It’s amazing how thoughts can limit us!
Thoughts are things. Sometimes they are HUGE things that stand in the way of fulfilling God’s destiny in our lives!
I have been ruminating over a recent conversation with another minister regarding how long-term religious thinking can limit our vision for His kingdom and our part to play. There are times when our patterns of thought or beliefs actually block us from “seeing” God’s opportunities.
We see this in Jesus interaction with a group of pharisees in his day. In John 5:39-40 we see this dialogue:
(Jesus) You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (emphasis added)
The religious devotees of Jesus’ day THOUGHT that it was in the searching, i.e knowledge of the scriptures, that they would experience eternal life. Yet Jesus states the very thing you are searching speaks of me – but they missed Him! Jesus did not fit their thought pattern of what the messiah should be — so they refused to acknowledge Him.
Just like the pharisees, we can have certain engrained patters of thought that keep us occupied in activities of a religious life, yet they obstruct our view of God’s plans for our lives! In many cases, these thoughts are so engrained in our persona, we do not realize them until someone comes along and challenges them. A simple “Why….Why do you see it that way?’ can start a cascade of illumination of their origins and limitations they have created in our lives.
Jesus’ First Message
Jesus’ first message was a challenge to the religious thinking of his day. He stated: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt4:17). I believe, at least in my 33 years of “church” experience, that we have missed the true depth and power of this text. For years I have heard repentance referred to as a godly sorrow and a decision to turn from my sinful ways. While I believe this is a part, there is more depth here that allows us to live in a powerful, kingdom demonstrating manner.
The key is to understand the term repentance.
The Greek for “repent” is metanoéō, it is from two words that mean: “changed after being with” and “think.” Thus metanoéō means – properly, “think differently after,” “after a change of mind“; to repent (literally, “think differently afterwards”). 1
Repentance literally means to think different afterwards. After what? After an encounter with Jesus and his kingdom! It means to change our thinking from whatever it used to be, to that of a Kingdom mindset!
Changing Our Thinking
While many can relate this process to our new birth or salvation experience, the reality is — it should be an ongoing process. Between the programing of our upbringing and the religious process we participate in, there are thoughts that have deep hidden roots that can continue to stand in the way. It takes an intentional honesty with ourselves to allow the word of God to challenge us as we read it. When we want to skim that text because we have read it a “million” times and THINK we know what it means: we need to stop and study it out, asking the Lord to reveal to us it’s depth.
We also need to have those in our lives that are challenging us to search and examine our thinking. We need teaching and preaching that does not just fit our religious opinions, but stops us in our tracks and makes us think about what we believe! Only then can change our thinking that removes those obsticals to His destiny for our lives!
Please pass this on to anyone seeking God’s destiny for their lives!
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