Attitudes and The Covenant
For the past few months we have centered our teachings on the various aspects of the blood covenant. In this issue we will be discussing the role played by an individual’s “attitude” towards a covenant. By attitude I mean, a person’s mental position in regard to the covenant.
We often find that people who are born-again desire to live in the spirit so much that they ignore their minds. However, the Word tells us that our mind is a necessary part of our spiritual life. For example, 1 Corinthians 14:15, says, . . . I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
To “will to do something” requires using our minds to make a decision. Look at it another way, if a person’s will were not essential in getting born again, witnessing would be easy. All we would have to do is stand on a street corner and read the Word. The Word would go right into a person’s spirit, and he would be born again, whether he wanted to be or not.
We know though that Jesus does not force anything on us and, thus, we are able to choose whether or not we want to accept Him.
It is a biblical principle that everything produces after its own kind. For example, when you were born into this earthly life, your body was born of your parents. However, when you were born-again, you were born of the Spirit, for God is called the Father of Spirits. This means that when you were born of the Spirit, your physical man remained the same, but your inner man changed.
Furthermore, when you were born again, your mind did not change, only your spirit changed. Therefore, you need to reshape your thinking so that your mind can shift from the physical way of life to the spiritual way of life. This is essential since the mind is where battles take place. Satan cannot get into our reborn spirits, but he can neutralize the effectiveness of our spirits by getting our minds on other things. He will attack the mind in an attempt to get it off the covenant God has with us.
Psalm 103, tells us of the many benefits available to those who have a covenant with God, but it is interesting to note that before David lists these benefits, he admonishes himself in verses one and two, Bless the Lord, O my soul: (notice that he did not say, “my spirit”) and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his benefits.
We are told to forget not all God’s benefits. The act of remembering involves using the mind, and in this case, the remembering becomes a way of life. It is a lifetime proposition, which requires a commitment on the part of the believer. In fact, just learning of God’s benefits takes time. It is naive to think that you can grab your Bible and after a few days be a spiritual giant.
For instance, when we talk of prosperity and healing, we are not saying to read the Word only until you are healed or until your finances are straightened out and then put it down.
Rather, as you learn of God’s blessings, and walk in them, and realize that they get better every day, you should want to pick up God’s covenant, the Word, and find out what more of the benefits are. Then, you should go on and renew your mind so that you can view things as God does.
There is more than our human viewpoint or attitude toward any given situation in life. There is also God’s viewpoint. We find an example of man’s view and God’s view in Isaiah 55:7-9:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
God tells us that His thoughts and His ways are higher than man’s. Although we will never get to God’s level concerning some things, verse ten tells us, For as the rain cometh down, . . . God’s thoughts come raining down upon each of us.
The . . . snow from heaven . . . also comes down (vs. 10). Snow falls one flake at a time. Likewise, He doesn’t overwhelm our brains by giving us all His thoughts at one time. Instead, He sends us one exceeding great and precious promise at a time – one by one – so that we can remember them and grow in the knowledge of Him.
As Isaiah 55:10, goes on to say, the rain and the snow, . . . returneth not thither, (heaven) but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater. God does not send His Word to us only to pull it back. Nor does He dangle His thoughts in front of us only to snatch them away. Rather, the purpose of the water is to remain with us and to saturate us.
When we talk about God’s thoughts, we are referring to His Word, and learning God’s Word or His thoughts helps us in the situations we face in our daily lives. As we view these situations, we can approach them with either man’s attitude or God’s. If we speak God’s words over a situation, we will be facing it as God would which is far greater than anything we could do in the natural.
Ephesians 4:17-18, tells us more about man’s viewpoint. Although it may not seem so, these verses are addressed to believers.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.
Since it is possible for believers to walk as sinners, Paul is telling them not to walk in the vanity (emptiness) of their minds as unbelievers do.
This same use of the word “mind” is found in Ecclesiastes when Solomon began bringing Gentile gods into his house. When he started to worship them, his mind became corrupted. He turned away from the benefits God had given him and he began speaking contrary to the way God speaks.
