As we begin this academic year, my question to all the ITS students is this: “What are you thinking about?” Many of you may be thinking about your family you have left behind in your country in Asia or Africa. May be you are concerned about your church and the ministry you have left under someone’s care. All of you are thinking about the finances for this academic year!
In Philippians 4:8, Apostle Paul talks about things you need to think about: “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.”
I want to focus on the first one to think about in the context of your training here. It is thinking about “whatever is true.” It is thinking about truth! Someone has said, “If you make people think they are thinking, they will love you. If you really make them think, they will hate you!” At ITS, we really make you think!
There are two requirements and one result of thinking about truth.
You need to be open to allow God to look into what is going on in your mind! The psalmist prays, “Search me, O God, … See if there is any offensive way in me” (Psalm 139:23-24). You need to allow God to check your mind! Because everything begins there!
If you are really thinking about truth, you will realize the truth about human nature! The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind” (Jeremiah 17:9-10). A person with a transparent mind will pray, “Lord, check out what is going on in my mind and clean it up!” Jesus rebuked the religious leaders who did not have a transparent mind. He said, “You Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness” (Luke 11:39). To think whatever is true, you need to be cleaned inside out! You need a transparent mind!
In I Corinthians 2:14-15, Paul explains that a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit has a teachable mind. It does not mean that he accepts everything he is told. The spiritual man discerns all things! In Acts 17:11, we read that the Bereans “received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Prophet Isaiah says, “The sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue” (Isaiah 50:4). We all want the “instructed tongue” and we wonder how we can have it! Isaiah says, “He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught.” You and I need a teachable mind!
Transformation begins in the mind. It begins when you allow the truth to work in your mind. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Paul writes to the Roman believers, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Then your thinking will be no longer according to the “pattern of this world.” How is the mind transformed? Paul gives the answer, “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1). When you put yourself on the altar of God, your self is sacrificed! So now, no old self! No old mind! You are a new person! You have a new mind! A transformed mind! What is the purpose of this transformed mind? Paul says, “Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Do you want God’s “perfect will” to be done in your life, family, and ministry? Allow you mind to be transparent, teachable, and transformed!