” . . . I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts” – Hebrews 8:10
I am convinced that the struggle of the Christian life is to think biblically. I believe every deficiency in my walk of faith is birthed out of failing to see as the Bible sees. Why do I sometimes chase after carnal delights? Because I fail to see God as the inexhaustible source of pleasure that he is. Why am I sometimes paralyzed by fear when I ponder the possibility of future suffering? Because I fail to see God as a loving Father who is committed to working all things for my greatest good. Why do I sometimes lack a sense of urgency to share the gospel with my lost friends? Because I fail to see them as treasonous rebels who, if they refuse to repent, will be righteously crushed by a wrathful God.
I live wrongly because I think wrongly.
I’ve noticed that some Christians tend to minimize the role of the mind in the life of faith. I understand that these folks want to avoid “over-intellectualizing” walking with God and point people instead to the supernatural power available to them in the person of the Holy Spirit. However, I believe it is inaccurate and perhaps even detrimental to disconnect biblical thinking from Spirit-filled living.
We can all agree that there has never been a man more full of the Holy Spirit than Jesus Christ. Let’s take a second to look at how the inconceivable amount of spiritual power within him manifested in the face of temptation.
- When Satan tempted him to break his fast and use his power to turn stones into bread, Jesus said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
- When Satan tempted him to needlessly throw himself in harm’s way in order to provoke the Father to saving action, Jesus said, “Again, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
- When Satan tempted him to commit idolatry in exchange for power and authority, Jesus said, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”
The One in whom all the fullness of deity dwells bodily (Colossians 2:9) lived a faithful, impactful, God-glorying life by thinking biblically. It goes without saying that we should probably follow his lead in this. If we want to live victorious lives of faith in a world that is chock full of faith-opposing forces, we must, as Jesus did, possess a Scripture-saturated perspective of reality.
So, how do we do develop such a perspective? Do we just bury our heads in the Bible until our thinking is in sync with its content? Yes and no.
I consistently read the Bible, but I struggle to consistently see as the Bible sees. When I have the Word open and in front of me, I’m captivated by the God-centered reality it depicts. But after I close it and carry on with my day, my mind often snaps back into this other mode of thinking that is far from God-centered. I’m sure many of you can relate to this sense of disconnectedness. You feel like you live in one reality during your quiet time and another reality throughout the rest of your day. When your eyes pore over the Word, the truths within it feel close and weighty and real. But when you put the Word away, you feel like, in some sense, you’re putting those truths away, too.
What you and I need are minds capable of seeing biblical reality even when we aren’t looking at the pages of the Bible. However, we absolutely cannot possess such minds without the supernatural help of the Holy Spirit—and this is what I am so prone to forget! Though I regularly read the Bible, I also regularly fail to ask the Spirit to write its content on my mind (Hebrews 10:16). I desperately need him to prevail upon me with all his enlightening, belief-producing power and drive ultimate Truth and Reality deep into my consciousness.
Therefore, I believe the first step in our endeavor to get our thinking in sync with the biblical reality is to assume a needy posture before God. We must get on our faces and plead with him to do within us what only he can do—and we should ask in faith (James 1:6), being confident that he will answer. God promises to grant petitions that are in line with his will (1 John 5:14-15), and we can know with concrete certainty that God wills for us to possess a mind that is Scripturally saturated. Such a mind is one of the gifts—one of the promises—of the New Covenant.
“This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds” – Hebrews 10:16
The sin-atoning, guilt-cleansing sacrifice of Jesus Christ paved the way for the Spirit to make biblical thinking an experiential reality in the lives of God’s New Covenant people. It is really good news for us that God promises to perform this work himself because we are utterly unable, in and of ourselves, to renew our own minds. However, does our utter inability mean that we need not contribute anything to the process? Are we to just sit around and wait for the Holy Spirit to do his thing?
Negative—we have a cooperative role to play.
One Psalmist wrote, “I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed your ordinances before me” (Psalm 119:30). We must, as this Psalmist did, continuously expose our minds to biblical truth. The Spirit is the only one with the power to rewire our thinking, but he performs this supernatural feat as we read the Bible and meditate on the realities within it. God writes his Word on our minds as we set our minds on his Word. We aren’t to sit around and just wait on some mystical, mind-renewing miracle to occur; we are to open the Scriptures and utilize our God-given mental faculties!
Prayerfully relying on the Spirit as we actively feast on the written Word is the means by which we will become people who think biblically—and thinking biblically is the means by which we will live faithful, purposeful, and impactful lives for the glory of God. So let’s get on our faces and ask for the Spirit’s help. Let’s open our Bibles and continuously set our minds on its content. By the abundant grace and power available to us in Christ, let’s become the biblical thinkers Christ died to make us.