Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.
Sometimes we just need a good “word” from God to address what we are experiencing in the moment. Often we rely on our own thoughts or patterns of thought to guide our decisions and choices without even considering whether our paradigms are aligned with the purposes God has for our lives. Perhaps, we allow the narrative of the day or the wisdom of this world to shape or influence our thoughts more than we realize. Or maybe we are so filled with spiritual pride that we fail to consider the veil it casts over our minds to see ourselves or our kingdom roles with proper perspective. Whatever the case, Paul affords us some great advice to get back on track: Reject the patterns of this world; reset your mindset with the Word of God; and then align with the Will of God….
So I want us to look at some other practical advice given to address the need to correct our thinking from time to time. And while the whole counsel of the Word of God should be accessed, I think there is some particularly useful meditations and instructions found in Proverbs 19, so I have reprinted it here and emphasized several of them here for our consideration:
Proverbs 19 (NIV)
1 Better the poor whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.
2 Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way!
3 A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.
4 Wealth attracts many friends, but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.
5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free.
6 Many curry favor with a ruler, and everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts.
7 The poor are shunned by all their relatives—how much more do their friends avoid them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found.
8 The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.
9 A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish.
10 It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury—how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!
11 A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
12 A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass.
13 A foolish child is a father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof.
14 Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
15 Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry.
16 Whoever keeps commandments keeps their life, but whoever shows contempt for their ways will die.
17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done.
18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death.
19 A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again.
20 Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
22 What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.
23 The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
24 A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not even bring it back to his mouth!
25 Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke the discerning, and they will gain knowledge.
26 Whoever robs their father and drives out their mother is a child who brings shame and disgrace.
27 Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28 A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
29 Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools.
When you survey these observations of human behaviors, you realize there is light and truth in the conclusions reached. And one of the verses I find most useful is Verse 20: Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Yes, the counsel we can receive from godly men and women can be invaluable; and yet, I am reminded about listening to those around us with diligence and discernment. Consider the implications of this verse:
Acts 17:11 (NIV)
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
The point here is that even the preaching and teaching of the Apostle Paul was “fact-checked” as we would call it in our modern culture. They wanted to know if the teachings and instructions of Paul aligned with Holy Scripture. And I think we need to apply the same principle as the Berean Jews. Not every theological position or doctrine purported to be “Christian” being taught or shared impart correct advice or wisdom when examined against the whole counsel of the Scriptures. So as we listen to advice and accept spiritual disciple … let us be wise to examine the Scriptures as well … to see if what has been communicated is indeed a good “word”.
So I encourage you today to simply let the Word of God presented here this morning to speak to you directly. I think some of the ones I highlighted for us will resonate with us more than others, but the point is that God indeed speaks to us individually through His Word … providing what we need individually to be transformed in order to renew our minds. Even now, I am reminded what the Apostle John has affirmed for us:
1 John 2:18-27 (NIV)
18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what He promised us—eternal life. 26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as His anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it (His anointing) has taught you, remain in Him.