So, John Piper has a book out called “Think,” which I am very anxious to read. In working on the church plant, I have been thinking a lot about how we should develop disciples. Most of my thoughts have centered upon the Great Commandment. How do we help each other grow in loving God with all of our hearts, souls, minds and strength? I am convinced that the fight of faith is fought on the battlefield of desire. It is the heart. James’ letter says that sin is born out of our desires. We need to want God more than we want to fulfill our natural desires.
The problem is in cultivating spiritual desires. How do you want God more than you want anything else? When we try to live out of spiritual desires we move out of the heart and into the realm of the will, or the soul. The problem with this is that this is really where our natural desires live. My will has 40 years of sinful experiences to fight against a spiritual willing.
We obviously cannot begin with strength or actions. We should do what is right regardless of how we feel about it, but we cannot count on this approach to help us love God with all of our hearts. Right actions will not only fail to cause us to desire God more, it could harden our hearts.
So our hearts need something beneath them to feed spiritual desire. Our wills need something beneath them to strengthen the spiritual against the natural. Our physical lives need something beneath them for motivation that does not ultimately damage our hearts.
In Romans 8, Paul speaks of the mind set on the flesh and the mind set on the Spirit. He is not talking about merely thinking fleshly or spiritual thoughts. He is talking about worldview or lifeview. The fleshly mind views everything through fleshly lenses. The spiritual mind views everything through spiritual lenses. Then in Romans 12, Paul says that we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We need a new worldview. We need our default settings altered from natural to spiritual.
In learning, soaking in, breathing, Scripture, we see God’s perspective on life. The goal is to so identify ourselves with His perspective that we adopt that perspective for ourselves. Knowing how God has designed life to work, knowing His promises and the benefits afforded us by the Gospel, we have fuel for godly desires. We have motivation for our spiritual willing and we have energizing purpose for our working.
We must commit ourselves to learning what the Bible means, not what the Bible means to us. If we only search for what the Bible means to us, our worldview or mindset will remain unchanged. We see not only the world but the Bible and our God through fleshly lenses. The flesh will never help us understand the things of the Spirit. In fact, our flesh fights to keep us operating in the shallow, bumper sticker Christianity that plagues the church in America.