To be a Christian is to be a new person. It is to be a new creation, someone in whom the old self has been crucified with Christ and therefore being raised in Christ as a new self. To that end, it means that we no longer swimming in the dead muck of sin and that is good news. However, we must now live as the new person that God has made us in Christ.
All that is surely nothing new to Christians. What may not be completely understood is how the way we live begins with the way we think. In Ephesians 4:22-24 says that putting on the new self includes being “made new in the attitudes of your minds.” Likewise, Romans 12:1-2 offers a similar admonition that includes giving attention to the renewal of our minds. I’m particularly interested in the passage from Ephesians because of the way it goes on to address the way Christians out to speak and act which is all about the way we live and the witness we portray before our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, etc…
What is important is to recognize the connection between the way we think and the way we live. That is, we speak and act according to the way we think. So not only can we measure the way in which we think by the way we speak and act but others around us also know how we think by the way we speak and act.
As we think, so we speak and act!
There is not any fooling anyone…not ourselves nor anyone else. So how to we think?
- Is there any change of thought on what we value and are passionate about now that we are in Christ from the things we valued and were passionate about before we became Christians?
- Does the way we speak sound like we are undergoing a gospel transformation or does it sound like we would make a great spokes person for CNN or FOX News, the Democrat or Republican parties, Hollywood, etc…?
- Does the way we act reflect more of a life that is imitating Jesus and the life he lived or does it reflect a life that mimics the militaristic and consumeristic cult of personalities that lives large today?
Such questions, if we’re honest, should help us. Of course, self-perception can easily become self-deception, so it is beneficial to have someone in our lives who can tell us what we need to hear rather than what we want to hear.
Since the way we speak and act stems from the way we think, there are some things we can do that will open our minds up to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit:
- Begin with prayer; hat might sound like a no brainer but praying for God to transform our minds and specifically reveal to us where transformation needs to occur will open us to the work of the Holy Spirit.
- Read scripture because by doing so we are hearing the way God views the world, what God values, and how the mission of God is lived as followers of Jesus.
- Participate regularly in Christian community with our local church in worship gatherings, Bible classes, house church, fellowship and ministry opportunities, etc… because the Holy Spirit works mysteriously though such times to form us.
And it matters and matters much because increasingly our biggest witness is the way in which we speak and act. So when we think, speak, and act, will it tell the story of a new person made alive in Christ or an old person dead in sin?