To Be Spiritually Minded: The Essence Of Christianity

The state of our hearts, what we think about, is of supreme importance. We all carry on conversations with ourselves, often involving us imagining certain situations and how we would speak or act to a person. The intended result of all our trials and experiences, of our belief in all the true Bible doctrines which comprise the good news, is that we should become spiritually minded. This is the end result of believing; membership of a denomination, Bible reading, believing the right doctrines… all these things are only means to an end, and that end is to develop the mind of Christ, to “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). The wicked will be rejected for the state of their hearts, rather than their specific actions; hence God’s summary of why He rejected the wilderness generation was that “It is a people that do err in their heart” (Psalms 95:10). Similarly, God could have condemned Babylon for a whole host of sinful actions; but His essential, repeated reason was because of how they spoke in their hearts (Isaiah 47:10; Zephaniah 2:15; Revelation 18:17). And He gave the same reason for His condemnation of Tyre (Ezekiel 28:2) and Edom (Obadiah 1:3). The more we come to know ourselves, the more we will perceive the importance of self-talk. I take Ecclesiastes to be Solomon’s self-examination at the end of his life. Five times in this short book he describes how “I said in my heart…” (Ecclesiastes 2:1,15 [twice]; 3:17,18). As he looked back and analyzed how and why he had lived and been as he had, he appreciated that it was all a result of his self-talk, how he had spoken to himself in his mind. His introspection reveals just how we talk to ourselves—e.g. “I said in my heart, ‘Go on now, I will prove you with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure’” (Ecclesiastes 2:1). We all talk to ourselves; and the records of the Lord’s wilderness temptations are an amazing psychological window into the self-talk of God’s very own son. As we know, He answered every temptation that arose within His self-talk with quotations from Scripture. He lived out in reality David’s words: “Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin” (Psalms 119:11—cp. how God’s word was in the heart of men like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Jeremiah 20:9; Ezekiel 3:10). This, then, is the ultimate fruit of familiarity with Scripture, of the “daily reading of the Bible” which has been the catch-cry of every serious Christian community.

We need to let passages like Ephesians 5:3-5 have their full weight with us. Fornication, covetousness, all uncleannes should not be “named amongst us”, in the same way Israel were not to take even the names of the Gentile idols onto their lips (Exodus 23:13)—“but rather giving of thanks”, knowing that those who do such things will not be in the Kingdom of God. A thankful attitude, thinking and speaking of those things with which we will eternally have to do, is to replace thinking and talking about all the things which shall not be our eternal sphere of thought in the Kingdom age. And yet our generation faces the temptation like none before it—to privately watch and read of those things, vicariously involved in them, whilst being under the illusion that we’re not actually doing them ourselves. For this is what the entertainment industry is based around.

There’s a strange juxtaposition of ideas in Jeremiah 4:12-14. Jeremiah promises that Yahweh’s horrendous judgments will come upon His people, through chariots, clouds and whirlwind. But for what? Because of the wickedness of Judah’s heart/mind. No other God, no penal code, would stipulate such extreme judgments ‘merely’ for an internal attitude of mind. The pinnacle of Judah’s sin was that “it reaches unto your heart” (Jeremiah 4:18). This is all how seriously God views the state of the human heart.

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Author: Duncan Heaster

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Bible reference(s): Genesis 17:17, Exodus 23:5, Deuteronomy 15:9, 1 Samuel 27:1, 1 Samuel 27:1, 2 Kings 5:20, 1 Kings 12:26, Esther 6:6, Psalms 36:1 , Psalms 95:10, Proverbs 4:23, Proverbs 23:7, Esther 7:5, Ecclesiastes 2:1, Ecclesiastes 2:3, Ecclesiastes 3:17, Ecclesiastes 3:18, Ecclesiastes 7:25, Ecclesiastes 8:16, 1 Corinthians 4:5, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:23, Philippians 2:5, Hebrews 4:12, Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:13, Luke 4:2-5, Luke 4:13

Source: “The Real Devil A Biblical Exploration.”

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