By Mark A. Finley
Isaac Watts, author of 750 hymns, is considered the father of English hymnody or hymn writing. On one occasion later in life a parade in his honor was held in London. The streets were lined with admiring people. Watts was a small man with a large mind. As the parade passed, one woman cried out in astonishment, “What? You’re Isaac Watts?”
Immediately Watts stood in the carriage and responded, “Madam, could I in fancy grasp the poles and hold creation in my hand, I would still be measured by my mind, for the mind is the measure of a man.”
He was right. The essence of who we are lies deep within our minds. In this lesson we will explore the importance of transformed thinking as it relates to our growth in grace and living a life totally consecrated to Jesus.
1Read and reflect on Philippians 2:5. What counsel does the apostle Paul give regarding transformed thinking? What does Paul imply when he uses the expression “Let this mind be in you”? What does he mean by the “mind” of Christ?
2What two contrasting words does Paul use in Romans 12:2 that describe how our minds are shaped in one way or another?
Each day our minds are either being transformed into the image of Christ or conformed to this world. The word for transformed that Paul used is metamorphe-, from which we derive the English word metamorphosis. A metamorphosis is a complete transformation, such as a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. Jesus Christ, through His Holy Spirit, longs to change our thinking process so that our minds are renewed and we think the thoughts of heaven.
3Read the following texts to discover a basic principle of transformed thinking: James 4:7, 8; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 10:4. How can we cooperate with the Holy Spirit to think the thoughts of heaven? What role do we play? What role does the Holy Spirit play?
Here is a vital principle of transformed thinking: The current of our thoughts will not change without the divine transformation brought about by the Holy Spirit. God will not transform our thinking without our cooperation. Jesus says: “Without Me you can do nothing”(John 15:5). Paul adds: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
4Read the first line of Proverbs 23:7 and Matthew 15:8. Where do all evil thoughts or desires come from?
In Scripture the “heart” often represents the deepest part of our emotions, affections, and thoughts. The Holy Spirit longs to change us in the depths of our being. His work is not as superficial as picking leaves off a rotten tree. He wants to establish a new root system in our hearts so the fruit of the Spirit grow naturally in our lives.
5 Read 2 Corinthians 3:18. How can we most effectively cooperate with God in allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our thoughts?
It is a law of the mind that our minds gradually adapt themselves to that on which they dwell. The more we fill our mind with heavenly themes the more heavenly minded we will be. The more we fill our minds with earthly themes the more earthly minded we will be. Reflect for a few moments on this truth in Colossians 3:1-4.
6Read Philippians 4:7. What counsel does the Holy Spirit give us through the apostle Paul to safeguard our thinking process?
Just as screens on the windows of our homes protect us from flies and mosquitos, God’s screen in Philippians of honesty, purity, nobility, loveliness, and truth protects us from the invasion of the evil one.
7Read Ezekiel 11:19 and Hebrews 8:10. What promises of life-changing, thought-transforming power does the Bible give us?
If we consent, our Lord will do for us what we can never do for ourselves. As we submit our thoughts to Him, He will transform our thinking. Through His Holy Spirit, He will write the principles of His law in our hearts and minds so deeply that our deepest desire will be to please Him in everything we think and do.