True Christian fortitude consists in strength of mind, through grace.Jonathan Edwards
“So be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. ”Matthew 10:16 NIV
Fundamental to Jesus’ life was His logic, reasonableness, sobriety and use of common sense. As a young boy, he reasoned with the scribes and Pharisees in the temple. The gospel in its essence is common sense. Christianity is the one religion in the world that dares and requires the use of the intellect throughout. Jesus wants you to think!
The life of Christ is also a matter of faith, but also of lifestyle. The lifestyle of faith, love, gratitude, forgiveness, charity, selflessness and generosity is the best way to live. This has been proven over and over again.
Even if God does not exist… the biblical / Jesus / Christ-centered way of life is the best way of life. If one sees the meaninglessness of war, murder, drug and alcohol abuse, jealousy and hatred, then one wonders, how is it possible that right-thinking, reasonable, educated people can commit such acts?
The life of Jesus directs us to a divine, royal, exalted existence versus an animal, unreasonable slave existence – surrendered to evil.
“The wisdom is from above. . . peace-loving, reasonable. ” (Jas. 3:17). The Greek word translated “reasonable” here literally means “indulgent”. Some translators use the word “considerate”, “friendly” or “tolerant”. Note that reasonableness is associated with peace-lovingness. In Titus 3: 2 it is mentioned along with meekness and is set against belligerence. Philippians 4: 5 encourages us to be known for our “reasonableness”. Someone who is reasonable takes into account the background, circumstances and feelings of the person he is talking to. He is willing to concede when appropriate. When we treat others this way, it helps to make their minds and hearts more receptive when we reason with them from Scripture.
The wisdom of man contrasts with Paul’s appeal in 1 Cor. 1: 18-31 – the wisdom of man is foolishness with God.
“The message of the cross of Christ is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will destroy the knowledge of the learned.” Where is the sage of this world now? Where is the scribe? Where’s the smart spokesperson? Did not God make foolish the wisdom of the world? It was God’s intention in His wisdom that the world would not come to the knowledge of God through learning. ” (1 Cor. 1: 18-31).
The word “self-control” in the well-known verse, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1: 7), can actually be translated directly with “saved mind”. The Lord wants to use our thinking, but we do not place our trust in our intellect and reason.
4993. σωφρονέω sōphronéō; contracted sōphronṓ, fut. sōphronḗsō, from sṓphrōn (G4998), sober-minded. To be of sound mind, intrans. To be sane, in one’s right mind (Mark 5:15; Luke 8:35; 2 Cor. 5:13). By implication to be sober-minded, to think and act soberly, discreetly, to use sound judgment and moderation, to be self-disciplined (Rom. 12: 3; Titus 2: 6; 1 Pet. 4: 7). Syn .: nḗphō (G3525), to be sober. Ant .: paraphronéō (G3912), to act the fool; exístēmi (G1839), to be out of one’s mind, be insane, be beside oneself; ataktéō (G0812), to behave in a disorderly manner.
LOGOS: The word “Logos” translated with “word” can also mean: reason, plan, blueprint, framework. Jesus is therefore the “reason” of God. The word that became flesh (John 1:14). God’s plan, reason, logic, thinking, became flesh and came to dwell among us. Jesus anchors our logic. He balances our thoughts. The fact that Jesus came to live the truth makes it feasible, practical, calculating and essential. We can often be carried away by an academic flight of reasoning and thoughts, but nothing is concretely part of our daily existence. Jesus, on the other hand, lives truth, balances the extreme and anchors the extremes, in His person.
In 1 Pet. 2: 2, the phrase logikón gála, literally “logical milk,” refers to the spiritual nourishment found in the Word of God. Lógos, from which logikós is derived, means reason, and is often used to describe God’s intelligence expressed in human speech or form (Joh. 1: 1, 14). Some reach this interpretation merely from the context of the passage, as a spiritual explanation of the words. Others reach this interpretation by recognizing that it is not only true but that it is reasonable that the Word of God is our nourishment (cf. Deut. 8: 3; Matt. 4: 4). The second adj. ádolon (G0097), unadulterated, agrees with this, meaning that the Word of God, when not mixed with human error, is nourishing.
