The Established Heart 9 - Renewing the Mind: Living in First Love - David Mitts
Last chapter, we spoke about first love. First love is a state of newness in love, a renewal of passion, and a statement of priority. God is love and the most important thing we can do to align with Him and walk free from sin is to walk in His love.
God is love and God is reality. There is no reality apart from Him. The deceiver who is known by the name Satan is the author of a web of deceit woven from an abundance of lies that cause the children of God to experience death. Yeshua called this lost state being the children of lies.
"You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." John 8:44
As a murderer, the Devil works through desires activated by lies and fear of death.
"Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Hebrews 2:14-15
The solution to the illusions of the Devil is to embrace the death of Yeshua. To grasp the power that is available to us we would do well to realize what actually the sacrifice of Yeshua was and is for our transformation and activation of first love.
God, our loving Father, defines His love by the sacrifice of His Son:
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
We all recite this verse of the foundation scripture for our salvation and that is good. It is truly the end of death, the end of the system of lies of Satan. Satan accuses us and God answers not by denying the accusation but by removing Himself as the judge of our sin.
Imagine a courtroom in heaven. Satan accuses us before God for all of our wrongdoing. It’s easy to do. He trained us through the world system to live with the fear of death. Satan convinced us that our lives are an accident of a dead lifeless natural order. We are sold the lie that we are the product of some cosmic dust that managed through some ancient explosion to collide and yield the marvelously intricate creation known as man. Life has no purpose except that we give to it. We are the authors of our own meaning, Satan convinces us because we are truly like God knowing our own good and evil. And so the spin continues.
It’s easy to convince God that we are wrong. Not only do we do wrong things. God, in response, sacrifices His Son in our stead. The Son is the incarnate Word of God.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." John 1:1-5
As the Word of God, Yeshua is the embodiment of the Law of God, the Torah. He is the fulfillment of God’s holy decrees and commandments.
"Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." Matthew 5:17-18
Fulfillment is a statement of completion of the intention or purpose of what has been purposed or created. It is the crescendo moment of the symphony of life. Tanach is the Hebrew acronym for the “law and the prophets”. We know this commonly as the “old testament”. It is the set of biblical writings that tells the story of God and His love covenant with mankind through a series of individuals, a family, and a nation. The term law indicates that God describes His reality, how things actually work, named in Hebrew the Torah. The term prophets bring the idea of intentional purpose, destiny. Yeshua is telling us He fulfills and completes both the requirements of the Law, the way things work, and that He is the fulfillment of that destiny or purpose.
The question arises what is the destiny or purpose that He fulfills and how is that extended into our lives?
I think we can learn a thing or two from the computer industry that might help with our understanding of God and His ways. Think of Yeshua as the expressed program of God for the creation and for all created things. God creates by His spoken word. He says “light” and “light” exists. Yeshua in addition to being the literal Son of God, is also the Word of God, His speaking made flesh.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." John 1:1-4
If we can grasp that reality, that God’s speaking is Yeshua, then we can grasp the reality that Yeshua embodies all of Creation. Creation is made in Him, through Him, and by Him.
"For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist." Colossians 1:16-17
This is difficult for us to conceptualize because all we think of is the personality, Jesus, Yeshua. This is in part why all of the “miracles” seem beyond us. We see them as superpowers that Yeshua had. Yet, He was and is the embodiment of all of creation. He carried in His being healing, deliverance, and authority over all, including death. In this way, He was the fulfillment of all that God spoke and will speak.
I know this is a mind-bender but stick with me in this. What is the definition or a description of all that God is that He expressed in Yeshua? This has many terms but one I want to use at this point is righteousness.
"But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—" 1 Corinthians 1:30
Yeshua, as the Word of God, is wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Righteousness is the restoration to the original intent of the designer, the manufacturer. We are designed to be righteous. We have a phrase for this, “in his or her right mind”. The obverse, “not in their right mind” gives us an indication of what mental breakdown is described as. God’s Spirit, His breath of life, gives us righteousness which is also soundness of mind:
"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7
This is another description of righteousness. “Soundness” of mind is a mind that is tuned to the sound of the voice of the Lord. Through intimacy with Him and His voice, we develop an inner compass for our lives. Often we think of this as our conscience.
"Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith," 1 Timothy 1:5
To live in this place is to be experiencing the purpose and destiny of unique purity of heart.
As we shared in the last chapter, this is first love. First love is the condition of the heart where we live from the perspective of love.
In this place our mind, our thinking is transformed into the kind of thinking that brings us into true righteousness, true experience of the unique destiny that we have from God.
Romans 12:1-2 describes this as a renewal of our mind.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1-2
There are two key parts to this passage. A “living sacrifice” is called our reasonable service to God. The Greek translated as “reasonable service” or sometimes “spiritual worship” is literally the “logos” “worship”. Logos is the biblical word for the thoughts of God. So this means whatever a living sacrifice is, it is the God-thought kind of worship.
Love is sacrifice. God defined it that way. Looking again at John 3:16,
""For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16
God’s love required Him to sacrifice His only begotten Son. Begotten is a birth statement of Fatherhood that comes from the seed of the Father. In Yeshua’s case, the seed was the Word of the Father. His Word, as we have said is His perfect will. Another way of saying that it is Him getting His way. God sacrificed His perfect will, as embodied in all the promise that was His Son.
Think of that for a moment. God birthed His perfect will in His Son. All that He ever wanted for humanity as His creation was birthed in the perfection of Yeshua. He was the eternal way, the eternal truth, and the eternal life. God in His perfect love sacrificed that. He gave up His need to have His way. Why? For love. For the love of who? You and I. John 3:17
""For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." John 3:17
In Romans 12:1 Paul tells us to live as living sacrifices. This is a love statement. To live without the need or attachment to being right. Not that we accept what is wrong as right! Never!! No, we just look past being right to act in love. That is why it is called a “living sacrifice”.
Part two of the passage is mind renewal. This is said to be a transformation. A transformation is not a gradual improvement. No. It is a completely new state of being. The goal of it is the proving of the perfect will of God. There is the will of God which is His Law, His perfect perspective. But then there is the will of God which is His love. This is His perfect will which is proved by mind renewal, a transformation.
How do we enter this? Through first love. There is a kind of love, a sacrificial love that can only come to us through God.
"We love, because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19
We not only love because we receive His love first but also can love because He loved us first.
He makes sacrificial love possible for us. In this place, our natural mind which cannot grasp the reality of a love that isn’t about our needs gets a glimpse into true love, eternal love.
"For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:11-16
I used to think this was about the content of God’s thoughts but now I realize it is about their context. We think from the perspective of avoiding death. This is true spiritually, emotionally, and physically. God thinks from the perspective of love and eternal life. This becomes possible to us because He loves us.
""It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life." John 6:63
This is the renewal of our mind into a new mind, His, based in eternal love! His love begins with a sacrifice, His very own claim to justice. His voice whispers to our soul to forgive to release. We naturally in our flesh want to be vindicated to be proven right. Even our idea of who God is is colored by our agenda. When we get what we want it is God. When we don’t then we think it is the Devil, an attack. But if God’s love begins with sacrifice and He is training us in the release of attachments to what we think will make us happy, so we can truly be in Him and in His love, then our minds will be made new as embrace our own living sacrifice and enter into the mind of Christ.
Activation: Mind of Christ; Let’s activate the thoughts of God. Let’s pray in the Spirit and then for another, ask the Lord for His thoughts towards them…