Scripture Passage: Romans 12:2 (NLT)
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Many years ago we cut the cable TV. Over the years we noticed a significant degrading of TV programs, commercials, even the news as more sex, violence, gore, witchcraft, and mind-numbing content took over the airwaves captivating our thoughts, feelings, perspective, conversations, and decisions. It was a difficult decision and was so hard to wean off of but one of the best decisions we have ever made. Recently we moved and are staying in a furnished rental that includes cable TV. The kids were thrilled and of course begged to watch TV. I reluctantly agreed and one night we watched America’s Got Talent where I saw an act that absolutely impressed me and also convicted me to write this post to warn my church family.
Max Major is an awesome mentalist, magician, and entertainer. Not only is he skilled, accurate, perceptive, and clever but he is also charming, convincing, articulate, and down to earth. Max has learned to masterfully read and understand humans so that he can manipulate the perception, thoughts, and feelings of others to convince them of a reality that may not be true. He also shares how he does this and how easy it is to get people to do, think, or act a certain way. Take a look at the video and you’ll see what I mean. The most alarming part for me is how easily people can be influenced and manipulated into believing something and acting on it when it is really an idea planted into their mind. Of course these techniques have been around for a long time and are used in advertising, political propaganda, the news, TV shows, music, military tactics etc. It’s all around us and common place and it’s not just contained to “communist” countries, the weak minded, or uneducated people. We’re all subject to it and have fallen into these traps and deceived into ways of thinking.
This is also how the enemy (Satan), the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Ephesians 2:2) deceives us by subtly implanting thoughts in our minds through messages, symbols, and pictures all around us. The Bible warns of a time coming where many will be deceived and even those who believe in Jesus will fall away from the faith. In Matthew 24:4-11 “Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many….. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” In the past as I read these verses I always thought “yeah right, no one can fool me, I’m way too smart to be deceived, I know Jesus and others can’t convince me otherwise”. But as I watch the events of what’s happening around the world, the intentional stirring up of emotions and provoking people to sometimes irrational action, and the increase in very pointed messages all around us, I realize just how clever the enemy really is and how easy it is to be deceived even for the Christ following believer.
That is why the Bible tells us to always pay attention to what is going on in our hearts and in our minds. Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to “guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life (NLT)” and Romans 12:2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” So how exactly do you let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think and prevent being deceived? As our good Father God always gives good gifts to protect and provide for us. Here are 4 gifts from God that you can choose to receive daily that will help you open your eyes to the truth, renew your mind, and guide your actions towards His will.
1. Know God’s Word: The Bible is the Word of God that contains truth, wisdom, and guidance on how to see, feel, think about and act in situations. I can always trust that God’s Word and His promises are true, ever-lasting and reliable. When I’m in doubt or have questions I can always find the truth and the way in God’s Word.
2. Tell God: You can go to God anytime, anywhere, any place and share your feelings and thoughts no matter how horrible or sad, and He is always there to listen to you, comfort you, and share in what you are going through. King David did it all the time as seen in the Psalms. God already knows what you are thinking, feeling, and struggling with so why not just go to Him and tell Him. You have direct access to Father God through Jesus Christ but do you access that privilege daily?
3. Share in Christian Community: Family is at the core of God’s heart and as a believer you are part of God’s family where we share in each other’s struggles, burdens, joys as well as encourage and sharpen each other (Proverbs 27:17). Being in community with other godly brothers and sisters in Christ is a true gift and will help keep you in right relationship with God and others. Do you have 1-2 mature brothers or sisters in Christ that will listen to you and remind you of God’s truths?
4. Ask the Holy Spirit to Guide You: God has given His spirit, Holy Spirit, to all believers of Jesus and He lives inside of you, guides you, reveals truth, advocates for you, and comforts you. What is an area that you have doubts or concerns in that you want to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to you? Will you learn how to listen to Him?
Pick one gift from the list above that the Lord has given you that you want to open this week and learn to use so that you continue to renew your mind, guard your heart, and move in God’s truth and will.