Like Jacob, we must lay our heads on the rock, Jesus, and allow Him to fertilize and enlighten our minds to think right. The next morning Jacob got up and took the stone that was his pillow and put it upright. Then he poured oil on the top of it. He called the place Bethel (Gen. 28:18). Bethel means house of God, and so our thinking must also become God’s home. We must therefore get to know the word of God, memorize it and meditate on it. “This law book must be the guideline for everything you say. Meditate on it day and night and make sure you do everything that is written in it. Then you will succeed in what you have to do, you will prosper. ” (Josh. 1: 8). Then we will start thinking right.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will also be able to discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect for him. ” (Rom. 12: 1).
Jesus’ Sermon Confronts Reasonable Thinking and Unmasking Foolishness
Jesus reveals the folly of religious dualism and double standards:
“You want to swear by the heavens, the earth, the temple, the altar, the throne of God. . . why not just that your yes, yes, and your no, no. ” (Matt. 5: 33-37).
“Do not think that repeated rhymes recite more power to move God. “They imagine their prayers will be heard because they use a lot of words.” (Matt. 6: 7).
Some people try to fit their bodies into clothes. Clothes are for the body. Let your body determine your attire. “Therefore, I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink; or about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing? ” (Matt. 6:25).
What makes one unclean? What you eat, or the words you speak? “You must now listen and understand well! It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles the man. But what comes out of the mouth makes one unclean. ” (Matt. 15:10).
“Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” (Matt. 15: 17-20).
Jesus often uses practical examples of common sense to help listeners see how foolish religious practice really is.
Disobedience Is Foolishness
“Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakable foundation.” (Matt. 7:24). Even a person who sets up a cage in an informal settlement knows that you are not building a house on sand.
Someone who regularly worked with materials and learning would smile for: “Jesus answered, “How can the sons of the bridal chamber fast when the bridegroom is next to them? As long as the bridegroom is with them they won’t, but the days of fasting will come when the Bridegroom is taken from them.“And who would mend worn-out clothing with new fabric? When the new cloth shrinks, it will rip, making the tear worse than before. And who would pour new wine into an old wineskin? Eventually the wine will ferment and make the wineskin burst, losing everything—the wine will be spilled and the wineskin ruined. Instead, new wine is always poured into new wineskins.” One Sabbath, Jesus and his disciples were walking through a field of wheat. The disciples were hungry, so they plucked off some heads of grain to eat. But when some of the Pharisees saw what was happening, they said to him, “Look! Your disciples shouldn’t be harvesting grain on the Sabbath!” Jesus responded, “Haven’t you ever read what King David and his men did when they were hungry?” (Mark 2:19-25).
“Who would hang earrings on a dog’s ear or throw pearls in front of wild pigs? They’ll only trample them under their feet and then turn around and tear you to pieces!” (Matt. 7:6). Try to physically execute or film this picture – it’s the highest form of stupidity, stupidity, madness. Again the hilarious, exaggerated play of the folly of people’s deeds.
Someone whose heart has been enlightened with the truth cannot hide it. “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” (Matt. 5:15). Try to do it physically: Place a flashlight under a bucket, under the bed. It’s madness! The light shines through!
Jesus’ subtle acumen is also remarkable in how He answers and solves complex questions. When they wanted to trap Jesus in taxes: “So they approached him and said, “Teacher, we know that you’re an honest man of integrity and you teach us the truth of God’s ways. We can clearly see that you’re not one who speaks only to win the people’s favor, because you speak the truth without regard to the consequences. So tell us, then, what you think. Is it proper for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”Jesus saw through their hypocrisy and said to them, “Why are you testing me? Show me one of the Roman coins.” They brought him a silver coin used to pay the tax.“Now, tell me,” Jesus said, “whose head is on this coin and whose inscription is stamped on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Jesus said, “Precisely. The coin bears the image of the emperor Caesar, so you should pay the emperor his portion. But because you bear the image of God, you must give to God all that belongs to him.” And they were utterly stunned by Jesus’ words.” (Mark 12:14-17).
“What would qualify a servant to manage his master’s house? He would be a wise servant who is both faithful and dependable… ” (Matt. 24:45-51).
The Wise and Foolish Virgins (Matt. 25: 1-13):
The Wise, Unjust Servant: “Now here’s a surprise: The master praised the crooked manager! And why? Because he knew how to look after himself. Streetwise people are smarter in this regard than law-abiding citizens. They are on constant alert, looking for angles, surviving by their wits. I want you to be smart in the same way—but for what is right—using every adversity to stimulate you to creative survival, to concentrate your attention on the bare essentials, so you’ll live, really live, and not complacently just get by on good behaviour.” (Luke 16:1-9, The Message).