Ephesians 4:18, tells of having the understanding darkened. The Greek actually means, the faculty for thinking. In other words, their thinking has been darkened. This same idea is found in 2 Corinthians 4:4: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them.
When the gospel is preached to an unbeliever, his mind, not his spirit, is illuminated first. As he begins to understand what is being talked about, his will then opens up and that is the doorway for the light of the glory of the gospel to go down and recreate the man’s spirit and turn it into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The origin of all human thinking is satan. When man was put into the Garden, he had a great mind. He could name all the animals and remember them. Why? Because his spirit was created. There was nothing of satan’s nature in him. But what happened? Satan corrupted Eve’s mind. He got her to think another way – his way – which is different from God’s way. She had God’s mind, but she entertained satan’s thoughts so much that she disobeyed God and caused Adam to disobey, also. Suddenly their minds were blinded to the glorious liberty of God, to the light of the gospel of God, and spiritual darkness entered into them. This same thing is wrong with man- kind today; people’s minds are blinded to the Word. They can’t think God’s viewpoints because they are alienated from God.
However, we as believers have the nature of God in us and we have His exceeding great and precious promises. We have the covenant and benefits of God. He has rained them down on us so that we can receive His blessings. We need to saturate our minds with His Word and change our viewpoints or attitudes about life.
1 Corinthians 2:16 tells us, But we have the mind of Christ. What is the mind of Christ? The Word is. Of all the Bibles we have, none is THE Bible. They all are only copies of THE Bible. The original Bible is THE MIND OF CHRIST. You can burn copies of the book, but you can’t burn THE Book. Many nations have tried to get rid of the Bible, but they can’t do it because they can’t destroy the mind of Christ!
God wants us to think His thoughts and His ways. He wants us to become like Him. Through the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s revelation becomes ours. By praying in the Spirit and meditating on His Word, that revelation will burst forth inside of us and we can begin to understand the way the Lord thinks.
The Word not only tells us how God thinks and gives us the mind of Christ, it helps us to know the difference between man’s thinking and God’s thinking. Some- times we hear two voices that tell us how to handle a given situation and we need to know which is the right voice. The one that is backed by the Word is the voice to which we need to listen.
According to Hebrews 4:12, “the Word” . . . is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. There is no such natural sword on this earth. Men have swords that are sharp, but all they can do is cut through natural material. God has a sword that will actually go down and divide the invisible part of you, soul from spirit, or, man’s view- points from God’s viewpoints.
Psalm 139:23, says, Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. God wants us to lay our thoughts before Him because as Proverbs 23:7 says, as a man. . . thinketh in his heart, so is he . . . We want our very thought to line up with the Word of God. Outward actions mean nothing to the Lord, it’s the inward thought, the intentions of the heart, that matter. You can fake things before men with your outward actions, but the Bible tells us in I Samuel 16:7b, that while man looks on the outward appearance, God looks on the heart. This is why we want even our thoughts to be right before him.
In the twelfth chapter of Romans, Paul talks about some attitudes. These same attitudes prevail today.
Let’s look at what is meant by a “worldly attitude.” Some think it is how you dress, where you go, whether you go to church or not. However, worldliness is not an outward action; it is an inward attitude. Romans 12:1-2, tell us about this attitude.
I Beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
These verses are speaking to believers, not sinners. Sinners are already con- formed to this world, but when you are born again, it is up to you to not be con- formed to this world. Worldliness is not what you do; it is what you think. You can go to church and praise God and yet still be worldly. Bodily you may not be there but intellectually you “check out” when the message begins. Instead, you plan what you are going to do when church gets over, or what you will do at work tomorrow. However, no one sitting beside you would know you are worldly. They see only your outer man, not your inner thoughts. The irony of this situation is that if you stayed home and made plans for the next day instead of coming to church, we would all say you were worldly.
Col. 3:1-2, tell us, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. How do we seek those things? Seeking God is not beating on the floor and begging God to do something. Seeking God means meditating on His Word.
