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Brain Drain

March 2, 2017

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1

When I travel, wake-up calls are really important! More than once I have registered my wake-up time with the hotel desk confident that they would call right on time. Well, you know the rest of the story. Rolling over and looking at the clock only to realize that you’ll never make the morning meeting on time is not a great way to start the day!

So here’s a wake-up call that will help you get your day (and the rest of your life) on track for God. If you are not wide awake spiritually, you may find that you have been robbed blind of the most important treasure you have: your mind and the way you think!

Os Guinness tells a great story about a Russian factory worker in the days when Khrushchev was the prime minister. Because of the enormous economic strain in those days, employees would steal tools and just about anything else they could get their hands on. To stop the thefts, a KGB officer was placed at every factory gate where each worker was carefully searched for contraband. Petrov, a long-time laborer, pushed a wheelbarrow loaded with two large sacks of sawdust out the factory doors every day. Each day the guard searched through the sacks of sawdust but consistently found nothing. Weeks into this routine the frustrated guard finally said, “Hey, Petrov, I promise not to tell anybody. I can’t get what’s going on here. I don’t know why you need all this sawdust. What are you stealing?” Petrov grinned and whispered, “Wheelbarrows.”

Os Guinness makes this probing conclusion: “While we’ve been inspecting bags of sawdust, Satan has been stealing our minds.” What a great insight! And while how we behave—keeping all the rules and caring about cultural issues—is not sawdust, it is easy to get sidetracked by the issue du jour while letting “control central” slip into thought patterns that quite frankly aren’t anything like God’s thoughts at all.  This is no small issue. God’s Word says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). I have always been taken aback by Jesus’ reproof of the religious folk of His day, when He said, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me” (Matthew 15:8)!

Paul gets it right when he informs us that the key issue in growth and transformation is the renewing of our minds, not just the mental activity of stacking up huge stores of biblical data. If that’s all we have we soon become proud and judgmental. We are to train our minds to think God’s thoughts after Him. To think the way He does about the poor and the oppressed. To think His thoughts about our enemies and those who have used and abused us. To let His thoughts honestly evaluate the lame stuff we pile up in our hearts. To think His thoughts about our money, time, family, job, and all other aspects of our lives.

After years of marriage, I find that increasingly my wife Martie and I think a lot alike. I can almost complete her sentences. After years of being a Christian, you would think that one should almost instinctively know His mind about nearly everything! But unfortunately that is often not the case, because Satan has been stealing us blind of our greatest treasure: the way we think!

Your Journey . . .

  • Take a few minutes to read Romans 12:1-2. Prayerfully ask the Spirit to reveal where your thoughts are not God’s thoughts.
  • Take an inventory of the key areas of your life. From reading God’s word, what are God’s thoughts about each of those? Is your thinking in sync with His about the specific issues that exist in each area? If not, what can you do to change the way you think? How will that change the way you act? Be specific.
  • There are certain dynamics that block God’s thoughts from penetrating our thought life: i.e., rationalizing, excuses, self-deceit, wrong desires. What can you do to short circuit these dynamics so that His thoughts can get a grip on your heart?
  • Getting close to God in prayer, the study of His Word, the influence of solid biblical study, taking notes and reviewing them so that you don’t forget are all ways in which we grow to think His thoughts. Select one thought pattern to change today. It will get you off to a great start!