Whether we realize it or not, many of our not-so-good thoughts, words, and actions are driven by everything we’ve absorbed throughout a lifetime, but to embrace the Christian life, we must turn off this autopilot and think anew.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
– James 1:22
We do a lot of things in life without questioning why we do them. These are things we have picked up over a lifetime of influence starting with our parents, our teachers, our friends, coworkers, acquaintances and people we encounter. It also includes the things we read, watch and hear, from mainstream media, books, movies, music and more.
The truth is that a lot of these things are so ingrained in us that they are automatic – we react on autopilot. And we’ve been so desensitized that we don’t realize how harmful a lot of our thinking, words or actions actually are.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
But if we took the time to stop and fully examine all of our thoughts, words and actions we might find that some of these aren’t useful. Some of the opinions we hold were ingrained in us by others. It is good to challenge such things and see if we still believe in them.
We also do many things by mimicking those around us, following the herd. But that doesn’t always make them right. In fact, a lot of what the whole world seems to engage in aren’t very good things at all.
“Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
–1 John 4:8
The teachings of the Bible and Jesus Christ are rooted in love and positivity.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Christian thinking starts there.
“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.”
The first step toward change and being the positive person that we want to be starts with questioning and thoroughly examining ourselves. This is what we must do to be able to turn off our autopilot and make sound, well thought out decisions, rather than automatic ones. That’s how you begin to create a new mindset and one based on putting positivity and the love of others first.
“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.”
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
–2 Corinthians 5:17
The dictionary definition of anew says: “In a new or different and typically more positive way.”
That is a perfect way to describe the way one needs to think once they become Christian.
This is where the term “born again” comes into play. We need to renew ourselves to the point that we cast away a lot of our old, pre-Christian life to the point that we are virtually “born again.” We are “born from above” with the influence of a new, heavenly, Holy Spirit. We see the world through fresh, new eyes. As if we are a new person. And we are.
“Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
– John 3:3
Without being born again with faith in God and absorbing the loving teachings of Jesus, one is not equipped to perceive the realm of heaven, nor can have the spiritual thinking to be redeemed from a sinful mind to receive God’s grace to enter heaven. It requires a big-picture, spiritual-based thinking over a materialistic and worldly mindset.
Flesh is temporary and dies. Spirit is eternal.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”