Whatever. We throw the word around in many conversations as an answer, to show our indifference, or to represent our apathy. In the Bible, however, the word takes on a significant meaning specifically in Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is right…he’s using “whatever” in its entirety, and it makes all the difference. He goes on to implore the church to think on these true things; in another letter to the Romans he writes on how our minds will be transformed by the renewing of it (Romans 12:2). The emphasis is put on our thoughts, and our minds with the understanding that lives will be changed once our minds and thoughts are aligned with God. Because when Jesus gave His life for us, it was not only the greatest rescue mission of all, but a repair mission as well. He meant to show us how to think, so we might “unlearn” the thoughts and voices contrary to His own. He wanted to save us in body and in mind. Our minds bend towards death and destruction; it’s easy to be negative, and cynical, and hateful. It hardly takes any work for our minds to be hostile towards the things of God. But thinking on truth, righteousness, goodness…being hearers and doers of the Word takes work and practice. And even still, it’s not in our own strength, but the transformative spirit of God that will empower us to have a mind controlled by His spirit.
But why so much emphasis on our minds?
Our minds drive our actions. Our minds determine the outcome. If our bodies can be equated to vehicles, then our minds would be what steers the body wherever it chooses. If our minds are uncontrolled by the Spirit of God, then anything goes. The enemy can tell us anything, media can tell us anything, and our minds will lead our bodies to situations and experiences full of destruction and fear. But, a spirit controlled mind will be full of faith, redeemed and blessed by God leading us on solid ground.
Not only hearing the Word but actually practicing the Word will begin to transform our thinking. Yes, thinking informs action, but action will also inform our thinking. If we choose to act on the principles of God, the action will cultivate the way we think about the principle aligning our minds with the mind of Christ.
Knowing where our thoughts are coming from, and being able to discern which voice is speaking over us will help us know which thoughts to keep, and which ones need tossing. When the enemy tries to speak to us, he will sneakily attempt to lessen us, to cut us down, and force us to question God. But when the voice of truth speaks over us, our thoughts will lift us, and empower us to run towards the light. Even when God corrects us, it will spark us towards change, and closer to Him.
The world continuously encourages us to do anything we feel like doing. Do what feels good to you. If you’re struck, strike back. Look out for you first. But then God comes with His glorious, upside down gospel, and shows us a new way of spirit controlled thinking that leads to spirit controlled life. When we invite His spirit to come into every area of our life-including our thought life-then there are no limits, and no restrictions to what He can do through us.