

It is the way that Jesus is referring to when He says, “Come, follow me.”

Is this the Cross you love?

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

Before we delve into another article on the way we think, what we think about, and how our thinking impacts our faith walk, I would like to clarify something.

These articles are for Workplace Leaders. In fact, this is true for every article that God uses me to write – whether or not they are workplace focused. Why? Because God has positioned Christians in the Workplace to make disciples. That is our primary responsibility.

Furthermore, God created inLight Consulting to encourage, edify and equip Workplace Leaders for that purpose. Consequently, every resource that comes out of this ministry is for Workplace Leaders to use in making disciples and transforming their spheres of influence.

I encourage you to be a good steward of all that God is entrusting to you.

Foundational Thinking

As we have proposed previously, for reformation to occur in the Western Church, committed Christians must begin challenging the way they are thinking and what they are thinking about.

The way we think (i.e., paradigm, mindset, worldview) is built on foundational convictions. The stronger our convictions have become, the harder it will be to reform our thinking. Our minds do not like their foundations challenged.

I recognize that to even suggest such a thing is likely to set off alarms. Who am I to challenge the way you think and what you think about – much less your foundations? It is a great question. The answer is better:

I am just the pen.

You don’t have to answer to me. You don’t even have to like or agree with everything I write. Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ! Hold these things up in the light of His Gospel, and the truth of His word.

I truly believe that I am simply the instrument God is using to get you to challenge the way you think and what you are thinking about.

The Old and New Covenant

The following is intended to get you thinking about what (if anything) you think about your covenant with God.

Read the rest of this entry »

Archives

My Twitter Feed

Pages

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: