Retraining the mind to move toward being a disciple of Christ requires extraordinary focus. We must learn not to think in negative patterns, not to hold on to bitterness, not to live in fear or regret. We must replace those thoughts with a new understanding of our weaknesses. We must also embrace the character of God: His faithfulness, His power and might, His grace and mercy, His love! Just as redirecting a river from its centuries-old path is a monumental task of engineering, so is redirecting our streams of thought that have long flooded our souls. We must learn to follow Christ’s example. Only He has the power and His power leads us to one thing: LOVE!
It may be that our streams of thought have carved valleys that point in the direction of self. Even our seemingly selfless acts may have been done for selfish purposes. That has to change. The renewed mind that the Spirit forms is always Christ-centered; our natural mind must be transformed to be pure in motive. The landscape of our minds must be tilted in an entirely different direction. So perhaps we need a radical reversal of water flow, not merely a slight rearrangement.
How can we learn to recognize selfish thinking? Whenever we hold on to envy, competitiveness, or distaste for another’s personality . . . our newly installed automatic response valve should help us to remember that everyone is a priceless child of God. That does not mean we will instinctively like everything and everyone. It does mean that we must strive to remove that which keeps us away from His Love.
Selfless love goes against society’s measure of success. But so does God’s Spirit. Living in His Spirit and His Love requires a conscious discipline of thinking . . . if we live for Him, we live for His people. As we being our New Ministerial Year, may His Spirit lead you toward discipleship.