A Brief Meditation for the Month

May 2021

When Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, wrote his epistle to the Christians in Ephesus, he appealed to them to live their lives under the influence of renewed thinking. He wrote: “be renewed in the spirit of your mind,” Ephesians 4:23. He contrasts how they ought to think in the present with their former thinking as Gentiles who were ignorant of God. As unconverted Gentiles, they had lived thinking independently of God. They relied upon their own reasoning faculties to form and practice their religion, morals, and ethics. This process brought them into conflict with God, whose thoughts were infinitely superior to theirs: Isaiah 55:8–9.

The Psalmist reminds us of the sad condition under which the unrenewed mind of the unconverted person functions. He tells us in Psalm 10:4: “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” Perhaps we may be capable of thinking great, original, intelligent, and impressive thoughts, but if God is not brought into the thinking process, inevitably, the thinking is flawed. Our ability to think, and reason, which sets us apart from the brute kingdom, is the gift of our creator. We possess this ability so that we may “think God’s thoughts after him.” As dignified, rational creatures created in the image of God, we have been provided with this unique facility to receive communication from God, and in return, to communicate with Him.

No experience can be more blessed and edifying than that of a fallen mortal creature engaging in communion with the great, infinite, eternal, and holy God. If we are in the right relationship with God, then time spent with Him is most enjoyable. Through faith in Jesus Christ and his substitutionary atoning death for sin, guilty sinners are reconciled to God. By the spirit of adoption, such can then approach God, as children to a father, and “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” Psalm 103:13. Such adopted sons and daughters enjoy the privilege of free access to the tenderest, most compassionate father; beyond our imagination. Like little children, such can open their hearts without inhibition into the ear of One who is most willing, interested, and ready to hear. Along with changed hearts toward God, their affections have been taken off the material world, and they now desire to love the One who loved them first: 1John 4:19. The mind that previously functioned in rebellion is brought into submission to the divine mind and will of God. The spirit of Christ operates within the child of God testifying, “I delight to do thy will, O my God,” Psalm 40:8. Whereas the spirit of rebellion and disobedience used to reign, it is now the spirit of new, loving obedience, which motivates the actions of God’s children.

Undoubtedly there are occasions of temporary inconsistency even in the best of Christians, which calls for the kind of rebuke addressed to the disciples James and John—“Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” Luke 9:55. However, this does not alter the fact that a new spirit of love for God and devotion to Christ comes into existence in regeneration. It is this spirit that grieves and mourns when such rebukes become necessary. Dear reader, may I ask you to consider what lies at the centre of your own thinking? Is there actual evidence from your thoughts that the spirit of your mind has been renewed by grace? Are you experiencing the spiritual enjoyment of the presence of your loving, tender-hearted, heavenly father, as you commune together as father and child, your mind in harmony with His?

G. G. Hutton.