Skip to main content

Think right - act right!

Absolutely no one is immune to suffering.  Whether it is physical, mental, or emotional in nature, human nature just lends itself to suffering.  We cannot escape the fact - some suffering is brought on by our own doing!  Other times, it is completely out of our control.  The hardest thing to deal with is the type of suffering brought on by our own doing.  We often associate a sense of guilt and shame to our own failures, compounding the suffering any wrong choice, thought, or emotional attachment we may be going through.

Since Jesus went through everything you're going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you'll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.  (I Peter 4:1-2 The Message)

Peter's instruction to us in the midst of our suffering is to learn to think like Jesus.  In essence, Peter is reminding us of the power of the mind.  We all know how hard it is at times to even admit we need a change of thinking, much less actually accomplishing it!  Yet, Peter gives us a key to our ability to not only "deal" with suffering in our lives, but to walk above it.

To better understand the power of the mind, let's look for a moment at Paul's teaching to the Corinthian church when they were struggling on the rigidity of rule-keeping required by the Law of Moses:

We sometimes tend to think we know all we need to know to answer these kinds of questions—but sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds. We never really know enough until we recognize that God alone knows it all.  (I Corinthians 8:2-3 The Message)

In our suffering, we often gravitate to trying to "figure things out" in our own capacity.  We get into the "fix" mode, trying to "undo", "redo", or just plain "do".  Peter frames the "thinking" part of our suffering well, reminding us no one knows what we are going through like Jesus does.  He "connects" with us in our suffering because he is "connected to us" in his own suffering.  Learning to think as he thought in the midst of his suffering is then something we will do well to latch onto.

But...we cannot change our thinking until there is a change of heart.  The mind remains rigidly fixed on what it focuses on the most.  Sounds a lot like Solomon's reminder in Proverbs 23:7, "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he..."  The heart determines our course.  If we want to learn to "think" differently, we have to allow our "heart" to be changed.  

Our "hearts" want their own way.  Think again of the heart - the mind, will, and emotions.  Now, isn't this where the majority of our suffering begins?  The mind cooks up some scheme, the will engages the body in the mind's contrivance, and soon the emotions are carried away on the winds of foolish thought!

Look at what Paul says - sometimes our humble hearts can help us more than our proud minds.  Paul says when we begin to determine to destroy the "independence" of our mind, will and emotions, we begin to live with humble hearts.  Did you know this is a definition of humility - to have the independence, power, or will of something destroyed once and for all?  

Now, chew on this one for a while.  When we struggle the most, we find ourselves returning to the place of trying to live independent from God.  In the midst of our struggle, God is working to break our independence.  Peter's word picture says a great deal about our struggle - tyrannized by what we want, we endure much suffering.  

As long as we remain attached to our "independence", we will endure much suffering.  It is in the humbling of our minds, submission of our will, and the focusing of our emotions where we come into a place where God can begin to affect our thinking.  He is changing our "way of thinking" to align with his - as we are developing the mind of Christ, we are being delivered from our place of suffering.  The mind and heart are indeed connected - as a man thinks, so is he!  When I begin to allow my independence to be destroyed, bringing into submission my will, the change in thinking begins to affect a change in action.  Changed actions often do a great deal to alleviate suffering.  Beginning to "think right" really goes a long way toward beginning to "act right"!


Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce …

Give him the pieces

What or Who is it that causes division among you right now? Maybe it is more of a 'what' than a 'who' that is creating the division between you and something you need in your life. Perhaps you are struggling with an addiction to something that keeps coming between you and true liberty from the hold that thing has on you. Yes, addiction is really the worst kind of enslavement one can imagine - being so emotionally or psychologically attached to the 'thing' that any attempt to break free causes so much trauma in your life that you just cannot imagine being free. But...God is above that addiction - he is stronger than the emotional or psychological pull that thing has in your life. Maybe the dividing force in your life right now is a 'who' - a tough relationship challenge between you and a coworker, a spouse that seems to no longer share your interests or values, or even a relative that doesn't understand some of your choices and now chooses to withdra…


When someone tells you that you need to wrap your mind around some concept, they are telling you that the subject at hand will take some effort on our part to actually get enough of a hint of it in order to even remotely understand it. The subject is complex, even a little overwhelming, and we will have to apply ourselves to really grasp it very well. We cannot wrap our minds around God's wisdom and knowledge - because it is infinite and our brains are sadly finite. We can only 'think' so far and then we have to 'trust'. Some of us think there is nothing we can trust if we cannot 'think' it through, but this will never work when it comes to our faith. Faith requires trust in what is unseen and not fully comprehended. The truth we believe is really building our trust, but until we approach God with more trust than 'thought', we will never fully grasp some of the things he has prepared for us.

We cannot wrap our minds around God’s wisdom and knowledge…