What you think has a great bearing on who you are and what you do. “For as a man thinks, so he is,” (Pro 23:7). Yet an outsider looking at the church would find there are some who don’t seem to think much at all. I’m talking about those who hold to a mindless form of religion, characterized by unchecked emotionalism. Then there are those who do nothing but think and who dismiss anything they do not understand. Theirs’ is a carnal form of Christianity that holds to a wholly rational and powerless gospel.
God has given us minds to think, but we are not led by our our thinking. We are called to live by the Spirit rather than the cerebellum. Our spirits are made new the moment we are born again but from then on our minds have to play catch-up. They have to be renewed. We need to take on new attitudes, new ways of thinking. We need to cultivate the habit of saying yes and amen to the promises of God. We need to call things that are not as though they are. We need to believe we can do the works and greater works of Jesus, just as He said we would.
The book I have just finished is The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind by Bill Johnson. My favorite line in the whole book is, “God is changing the way Christians think about the so-called impossible” (p.30). Certainly the so-called impossible seems to happen all the time at Bethel Church. It happens so frequently that they have a member of staff whose sole job is to record the miracles taking place.
Many people distrust their own minds, but Johnson writes that the mind is actually a powerful instrument in the hands of God. So, what are we supposed to do with it?
Our job is to tap the revelation of the Lord in our area of talent or gifting so that we can accurately and powerfully reflect the King and His Kingdom. (p.75)
Johnson writes about the three kinds of leaven mentioned by Jesus. The leaven of Herod is a godless belief in the strength of man and man-made systems like politics and persuasion. Christians who hold such beliefs are indistinguishable from their atheist neighbors when dealing with problems.
The leaven of the Pharisees represents the theory of God but not the experience. It’s lifeless religion based solely on reason. Reason-minded Christians provide explanations for the way things are, but no solutions.
The leaven of the Kingdom is the faith-provoking revelation. It is revealed in the life lived from the Kingdom toward earth. Consider Jonah and Jesus sleeping in their boats during storms. Jonah slept to escape an unpleasant reality. Jesus slept because He was Kingdom-minded Kingdom and in the Kingdom there was no storm.
Johnson compares powerless preaching to a vacuum cleaner salesman who throws a handful of dirt on your floor, promises his cleaner is powerful enough to remove everything in sight, hands you’re a brochure and then leaves. That’s what we do when we merely tell people that the King heals all their diseases and delivers them from all their torments. How much better if we showed them!
A startling insight in this book is the idea that God is enamored with our desires, that He longs to see what makes us tick. Before we were saved our desires were corrupt. But when we are intimate with the Father our desires are pure. Perhaps your mind wanders when you pray. Just maybe, says Johnson, it’s not the devil distracting you but God leading you to creative solutions to problems.
Transformed Mind will certainly make you think! You will never look at your desires and daydreams the same way again.
Last year I read So You Think Your Mind is Renewed? by Cornel Marais. This book starts from the same place as the other one – God calls us to do humanly impossible feats – but it has a heavier emphasis on healing.
In his book Cornel asks, “Would you go fly a plane after having only read a book about flying?” Of course not. So why do Christians think that just reading the Bible is the answer? Mature Christians exercise. They act on what they believe. They reconcile, they set free, they save, heal and deliver. They do unto others as they would have others do unto them.
This book provides a sound introduction to the gospel of grace (“grace upon grace”), demolishes a few mindsets (“sickness is never from God”), then gets down to the business of training people how to do the works and greater works of Jesus. It’s “be, know, do,” just like in the army.
Don’t ever wonder if it’s God’s will to heal someone. The root word for “heal” in the Greek is the same as the word for “save.” Just as it is God’s will to save everyone, it is His will to heal everyone.
Healing is not our privilege, it is our right. Jesus didn’t suffer and die for you to have the privilege of maybe being healed. He died so you could be well! (p.92)
There are no formulas in this book. The message has not changed since Jesus first uttered it: “only believe.” But aside from the boost to your faith, you will learn some practical tips that will help you get healing for yourself or those you pray for.