Weekly Wisdoms for the week of February 13, 2006
Where your mind goes, your actions follow. Whatever you think about will dictate your behavior, your attitude, and (ultimately) your direction in life. Your thoughts are sort of like a rudder—they steer the rest of your body.
Considering the influence of your mind on your life, it's no surprise Paul emphasizes that in order for our lives to be changed by Christ our thoughts must first be changed by Him: Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2). How are we to be transformed? By renewing (changing, refocusing) our minds so that they reflect the mind of Christ.
If our minds are so important, then it's quite understandable that the devil would fight to gain a foothold in our thoughts. Paul writes, in 2 Corinthians 4:4, The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
What better place for the devil to attack people than in their minds? As thunder follows lighting, so actions follow thoughts. And if Satan can turn your thoughts against God, your actions will assuredly follow.
Therefore, it's imperative that you set your minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). And when you focus your mind on God, it's only a matter of time before your actions, your passions, your attitudes—your whole life—become focused on God.
Say you lend a person one thousand dollars, but suppose that when the time comes for the loan to be repaid that person is unable to repay you. If you forgive that person of his debt, then that person no longer owes you anything. By forgiving, you forfeited the money—you absorbed the debt.
How is it that God is able to forgive our sins against him? He absorbed them by sending his son to suffer the penalty for our debts (sins). Christ absorbed the penalty of death so that we don't have to. When God forgave us, he said, "There's no need to repay me." (We couldn't repay God even if we tried, but now we're freed from the burden of trying.)
When you forgive someone, you absorb their debt. That's why forgiveness is so hard.
In Luke 7, Jesus tells this parable to Simon: "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said.
Forgiveness is a sign of love. To forgive someone of a massive debt (in this case, five hundred denarii) is a sign of massive love. How is forgiveness a sign of love? Because if you forgive much, then you must absorb much debt (pain, suffering, loss, etc.). Our sin against God is the biggest possible debt we could have; so for God to absorb that is a sign of his endless, measureless love.
When He forgave us, God didn't just ignore our debt; he absorbed our debt.
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