Jan 25, 2013

The Tarnished Mind

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

In yesterday's reflection, we saw that our flesh can work against us, leading us deeper into the living death associated with sin and Satan. In particular, our fallen flesh stirs up various desires that lure us away from the good life God intends for us.

We might be tempted to associate feelings with our sinfulness, but to exonerate our thinking. Rationality can seem to be pure, untainted by sin and its corruption. Yet this is not the case according to Ephesians 2:3. According to this verse, we are naturally inclined to gratify the cravings of our flesh, "following its desires and thoughts." Did you catch that? "And thoughts." Sin has tarnished, not just our feeling, but also our thinking. Left to our own devices, we are not able to think rightly, discerning without error what is true and false.

As we saw yesterday in our consideration of our bodies, the corruption of our capacity for thought does not mean that thinking is itself evil. God created us with the ability to think carefully, creatively, and rationally. The time will come when we will once again be able to see all things clearly (1 Cor. 13:11-12). In the meanwhile, we recognize the limitations of our intellect and pray that God will help us to discover and discern what is true.

God is doing this very thing, if we accept his gift of grace through Christ and offer ourselves to him completely. As we read in Romans 12:2: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." God is at work in us, renewing our minds so that our thoughts might be full of truth and goodness.

One of the main ways God renews our thinking is through the consistent, attentive, prayerful study of Scripture. I pray that he will use these Daily Reflections to help you think more truly, not just about God, but also about everything else in life.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When have you realized that your own thinking capacity has been tarnished by sin? In what area of your life are you especially in need of thinking shaped by God and his truth?

PRAYER: O Lord, today I am reminded that my thinking has been influenced by sin. Too often, I have relied on my own ability to figure things out, rather than seeking you and your ways. Forgive me for my arrogance and lack of self-awareness.

Gracious God, please renew my mind by your Spirit. As I reflect upon your Word, teach me your truths. Help me to see things as you see them and to be wise in discernment. May I think truthfully about all things: my work, my family, myself, my calling, my economics, my politics.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, yes, even the thoughts of my mind, be acceptable to you, O God, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.

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