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A New Mind

• Seth McCoy

God makes amazing promises over the kind of life we can live through the power of the Holy Spirit. This power will flow out of us like a river of living water. But we frequently experience a distance between the kind of full life that God promised and the kind of life we live now, don’t we? So how can the distance of this gap begin to close? Paul tells us, one of the key ways in which we can do this is through the practice of being transformed by the renewing of our mind. The primary place in which The Holy Spirit meets with us is in our minds, and we, through the power of the Spirit, can choose our thoughts, we can set our minds on things that are above.

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God has big promises for the kind of life we can live. Lives of abundance that flow like streams of living water in us and from us and into the world around us. We are promised a life that can flow with hope, peace, joy, trust, rest; all the things of the Kingdom, and this stream of the Holy Spirit will flow to the world around us so that all may experience the promises of God.

But so often we don’t experience this kind of living water. There seems to be a gap between the kind of life God promises and the kind of life we live day to day. When we become aware of this gap, there are several ways in which we, in our own efforts, attempt to close the gap. Some of us will just “try harder”. But it doesn’t take long before we realize our efforts are in vain. Some of us will “pretend” the gap doesn’t exist. Others will entirely change spiritual venues in hopes that the gap will lessen. But that doesn’t work either. Wherever you go, there you are. But what if Jesus meant what he said? What if there was another way to close the gap?

Thank God, there is another way.

The primary place that the Spirit of God meets with us is in our mind. The mind is a ceaseless active stream from which our life flows. We never stop thinking… Every person has certain habits or patterns in which the thoughts flow. The Apostle Paul describes for us the significance of the mind and the direction in which the mind determines our life. In Romans 8, Paul says that the mind is either set on things of the flesh or set on things of the Spirit. The mind that is set on the flesh leads to death, but the mind that is set on the Spirit leads to life. We see two different ways our mind can go. One, the flow of thoughts can lead to life. Or, Two, the flow can lead to death. More than anything else, it is these patterns that determine your life. Sure, you can change your circumstances, but that will not change your life. Why? Again, wherever you go, there you are. Your life happens in your mind. Change your thoughts, change your life. Every thought that we have carries with it an emotional charge. Paul says these thoughts have an emotional and spiritual charge; every thought can lead us to life or to death.

Are your streams of thought leading to life? Or are they toxic?

The natural pattern of a human mind that is not touched by God lead to death. But, the gift of the Holy Spirit means that we’ve been empowered to choose the thoughts to which we will listen, and the thoughts upon which we will dwell.

But how do we know if our thoughts are leading to life or to death? Simply put, if it’s leading toward life, you will experience hope, virtue, truth, growth and love.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to have leadership over our minds. We are not victims to our own mind. We have the power to think about our thinking. There are a few practical ways in which we can begin living out of this power and cultivate new, life-giving patters of thinking. First, we can choose to set our minds on life. In Colossians 3, Paul instructs us to set out minds on things above not on earthly things. One way to do this is through scripture memorization. Second, we can take captive our thoughts to make them obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10). Be aware and stay alert, for the more we set our minds on things above, the more we take captive our thoughts, the more the enemy will seek to destroy our minds. But we don’t need to despair, for we have the power of the Holy Spirit. Third and finally, the mind is a powerful thing and at times it can be challenging to discern our thoughts. Therefore, lean into Christian community. Share your thoughts with your community. We can’t, nor are we designed to, do this alone.

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Topics: Holy Spirit, Hope, Transformation

Sermon Series: God In Us

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Focus Scripture:

  • Romans 8:5-9

    For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you.”

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3 thoughts on “A New Mind

  1. Emily says:

    Hi, is there any chance you can post or make available that amazing video that was shown at church about God’s holiness through the scriptures? I’d love to show it to my kids. And it went really well with the sermon too. Thanks.

    1. Amanda Churchill says:

      Hello Emily! Here is a link for the Facebook page of The Bible Project: https://www.facebook.com/jointhebibleproject You can find the video, ‘Holiness’ there!

  2. Mark Evans says:

    Excellent definition of the kingdom of heaven, “any place where God’s will, heart, and passion flow unhindered and uninterrupted.” (30.10) “The Spirit first and community second”, many of the negative thoughts occur during loneliness. May the Lord help us to be sensitive to the loneliness that we/others experience, even in community.

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