People that overthink…

When that one person says: “Can I ask you something?” My immediate reply says “go for it,” but my mind has already gone through the seven stages of grief.

I need to stop imagining scenarios in my head that have a -2% chance of happening…it’s become a problem.

My therapist says I overthink everything, so that’s given me a lot to think about.

I’m very laid back: I only care about 2 things: every person on earth and their opinion of me

 Introduction: What does God, through His Word, say about our minds?

Slide:

  • Willing Mind
  • Examined Mind
  • Stayed Mind
  • Renewed Mind
  • Mind that loves God
  • Guarded Mind
  • Heavenly Mind

 

We need a “Willing Mind”1 Chronicles 28:9 As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.

David actually requested from God an “Examined Mind”Psalm 26:2 examine me, O LORD, and prove me; Try my mind and my heart.

Through the Prophet Isaiah God gives this promise about a “Stayed Mind”Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

Paul writes to the church about having a a “Renewed Mind”Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Jesus makes it clear that we should have a “Mind That Loves God”Mark 12:30 ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.

Paul speaks to the church in Philippi about God’s peace giving us a “Guarded Mind”Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

And Paul makes it clear that we are to have a “Heavenly Mind”Colossians 3:2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Why does the Bible speak so much about the mind? We are in a battle.

In 1965, Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote a book about it called The Invisible War. It is the battle for your mind, and that battle is vicious. It is intense. It is unrelenting, and it is unfair because Satan never plays fair. And the reason why it is so intense is that your greatest asset is your mind.

(Excerpted from Rick Warren Study… 1 & 2)

  • Destroying Strongholds

So one of the most important things we need to learn and teach others is how to guard, strengthen, and renew our minds, because the battle for sin always starts in the mind.

There are many passages in Scripture that we could look at but lets focus in on one, 2 Corinthians 10:3–5 (screen):

Though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh [in other words, we don’t fight with armor, we don’t fight with politics, we don’t fight with money, we don’t fight with all the humanistic ways]. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

The apostle Paul says here that our job in this battle is to “destroy strongholds.” You know what a stronghold is? It is a mental block. Satan works at setting mental blocks against the knowledge of God. A stronghold can be one of two things:

  • It can be a worldview, such as materialism, hedonism, Darwinism, secularism, relativism, communism, atheism. All of the different –isms are mental strongholds that people set up against the knowledge of God.
  • A stronghold can also be a personal attitude. Worry can be a stronghold. Seeking the approval of other people can be a stronghold. Anything that you make an idol in your life can be a stronghold — fear, guilt, resentment, insecurity. All of these things can be strongholds in your mind. And the Bible says that we are to tear them down.

Screen: Now let’s look at the very last phrase in the passage: “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” Take captive every thought. The Greek word aichmaløtizø there means “to control, to conquer, to bring into submission.” We take captive. We make it submit. Every thought obedient to Christ. Make it obedient. Hupakøe means “to bring into submission, to bring under control.”

But how do you do that? And how do you teach other people to do that? How do we  make our mind mind? I have noticed that my mind doesn’t always mind. It is often disobedient. It is often very rebellious. It wants to go in a different direction. When I want to think a certain way, it wants to go another way. When I need to ponder, it wants to wander. When I need to pray, my thoughts want to float away.

“The battle for sin always starts in the mind.”

We naturally feel that if we think something, it must be true because it comes from within us (just like everything we google must be true). But just because you think something does not make it true. So many different suggestions can come into the mind. The world puts suggestions in our minds that are false, and we are bombarded with those false ideas all the time.

And, of course, Satan makes suggestions all the time. But your problem is much deeper than Satan. We all have an illness that impacts our minds. It’s called sin. And the Bible uses at least a dozen different phrases for the condition of our minds under sin. Our minds are:

The Bible talks about (screen):

2) Guard Your Mind from Garbage

The second thing to learn in this battle for the mind is guarding your mind from garbage. The old cliché from the early days of the computer — GIGO, garbage in/garbage out — is still true today. If you put bad data into a computer, you will get bad results out. If you put mental garbage into your mind, you will get garbage out in your life.

Proverbs 15:14: “A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash” (NLT). That might be a good verse to write on a Post-it note and stick on your television. And remember that the next time you think about going to a movie.

Any nutritionist will tell you that there are three kinds of food for your physical body. There is brain food that makes you smarter (food that actually makes you smarter!). There is junk food, which is simple calories — it’s not poison, but it’s just empty calories. And then there are toxic foods, which are poison.

The same is true in what you see, what you hear, and what you allow into your mind. Some food is brain food. It will make you smarter, more godly, and more mature emotionally. Then there is junk food. There is so much you can fill your mind with that really is just stuffing. It is neither good nor bad, as 1 Corinthians 6:12 says, lawful but not helpful.

In other words, some things aren’t necessarily wrong, but they aren’t necessary. The Bible tells us to fill our minds with the right things. If you want to be healthy and “successful” in the Christian life and in ministering to others, successful in your ministry, fix your mind on the right things.

By the way, some people say, “God hasn’t called me to be successful. He’s called me to be faithful.” That’s just not true. The Bible says God expects not only faithfulness but also fruitfulness. Trace it through Scriptures. “I chose you . . . that you should go and bear fruit” (John 15:16). Jesus cursed a fig tree because it didn’t bear fruit (Matthew 21:19) — that’s how important fruitfulness is. Faithfulness is only half the equation. God expects fruitfulness as well.

“Put mental garbage into your mind and you will get garbage out of your life.” (Warren excerpt concluded)

So in this battle of destroying strongholds and taking every thought captive we need the best example of all time. We need…

A Mind That is Like that of Jesus…Philippians 2:5 (screen) “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”

What does it mean to say Jesus is the Lord of my mind?

The phrase “mind of Christ” or “mind of the Lord” comes from Isaiah 40:13, “Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor?” The verse is quoted in the New Testament as well. 1 Corinthians 2:16 says, “‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.”

Having the mind of Christ means we “look at life from our Savior’s point of view, having His values and desires in mind. It means to think God’s thoughts and not think as the world thinks.”1 It is a shared perspective of humility, compassion, and dependence on God.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul is contrasting the unbeliever (the natural man) with the believer. When we have the mind of Christ, it is in contrast to the wisdom of man (verses 5-6). It involves wisdom from God, which was once hidden (verse 7) and it cannot be understood by those without the Spirit (verse 14). When we have the mind of Christ, we have discernment in spiritual matters (verse 15).

When believers have the mind of Christ, we understand God’s plan for the world and understand that He wants to bring about His purpose. It doesn’t mean that we are infallible and can start “playing God” in the lives of other people.

The Bible describes several things that Jesus valued. With the mind of Christ, believers should value them as well.

  • A Desire to bring glory to God (John 17: 5)
  • A Longing to provide salvation to sinners (Luke 19: 10)
  • A perspective on humility and obedience (Philippians 2: 5-8)
  • A compassionate heart (Matthew 9: 36)
  • Prayerful dependence on God (Luke 5: 16)

How Do We Develop the Mind of Christ?

 

1 Corinthians 2: 10-12…

 

The mind of Christ is given to believers through the Holy Spirit.

  • The Holy Spirit

 

So, in order to have the mind of Christ, a person must first have the Holy Spirit. This comes with saving faith in Christ. Romans 8:9 says, “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” After salvation, a believer’s responsibility is to yield to the Holy Spirit’s leading and let the Spirit transform his life.

 

Faith in Action: Keep a check on your mind this week.  Stop and think about what you are thinking. What kinds of things are you allowing to impact your mind? Isaiah 26: 3…