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Posts Tagged ‘battle of the mind’

In Him, that would be Christ, no sin abides. So what does that mean? I love asking such questions, particularly with familiar verses. And what is “sin” really? The Amplified translation gives some extra hints:

I John 3:5b-6
And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who abides in Him [who lives and remains in communion with and in obedience to Him–deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] commits (practices) sin. No one who [habitually] sins has either seen or known Him [recognized, perceived, or understood Him, or has had an experiential acquaintance with Him].
[Amplified]

To be “in Christ,” then is to be in relationship or communion with Christ–it means, having such an intimate knowledge of Christ that I would know what would displease Christ’s Spirit within me. I would recognize what is often called “a check in the Spirit,” that still small voice that says, “not that way, this way,” or “eat this, not that,” or even more simply, “let go of that thought.”

This relationship is nurtured in personal prayer, devotion, worship, and ideally, fellowship with like-minded people who are also “in Christ.”

It’s like being in a swimming pool together: everyone is wet, sharing the water, but we’re all doing different activities, we’re all in various depths. The more experienced ones know how to swim while others merely wade or stand around. Some love it so much, they can swim underwater the whole distance of the pool.

Sin is a buzz word that has gotten a bad rap. I have actually seen people roll their eyes when the word, sin, comes into the conversation. I’m not sure how this has happened. Perhaps it’s the growing relativity of our actions. It’s become more and more difficult to identify sinful behavior. Truly. And I’m not saying I can be the one who draws that particular line in the sand either. Most will say the Bible itself identifies sin, but in a post-modern world, that may not be so black and white. Oh, there are entire groups of people, denominations or sects, or whatever, who believe they have it down, but I’m not so sure anymore. After all, whether we like it or not, there are many modern behaviors and practices that were clearly sin in the past but which society, in general, has embraced (divorce being the most prevalent).

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Bible and all that it has to teach me. And there are some clear parameters that humans have accepted over the test of time: murder, for instance. But few people would acknowledge that coveting (a popular American sport), is truly a sin anymore.

All right, sin is a huge topic and cannot have a full discussion here. But I did want to make one point that I learned from Joyce Meyer, that sin is birthed in the mind (see her series on Battlefield of the Mind). And this is the key to the whole thing.

If I am in deep relationship with the Christ spirit within (in Christ, Christ in me), then the inklings of sin, the desires, the intentions, the motives, the impetuses, will not germinate. That is part of the role of the Holy Spirit, to mirror my thoughts, to cleanse, to reveal the implications, to heal, to winnow the seeds of actions that will harm me and others. Sin usually dies on the vine if it is never watered or fertilized in the mind and heart. Selah.

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A two-part requirement is implicated in the advice of Phil 4:8 — First I must recognize what is true, virtuous and lovely while I consciously decide to “think on these things.” I must choose to move my mind there. And secondly I must put what I know into practice.

Philippians 4:8-9
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

This is one of those core messages from scripture, a bare bones instruction that can be followed and if, I could exercise such a truth, my world would be better.

This lesson is taught in secular circles as well. My daughter struggles with emotional swings that are fueled by her raging thoughts, sometimes from her difficult past before we adopted her and sometimes from her daily struggles. In any event, these mind games steal her sleep, her well-being, and her confidence. The process of moving the mind to another place is a discipline she is trying to learn, but it’s a slow kind of progress, the two steps forward and one step back kind of schlep through life.

But am I any different just because I understand it better? I do a lot of replays in my mind and I find my mind pulling up old scripts all the time. The holidays are often the worst: “Why does Christmas cheer depend on me?” “Why am I always placating everyone else?” “Why do I end up doing all the cooking, wrapping, cleaning, and planning?” “Can’t anyone help me pick up some pieces of the weight of our responsibilities?” “Will we always struggle financially?” “I don’t want to be poor again.”

Every one of these inner questions is laden with stories and history and images that can replay forever, if I allow them to start. They go from some sort of righteous indignation through a variety of pity parties to fear. It’s a sad, downward spiral. These are the gifts of an undisciplined mind.

And so, I must choose to set these thoughts, and others aside for a time when they can be addressed in the safety of my inner counselor, when my connection to Spirit is strong and lush. Not before.

Another trouble begins however if I don’t remember the second part: the practice of what I know. This is the part that supports my inner health so I’m not just putting my mind and my head in the sand forever. It is the practice of what I know that gives me the ability to move my mind both to AND from the harder elements of life on this earth.

Writing and praying and reading, these are three of the key disciplines in my life.

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