ROMANS 8:5-6: “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.” NLT
OBSERVATION: What were you thinking? Has anyone ever asked you this? This is usually the question we hear when we have done something less than stellar. In this question, we discover a powerful truth.
Our actions are tied up with our thoughts!
James illustrates this point when he outlines the progression of sin in our lives. Sin always begins as a thought. If that thought is nurtured it will produce an action.
- “And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” James 1:13-15 NLT
The wonderful truth of our new life in Christ is that we can choose what we think about. We are not subject to a life that is controlled by our old nature and the power of sin. Our union with Jesus Christ has broken the power of sin that once held us and our life in the Spirit gives us the ability to walk in a new way. This begins as we learn to allow the Holy Spirit to control our thoughts.
This is not some mystical formula of mind control. The wonderful thing about the Holy Spirit is that He never forces us to respond to God’s grace. The Holy Spirit always gently leads us and always gives us the choice. The powerful reality is that we do have a choice! We can choose to surrender our thought life to our old sinful nature or we can begin to allow the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts into the full purposes of God.
Every believer has experienced the battle for the mind. All of our temptations and fears start with a single thought. To have a thought of weakness or temptation is not a sin. It is merely being human. However, what we do with these thoughts is the key to whether we walk in life and peace or get entangled once again in the works of our old sinful nature.
The battleground is in the mind!
Paul makes it very simple. Those who are walking in the power of the Holy Spirit think about the things of God. Those who are walking in their sinful nature think about the things of the flesh. Here is how he puts it in Romans chapter 8.
- “Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” (Romans 5:8)
To be controlled by the Holy Spirit is not to be controlled in the human sense of the term. When we think of someone being controlled we think of a puppet who is being manipulated by someone else who is holding the strings. Our life in the Spirit is never like this. It is an invitation to surrender to the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our life. It is the privilege of being lifted above our human limitations into the wonderful provision of God’s grace.
How do we know if we are being controlled by the Holy Spirit or by our old sinful nature? The answer is easy. Take an inventory of what you are thinking. Are my thoughts filled with attitudes and actions of my old nature? Are my thoughts filled with worry and fear? Are my thoughts focused on my limitation rather than the power of the Lord in my life? To be controlled by the thoughts of our old sinful nature doesn’t always mean the temptation to sin overtly. It can be simply the temptation to lay down our spiritual armor and surrender to the attacks of the enemy in our life.
Our victory begins with our thought life!
This is why pouring the Word of God into our life each day is not something that is merely good to do. It is a matter of our victory or our defeat. The Holy Spirit works through God’s Word. He empowers God’s Word, gives revelation from God’s Word, and builds our faith through God’s Word. As we read and meditate upon God’s Word we are answering the call of the Holy Spirit to allow Him to renew our mind and control our thoughts.
In computer programming, there is an old saying. “Garbage in…garbage out.” This is also true in life. We were delivered from the power of sin and death through the victorious sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are no longer obligated to surrender our minds to an endless cycle of temptation, worry, and fear. We can rise up in victory and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ – through His Word and in the power of the Holy Spirit!
- “We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NLT
Lord, this morning help me to take an inventory of my thoughts. Give me ears to hear the Spirit’s call. I surrender my thoughts and bring them captive in obedience to Jesus Christ my Lord. Grant me the grace to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit today and allow Him to guide and control my thoughts.
In Jesus Name!