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Choose what you Think About

Romans 8:5-8
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. (NIV)

We behave according to our desires. If we want it, we will think about it, and plan how to get it ... then we take action. So it matters greatly how we manage our desires and our thoughts. Those who lust after sin will find that they cannot stop sinning.

On the other hand, those who are hungry to be like Jesus find that the Holy Spirit works inside them - to give them the desire and the power to live like Christ. Play acting (hypocrisy) can fool some people some of the time, but in the end, the true desire of the heart will be seen because its nature will inevitably be expressed.

Religion, based on rules with their threats and rewards, can never change somebody's heart. Only God can. When we repent and believe the gospel, God gives us His Spirit. But if we choose to resist Him or persist in lusting after our own pleasure, we will also resist His work in changing us into the image of Christ. So stop focussing on your external behaviour and concentrate on finding out what pleases the Lord (Ephesians 5:10) and then yearn to be like that. As you do, the Spirit will enable you.

God of grace. Thank You for Your amazing and transforming work of sanctification. I am sorry when I have resisted Your work in me, when I have rebelled and chosen to accept the authority of my 'old nature'. Please forgive me and grant me a growing hunger for Your Word, Your Son, Your Spirit, Your glory and Your eternal reign. May these new affections change my attitude and find expression in a style of behaviour which pleases You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams