July 17, 2005
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15
Accepting the Best
by Jack Northart
There is a term in the computer business called, "garbage in, garbage out." In other words, a computer's performance is based on the information and programs that have been installed.
This is somewhat different from how people put information into their minds in that humans have freedom of will, and computers have no will at all. Humans can decide what information is important, and what information needs to be discarded. This activity usually helps determine our belief system as humans. The quality of the information that we keep is vitally important. If the information that we retain in our mind is flawed, then our core values will be flawed as well. Our resolve should be to seek and obtain only the best quality information that is available.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
The word "mind" in this verse is the Greek word phroneo. This word is used of thoughts, fleelings, and desires of the mind. They that are after the flesh, meaning they that seek and live according to the sinful nature, set their thoughtful desires on the things that gratify the flesh. Their desire and passion in this life is contrary to the true God and caters only to gratification of the flesh. So the quality of the information that they feed their minds is flawed and distorted. However, they that pursue the things of the Spirit (God), will set their thoughtful desires on the things that gratify Him.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
"Affection" is the exact same Greek word that we saw in Romans, phroneo. This verse encourages believers to lock their thoughtful desires into higher things, thoughts from above; the things of God and His will and desire. When the information that we feed, retain and savour in our minds is godly, then the quality of our thoughts will be the best. It is up to us to do this. It is up to us to control the information that we feed our minds. God gave us free will, therefore He will not possess and control us so that this happens, but He will work within our hearts and encourage such activity.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
In dealing with things of the spirit of God, we must always remember that it is up to us to determine what we feed our minds, and what actions we take in this life. God is not going to push us around and make us do His will. He will work in our hearts to do His will, but it is still our decision to act.
The thoughts that are held by the mind and believed have a powerful effect on a person's life. What a person focuses on and sets his thoughts toward will begin to expand in his life; be it good or evil. If good, then good things expand in his life. If evil, then evil things will begin to expand in his life. In either case, as they expand and become more relevant, the things that are contrary to these thoughts become distasteful and unuseful. Such was the case with the people spoken of in Romans 1, who decided to turn from the best and toward their own vain imaginations.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
They decided not to glorify God. By their free will, they determined not to be thankful to Him, but rather they became futile and godless in their thinking with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations. Thus, their thinking patterns led to a darkened mind.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.
Professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves. What was God's reaction to all of this?
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.
God didn't force them to think His way, or do His will. Their thoughtful desires and passions were so strong against Him, that He simply gave them over to the lusts of their own heart. What started out as vanity in their thinking, began to darken their perspective of the truth. When this happens sexual perversion insues and becomes what they worship over the true God.
Who changed the truth of God into a lie...
Was the truth of God a lie? No. But they had excused themselves from having to believe the truth for so long, that they made up their own truth which was contrary to God and His Word. They used the Bible as a tool to further their own beliefs and agendas, thereby, "changed the truth of God into a lie..."
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
The women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one, and the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze with lust for one another--men committing shameful acts with men.
It all started with a thought which turned into a passionate desire. Rather than changing the evil thought with a pure thought, it was dwelt upon and incubated into a raging passion that became unstoppable. With the tables turned in the opposite direction of truth, it then became a lifestyle of hatred toward God and the things of God, including those who believe and know the truth.
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.
Instead of righteousness, they were filled with unrighteousness, iniquity, covetous greed, ill will and cruel ways.They were without understanding, with no conscience. They were faithless, heartless, loveless and merciless. They talked of love and peace, but in reality it was the farthest thing from their minds. This is the opposite of thinking and acting the way God would have us to do.
But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
This is accepting the best and highest quality thoughts. As we put these on in our minds, our dreams, our desires, our passion will be toward the things of God. God's desires will be done for He is at work within us to will and to do of His good pleasure. Our lives will be a product of accepting only the best.
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