Learning how to think like a Christian


by Richard Mansel

In the transformation process, we use what God has given us to develop a spiritual mindset (Romans 12:1-2). A large part of this is learning how to think properly.

All we once knew must be filtered through a new perspective. A heavenly view of the world comes only through a humble and diligent study of Scripture. The flesh is a liar and all its fruit must be thrown away.

Human thought fails when we act instinctually instead of spiritually and intellectually. God gave humans an advanced intellect for a reason.

The weak-minded lump half-baked ideas and biases together and leap into action. The strong hesitate and analyze. We take what God taught us and treat ideas as God recommends.

The humble, spiritual person will take the time to learn and listen (Luke 8:18). We must slow down and take a measured approach because words and ideas have eternal consequences (Romans 10:17).

John Stott describes the process of breaking down a passage for a sermon as cracking it open with a golden hammer and examining the individual pieces before putting it back together again. His exemplary point is also true of ideas.

Each idea comes with a match, some smaller and some larger. In the proper brush, they can start a fire very easily. As Christians, we should want to be positive influences. That means we must be careful how we handle information and ideas.

First, this process requires that we gain control over our emotions because anger sabotages higher thought (James 3:1-6). Our spiritual minds must take precedence over the emotional.

Second, this process requires that we learn as much as we can about human nature so we can know how to help them find Christ (Matthew 28:18-20; 1 Peter 3:15).

Third, this process requires that we realize that higher thought comes from nuance. The lazy mind allows insecurities and emotion to outdistance wisdom and logic. We lump everyone and everything together and create a mass of faulty conclusions and hurt feelings.

In John 15, Jesus tells the Apostles that the world hates them but they shouldn’t take that personally. He asks them to move past their fleshly instincts and realize that the world hates them because they hated Jesus before the Apostles came along (John 15:18-24).

Our emotions cry out, “People hate the Bible!” or “People hate Jesus!” and we dismiss everyone with a wave of the hand.

Taking that idea apart, we realize that people do not hate Jesus or the Bible. That’s too simplistic. If God, Jesus and the Bible didn’t demand that we live by a moral standard or make eternal decisions, people would find the Bible and God harmless.

They hate being told that their thinking and lifestyles need to be changed.

The flesh and the spiritual are diametrically opposed so we should never be surprised that their thinking differs as well. When we learn to think properly, we surge ahead of our peers and begin to think like God desires.

Faulty thinking means that we always see the world in an overly simplistic way. When we learn to think properly, we break things down and realize that problems are often easier to fix than we previously realized. In fact, it was our thinking that was broken all along.

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