Q&A Introduction to the Topic

Thoughts about Thinking

Q The mind of a believer is obviously an important part of the spiritual battle going on in the world – what thoughts do you have on the danger of being conformed to this world?

A I believe it’s a matter of relationship – Jesus said, if you love me, keep my commandments and James warned us that friendship with the world is enmity with God, Jas. 4. 4. Can I suggest four questions we could ask ourselves?

1. Who are we trying to please?

2. Where, or with whom, do we find truth?

3. What/who fills our vision?

4. Who do we spend the most time with?

How we answer these questions will demonstrate our mindset, and whether it is worldly or not. Do remember that Satan is sometimes blunt in his attacks, but he more often takes a subtle approach. As we live in a worldly culture, it is very easy to be moulded by it without realizing it’s happening.

Q Did you have anything particular in mind?

A I’ve been pondering the dangers of four things recently, which, I think, link with those questions I have just asked: consumerism, multiculturalism, the visual media, and modern communications. The articles, which will follow in later issues of YPS will address these issues. Let me answer the four questions we need to ask ourselves.

Q Who are we trying to please?

A A consumer culture is trying to please the consumer, and the consumer expects to be pleased! This is great in one way, because it leads to greater availability, wider choice, and better prices of goods, but even this can provide a danger for the believer. One study shows1 the average child in the United States sees 40,000 adverts in a year! Is there not the risk that our minds become taken up with things that the Lord told us not to worry about – the temporal things of life, Matt. 6. 30-34? If we think that we can ‘pick ‘n’ mix’ to suit ourselves on the practical issues of life, the greater danger is that we will, or have we already begun, to transfer this thinking to moral and spiritual issues? Am I free, for example, to wander the aisles of churches just as I would a supermarket until I find the one that just suits me? If Jesus really is Lord, then pleasing Him is part of the transformation of the mind Paul speaks of, Rom 12. 2, in contrast to conformity to a world that exalts self to the top slot?

Q Where, or with whom, do we find truth?

A It seems that, in increasingly multicultural societies, the only truth is that there is no truth. Everything must be given approval and anything can be redefined. The pressure, along with the potential to keep our faith private, is increasing. However, if we love the One who said, ‘I am the truth’, we will respond to the command to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Will our minds bow to the world’s pressure to be ‘tolerant’, in the way tolerance is now defined, or to the Christ who said, ‘I have overcome the world’, John 16. 33?

Q What/Who fills our vision?

A The apostle John tells us that part of the essence of worldliness is the ‘lust of the eyes’, 1 John 2. 16. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. We need to remember the type of minds and imaginations from which most of these pictures come from, i.e., carnal minds, which are enmity against God. How easy it is for an image to enter our imagination without being filtered by reason and, is it possible, that our morality is softened through regular exposure to the world’s morals? A recent series of a popular ‘family’ TV show provoked a response from viewers2 who were unhappy that there was a brief kiss between two female characters. No words, but one brief image that entered the minds of thousands of youngsters! Does this bring general acceptance that a multitude of arguments or words will struggle to dislodge? Where should our eye be? ‘Looking unto Jesus’ is the exhortation of scripture. Modern communication methods and technology are incredible, and have vast positive possibilities for both evangelism and Bible study, but are we communicating with and knowing God as we should? Is that next tweet, email, post more interesting than ‘the word’ that the living God provided, or our response in prayer? Do we follow the multitude of links on any given subject to an ever-increasing knowledge about it, but not of God? In the rapid responses that we expect and give, is there a danger that this mindset flows over into our study and expectations in prayer? Surely the Alpha and Omega cannot be reduced to a mere sound bite, and if the Word is eternal He is going to take some time to get to know! In seeking a sound mind, we will benefit from regularly shutting out this world’s 24/7 culture of communication and information to find ourselves alone with the Omniscient.

Q Who do we spend the most time with?

A We are told that ‘who you know’ is more important than ‘what you know’. We tend to become like the people we spend time with. So, to truly have the mind of Christ, our goal should be to know Him. To know Him we will have to be with Him. As you said in your original question, this is a spiritual battle, one in which we need to strive to bring every thought into captivity to Christ, but it will be worth it; to be able to love the Lord our God with … all our mind.

To be continued…

Endnotes

1

S. Clavert, Children as Consumers: Marketing and Advertising, Spring, 2008.

2

Ofcom – complaints about the first in the 2014 Dr Who Series. Interestingly, the final episode produced a far higher response after reference to the dead being conscious. Perhaps an indication of the fear man has that death is perhaps not the final word!

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