“So be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt. 10:16, NSAB). Shrewdness—understanding how things work, then leveraging that knowledge to apply the right force in the right place at the right time.
This is why the character trait is balanced with the innocence of ŉ pigeon. Your ingenuity should be used to the benefit of people, not to glorify yourself and oppress others.
Jesus also understands the folly of people calling names and cursing (Matt. 5:22). In most cases, people get angry when they are not understood. This assumes that one will try harder to explain your case better rather than just shouting louder. It’s reckless noise and foolishness to scream when no one is listening anymore. Jesus regards the man who has gathered earthly possessions, and then wants to retire and do nothing, as foolishness! “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’“So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:12-21).
Jesus Argues With the Pharisees
The best example where man’s own logic, without God, can imagine himself in a trap is how Jesus thwarted the arguments of the Pharisees, scribes and jurists. “The baptism of John—where was it from? From heaven or from men?”And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.”And He said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Matt. 21:25-27).
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying:‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.” (Matt. 22:41-46).
“Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” And they could not answer Him regarding these things.” (Luke 14:1-6).
The opposite to Jesus’ reasonableness is the perversion, folly, and self-destructive nature of those caught in sin. One often hears people caught up in some crime; “I did not think so.” Sin darkens and limits our right thinking ability. The following passages of Scripture clearly state this problem: “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” (Rom. 1:26-32).
Dullness of their minds, darkened in the mind: “from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.” (Eph. 4:16-19).
Law of my mind: “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Rom. 7:23). This sinful, downward, short-sighted law of sin can be caught, as in a snare. You know you are not allowed to do that, but you feel like an animal being led by a collar to do it. Of course, this is not the truth, one can capture the thought directed against the knowledge of God and rule over it! Still, one feels trapped and betrayed.
Alienation of Mind, Alienation and Removal: “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.” (Col. 1:21).
Terror: “not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.” (2 Thess. 2:2).
Their minds and consciences are polluted: “O the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” (Titus 1:15-16).
Fleshly thoughts: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Rom. 8:5).
Lusts of the Flesh: “among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Eph. 2:3).
Earthly Thinking: “whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.” (Phil. 3:19).
10 Examples: Renew Thinking According to His Word:
As our minds and hearts are renewed by the Word and the Spirit, not only do we begin to think differently, but our first instinctive reactions also change (Rom. 12: 2). Someone whose mind is renewed in Christ has a completely different first reaction reflex.
Has it ever happened to you that you send a Whatsapp to someone you know well, but they do not respond? You start brooding about it. Before long, you are thinking all sorts of evils and considering never talking to the person again. Then, a few days later: “Sorry, we were out of cell phone range. Now only seen your message. We love you very much! ” You feel completely taken aback by your negative reaction. What we feel is not always correct. A pilot can become spatially disoriented and feel like he is flying upside down. Then he has to trust his instruments, otherwise he flies into the ground. We also often project “how we would do it, why he / she does not do the same” on others. These projections make us believe that we know what other people think and what their motives are. The fact is, we usually do not even know our own motives, let alone those of other people.
The hallmarks of innovative thinking mean that the Holy Spirit has injected the Word’s antidotes into our being that have built up our immunity so that we do not get sick from every germ thought.
Our thought patterns have been transformed and we no longer think as described above. The Lord is constantly renewing our thought processes.
Here are 10 badges you can measure yourself to see how the Lord has already renewed your mind:
1) You remain confident, even when you hear bad news. You see the glass is full. You expect the best. “It’s all going to work out in the end” is usually your first reaction. Not in a frivolous, or head-in-the-ground, or truth-misguided way. It is a quiet trust in the Lord that He will cause all things to work together for good (Rom. 8:28). You have seen it so many times that there is a firm knowledge in your mind. There is a positive in every negative (Ps. 66:12). Someone with innovative thinking only sees it sooner.
2) The impossible seems reasonable. Someone who follows the Lord’s thinking, faith and expectation is formed to see a door where there is no one, a possibility while everything seems impossible. Our spiritual eye is enlightened and trained in the reality of His power (Eph. 1: 17-21). We know it is impossible for us, but nothing is impossible for the Lord (Luke 1:37; Mark 10:27).
