Romans 12: The Key To Everything

Read Romans 12:1-2

The Key To Everything

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God change
you into a new person by changing the way you think.
~Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Digging Deeper: We have a calling as Christians to right thinking. Right thinking is the key to everything—to godly living, to significance and satisfaction, to relational wholeness, to the abundant life, to spiritual growth, to joy—everything!

Paul writes that we are to let God change us by changing the way we think.  In Philippians 4:8, he describes the kind of thinking that will lead to the changed life:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—
think about such things.

When Paul says to “think about such things”, he intentionally chose the Greek term logizomai, which means to compute, to calculate—to think deliberately, proactively and strategically.  It speaks of an exercise in mental reflection that affects one’s conduct. It is the word from which we get our word for logic.  In other words, as those who have been redeemed, through the mercy of God by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, thinking this way is only logical.  When Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 to present our bodies as living sacrifices—sacrifices that remain in the holiness imputed to us by Christ’s own sacrificial death—he says this is primarily possible through the transformation of our thinking, i.e., “right thinking.”  Interestingly, when Paul says this is our “reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship” (Amplified Bible), he uses that same Greek root word for logical, logikos, i.e., “right thinking.”

Now herein lies an important truth about the human mind:  What we do—our behavior—and what is done to us—our circumstances—do not produce what we think.  Rather, what we think produces our behavior in any given set of circumstances.  That is, “right thinking” enables and encourages “right living”—godliness, a Christ-like response to life, an eternal perspective, an attitude of abundance, a Biblical worldview, etc.

Psychiatrist William Glasser, the father of reality therapy, discovered in his study of how the brain works that man isn’t controlled by external factors, but by internal desires. Furthermore, our desires are predetermined by our thinking.  So he concludes that the mind is the command center determining conduct. Therefore the critical issue for man is how he thinks.

Glasser had only discovered what the Bible had already said long ago—that we are the product of our thinking. Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks within himself, so he is.” That’s why Proverbs 4:23 also says, “Above all else, guard your heart (the heart in Hebrew thought was the center of thinking) for it is the wellspring of life.”

If you want to improve your experience of life, deliberately and strategically change your thinking.  So when Paul says, “think about,” he doesn’t mean to leave it up to whatever pops into your brain.  He’s saying to intentionally and rigidly allow only certain things into your mind.  He is referring to the practice or spiritual discipline of setting godly virtues and Biblical values as the gatekeeper of your mind.

He’s not suggesting silly mind-games or positive thinking, mere optimism, or some type of self-hypnosis, he’s calling us to think deeply, rationally and habitually about the things of God.  He is calling us to think first, think early, think often, think deeply, think always.  Think first, act second, feel third! Then your feelings will be managed by your thinking and your actions will be sound.

God created us with a mind, and he commands us to think.  Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together.” And the primary path for our reasoning is God’s Word. When God gave us his revelation, he didn’t give us a movie…or a series of music videos…not even a book on tape with background organ music.  He gave us the written Word…which by nature calls us and causes us to think.

In his book, “Your Mind Matters, John Stott wrote, “Sin has more dangerous effects on our feeling than our thinking, because our opinions are more easily checked and regulated by revealed truth than are experiences.”  Right thinking is the key to Godly character.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones pointed out that our worry and anxiety is “a failure to think” that God is close and in control, and that he cares about you.  Most people assume worry comes from thinking too much.  But in reality we get anxious for not thinking enough in the right direction.  Right thinking is thinking rightly about God’s purposes, promises, and plans. Right thinking is thinking reasonably about God’s revealed truth. Right thinking is the key to Spirit-controlled emotions.

A.W. Tozer wrote in his book, Knowledge of the Holy, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” Right thinking is the key to your experience of God.

Thinking rightly is the catalyst for a great life.  So watch your input; it becomes thought. Watch your thoughts; they become attitudes. Watch your attitudes; they become actions.  Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny

Now go think rightly.  It’s the key to everything!

Let the mind of the Master become the master of your mind.”

This Week’s Assignment:

Read: Romans 12:1-21

Memorize: Romans 12:1-2

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 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.”

For Your Consideration: Stop at the very first word of chapter 12: “Therefore”.  Whenever you come to a “therefore” in your Bible reading, you ought to ask yourself, “what is it there for?”  What Paul goes on to say in these first two verses comprises what is arguably the most important duty of all true Christ-followers: The offering of our everyday lives to God as our only and reasonable act of worship.  “Therefore” …what is the basis of this call to Christian duty? (Hint: Go back to Romans 11:36.)

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