We are told in Isaiah 26:3 that God will, . . . keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee. . . The Hebrew gives a double emphasis to the word peace and actually says, “peace peace” to point out that God’s peace is nothing like what man considers to be peace.
Phil. 4:7, repeats this idea, And the peace of God, [not man] which passeth all understanding, [perfect peace cannot be explained by man] shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:8, tells us what to think about in order to stay in perfect peace. Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Stability is another thing we need to consider because people are always looking for it. The “sound mind” referred to in II Timothy 1:7, actually means a stable mind. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. We need stability in our thoughts.
II Thess. 2:2, encourages us, . . . be not soon shaken in mind, . . . The mind is where we can be shaken. The Holy Spirit within us cannot be shaken, but when your mind gets shaken, it makes your spirit ineffective. Then, your spirit can’t control you or bring you the thoughts of God and the actions of God. His ways can’t be your ways and His thoughts can’t be your thoughts because your mind is not stable. But, when your mind is peaceful, you are peaceful, worldliness is gone, and you are meditating on the thoughts of God. Your mind becomes renewed to the works of God and you forget not His benefits.
Now let’s look at love. Deut. 6:5, tells us, And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. The New Testament says to love with all your MIND, and all your strength. This strength is inward. Your strength is manifested as you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
First Cor. 13:5, in speaking of charity, or love, says that love thinks no evil. Love starts long before it is an outward experience. It begins as an attitude of the heart.
What happens when you walk in the love of God? When you become stable? When your mind is renewed to the Word of God? You become strong and effective against the devil. Then the Word shows you the difference between the thoughts and intents of your heart, between the world’s viewpoint and God’s viewpoint.
Second Cor. 10:3, tells us that we walk in the flesh. We face fleshly problems; the same problems sinners face. Sinners have problems balancing their checkbooks and so do we. The same marital problems they have, we have. Christians and sinners face job problems. However, we don’t face these problems the way the world does. . . . We do not war after the flesh: (2 Cor. 10:3b). We know that the source of all problems is not fleshly, it is spiritual. We can attack problems at the roots, at the very source of the problem, because we can attack satan.
Furthermore, according to 2 Cor. 10:4, . . . the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, [We don’t fight the devil with guns and knives] but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Satan is strong, but we are stronger.
In the book of Joshua we read of how the Israelite army attacked cities and completely destroyed their walls. The walls were a city’s stronghold, and when they came down, the city was defeated. Although we fight spiritual warfare, it is just as real as if we were in a physical war because we are fighting against satan and his strongholds.
Verse five of 2 Corinthians 10, tells us what these strongholds are. One strong- hold we are told to cast down is “imaginations.” The Greek for this is “reasonings.” It is typical for a person who is new to the message of faith to try to rationalize his problems. But, you can’t figure out with your human mind how faith works.
For example, if you have stepped out in faith and are believing God for $1,000, the devil will attempt to get you to try to figure out who is going to give it to you. Maybe you reason that it is going to come in the mailbox, so you go to the mailbox day after day and it’s not there. Then you decide that it will come from one of your friends. So when you see them and they have their money out, you get closer to them. You even begin to “help” God by telling them, “Did you know I am believing God for $1,000?” You may reason that God can- not work unless you tell somebody. We need to cast down the human reasoning because it will become a barrier to our faith. It will become a stronghold that will keep us from operating in faith.
Let’s look at 2 Cor. 10:5 in its entirety, Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
Here we find that we are to cast down “every high thing”, in other words pride. Reasoning and pride are attitudes that will stop the blessings of God because they exalt themselves against the knowledge of God.
Lastly, according to verse five, we are to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Since we are soldiers in a spiritual battle, we can take prisoners of war. Wouldn’t it be good to walk before Jesus and say, “Look at all the POW’s I brought home with me. Here is reasoning, pride, human viewpoint, here is what so and so said to do; but I brought it all into obedience to Your Word Lord. I have broken down the strongholds and I have defeated satan and I tell you what, God, it is just you and I all the way. I don’t care if anybody goes with me Lord, I’m going your way. I am following your Word!”
Copyright 2003 by Bob Yandian Ministries.