3) Even your speculations are positive. When you do not know where your partner is and why he or she is late, you see Jesus in them. The ability to trust Jesus in one another is a wonderful way of surrendering and trusting in faith. We no longer manipulate situations. We know we cannot change hearts. We trust the Holy Spirit who convinces and brings about repentance (2 Cor. 7: 9). We no longer create in our imagination worries about the worst that is going to happen – we see solutions, breakthroughs and provision, even in the slightest.
4) You live from His rest. You do not need anything. You are satisfied and satisfied with what you have. Even in the midst of the turbulent storms in which we sometimes find ourselves, we are calm and peaceful. As Paul’s ship sinks, he rests in his faith, and from this rest he gives calm to others (Acts 27: 39-44). You learned contentment in the times of abundance and scarcity. Therefore, you experience a firmness in your emotions, despite the ups and downs of circumstances. This rest is not a denial of circumstances, but you know the Lord and trust His character.
5) You forgive easily and quickly admit your mistakes. Someone who grows up in Christ is no longer offended. They are light-hearted and expect the best from people. Even if fellow believers hurt them, they still see Christ in one another. Martha still acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, even though He arrived four days late as a friend and Lazarus was already dead (John 11:27).
6) You love yourself despite your shortcomings. You no longer measure and compare yourself to others. You know who you are and that’s enough. You know what your calling is and you have mercy on your weaknesses. You are aware that the Lord is still changing you and you are growing in boldness to be yourself. You are comfortable with yourself and have accepted yourself. You have routines in place to reinforce your weaknesses and you take responsibility for yourself.
7) You are comfortable with being alone, but do not see yourself as one-sided. You see yourself in the greater whole of the body of Christ. That is why you first think of “us” and no longer “I”. You are aware of your own voice, but also of those around you. You harmonize and live in rhythm with the people God has placed around you. You are not dependent on people, but choose to need them and keep them involved in your life. You live in the now, and every relationship and contact is important to connect and grow deeper.
8) You are grateful and humbly dependent. You are constantly aware that everything you own is a gift. The war of repeatedly trying and failing is over. You walk every day with a deep in-and-out awareness of His goodness. Your words and thoughts are more full of praise and gratitude than criticism and murmur. His love is no longer a word, but an experience and consciousness. You see His love in everything.
9) Even though you sometimes still think wrong in your mind, when it comes to doing, you are doing right. The life of the Spirit broke the power of sin and also the law of sin (Rom. 7: 19-20 vs. Rom. 8: 2). We instinctively do what is right, even though we sometimes feel like not doing it. Our thoughts, words, and deeds began to conform to His righteousness and righteousness.
10) You are focused on God’s voice, His heart and His will. Man loses focus so quickly. Yet someone whose mind is renewed is constantly focused on what the Spirit is saying and on the Word. One also often hears this in their conversations: “The Lord said to me the other day. . . ” We live from the daily word that comes from God (Matt. 4: 4). We are aware of “presently-revealed-truth” (2 Pet. 1:12). We are filled with the knowledge of God throughout the ages, but also with what He focuses on today.
May the Lord help us to keep growing, and keep awake to the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).
The Place of Emotions:
Jesus experienced various emotions:
• Euphoric joy (John 15:11; 17:13),
• Empathy and compassion (Matt. 9:36; 15:32),
• Anger (Mark 11: 15-18),
• Mourning, and sorrow (John 11:35, 38),
• Anxiety and distress (Matt. 26: 36-42).
It is important that we can express our emotions.
Sometimes we just have to be able to say how we feel. Most people cannot express in words what they feel. Sometimes these emotions do not even have a direct cause. Although we do not live according to our emotions and make decisions, we need to be heard, otherwise there is no empathy. We should not moralize emotions or try to fix them. Emotions only need to be heard for the sake of empathy. Emotions are not logical. People who are more focused on logic have little understanding of emotion. But emotion is not wrong, on the contrary! Emotions are the energy that moves us. This is why people who are depressed struggle. It feels like someone sabotaged their feel engine. They feel nothing, especially under strong medication, and exist like robots. After all, emotions are just indicators of a state. Like a car light going on to show that the tank is empty. You now have to refuel.
Emotions give color and understanding to our existence.
Art and music are emotion! Our emotions must also, as we think, come under the leadership of Jesus Christ.
What we do with our emotions is very important. We verbalize our emotions in prayer and towards a confidant, but in the end we must ask the Lord what we should do. ŉ One does not overcome the war of thought and emotion in your head! You must go and do as the Spirit leads you. These acts of the spirit offer you concrete victory and tangible breakthroughs. And this, in turn, has a positive effect on our emotions