I have a chronic dandelion problem in my yard. I pull them up, I spray them and run them over with the lawn mower again and again and again, and yet they keep coming back. But that’s for one very simple reason: I haven’t pulled up the roots.
It’s the same problem with our old sinful life. We can try “weeding out” the thoughts, desires, and actions that appear on the surface in our day-to-day living, but if we don’t get at the root, those same patterns of sin will reappear over and over again. This will rob us of the transformation that Paul spoke about in Romans 12:2.
Getting at the root
So where do we look for that root of sin that needs to be torn up? We find it in Romans 1:18-32. Right in the middle of his brilliant analysis of mankind’s sinful estate, Paul traces the root of sin to a decisive moment where humanity embraced an exchange of ideas:
They exchanged the truth about God for [the] lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen. (Romans 1:25)
Paul is talking about all of us, but he specifically has in mind that moment in the garden of Eden where the first man and woman embraced Satan’s lie that eating the fruit would make them “like God” (Genesis 3:5). By eating it, Adam and Eve demonstrated their desire and willingness to replace God’s Law (i.e. the Creator’s rule over his creation) with their own law (i.e. the creation’s rule of itself).
The root of the sinful mind
Paul then points to the direct consequences of this exchange by his clear use of the word “therefore”.
- God gave them over to sinful desire. (1:24)
- God gave them over to unnatural passions. (1:26)
- God gave them over to a depraved mind, “so that they do what ought not be done.” (1:28)
Paul’s logic could not be clearer. Once the lie took root, humanity became incapable of knowing or desiring or doing the will of God precisely because we had willfully abandoned the starting point for every true thought. As Solomon says in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”.
Ultimately all true knowledge has God as its starting point. Without it, we’re doomed to “futile” thinking and consequently “darkened” hearts. We cannot discern the will of God, nor appreciate it, nor even desire it (Romans 8:7).
“…But we have the mind of Christ”
Something changes, however, when a person places their faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sin and for the gift of new and eternal life with God. God through his Holy Spirit enlightens their darkened mind so that they can see the truth about God in Christ. As Paul says,
For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
To put it simply, God reverses Romans 1:25 whereby sinners are made to see the truth about “the lie” and the lie about “the truth”. In short, they’re made able to know the truth about God and, as Jesus said, “the truth sets them free” (John 8:32).
Learning to think like Jesus
Learning to think like Jesus, then, means willingly cooperating with the Holy Spirit to retrain your mind to think true thoughts about God. Now you might be saying, “Well that all sounds great, but God is a pretty big subject! Where in the world do I start learning to think true thoughts about him?”
I totally get that. For one thing, the Bible can sometimes be confusing. After all, it was written to people who lived far from us in terms of history, location, and culture. Understanding what the Bible teaches is not always as easy as just reading the words on the page.
Also, it seems in our day and age that there are as many perspectives on “the truth about God” as there are people, and therefore we are constantly being told that it’s up to each person to determine what’s true about their beliefs in God. Can we really think that Christians are the only ones who have true knowledge about God?
Learning to think true thoughts about God, then, is not as easy as it sounds. That’s why Prepared to Answer exists: to teach you how to think like Jesus by presenting the truth about God revealed in the Bible clearly and in a way that makes sense.
In our next post, then, I want to give you a starting place for thinking like Jesus. You can think of it as the foundation on which to build the rest of what you know to be true about God, the world, and everything else.
I hope this excites you! Since we’re going to start with the clear teaching of the Bible, I guarantee that as soon as you get this part clear in your mind, it will immediately change the way you think about everything. My prayer is that it will make you hungry to know more about God, and in turn that you’ll get to know him better.
Ready to continue the journey? Next post in series (3 of 3): Start Thinking Like Jesus Today!
Originally published Jul 30, 2018, updated Jun 29, 2021
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- Previous post in series (1 of 3): How to Live Like Jesus
- Next post (3 of 3): Start Thinking Like Jesus Today!
- How Do You See The World?
- Recovering the Christian Mind
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